The Council of Europe and all its instruments protect and promote three core values:
- Human Rights
- Rule of Law
Human Rights, as they are put down in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), cover basic rights and freedoms like the right to life; the right to liberty and security; the right to a fair trial; the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion or the right to freedom of expression. They also ban certain things like; torture; discrimination; slavery and forced labour or punishment without law.
A democracy is – among other things, based on free and fair elections, a pluralistic media environment and a parliament, which holds the actual power and is made up by different political parties.
Rule of Law
A state, governed by the rule of law, is – among other things – based on a constitution, its judicial authorities hold fair trials and it punishes its citizens neither arbitrarily nor excessively, but in accordance with the law.