When I checked the internet in 2005 for information on the Council of Europe within the framework of a research project, I was in for a surprise: There was very little info available in English & French (and virtually none in German) on Europe’s oldest and largest intergovernmental human rights organisation!
Of course, to a human rights academic like me this was inacceptable, so I started to collect, edit and publish information on-line myself.
Today’s website was preceded by an info-blog called Europarat – Infos für Freunde (in German only), set up on April 6th 2007 on blogspot.com. Due to the ever growing public interest in the topic, the info-blog was replaced in 2013 by Europe’s Human Rights Watchdog, a fully developed, bilingual website, offering 240 articles as well as a Facebook account, a Twitter account in English and a Twitter account in German.
To this day, the project remains a privately run and financed “one-woman show” with a webmaster, and today the two of us will raise a glass to 10 years Europe’s Human Rights Watchdog. May the website remain useful to all those, to whom human rights, democracy and the rule of law are a special concern.
For the statistics fans
The very first article ever posted explained the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. Since then, people from 171 countries have visited the website, with visitors from Germany and the US holding the record, followed by France, the UK and Russia. Slightly less than half the visitors access the English version of the website. Slightly more than half the visitors access from private accounts, the rest from government agencies & civil service, universities and the media.
The top 5 visited articles are: The Council of Europe, the European Convention on Human Rights ECHR, the European Court of Human Rights ECtHR, the Venice Commission and the Pharmacopoeia. On average, Europe’s Human Rights Watchdog answers 2 questions a week sent in by readers; 1 person in 20 says thank you for the provided information. Oh, and one more thing: The watch on the landing page of the website is not a Photoshop creation – it is very real and worn every day.