The Council of Europe, based in Strasbourg, was founded in 1949 and is Europe's oldest intergovernmental organisation with the largest number of member states. Its core mission is to protect and promote human rights, democracy and the rule of law in its member states and throughout the world by means of conventions that third countries can join. It currently has 46 member states.
To date, Switzerland has ratified over half of the more than 200 Council of Europe conventions. The conventions serve as a basis for legislative amendments and harmonisation in its member states.
The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) is one of the Council of Europe's most important conventions and flagship achievements. Signed by all the member states, the ECHR gives every Swiss citizen – and all citizens of the states parties – the right to bring a case before the European Court of Human Rights in the event of a violation of the rights or guarantees set out in the convention, provided that all domestic remedies have been exhausted.