Protocol No. 12 to the European Convention on Human Rights, opened to signature in Rome in 2000, renders illegal all forms of discrimination carried out by a public body. Racial discrimination is therefore considered a violation of human rights.
The implementation of the provisions of Protocol No. 12 is supervised by the European Court of Human Rights and in most State Parties, the protocol is directly applicable by the domestic courts.
In addition, the Council of Europe set up a European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), composed of independent members. The Commission regularly publishes surveys on the extent of racism and intolerance in Council of Europe member states. It also organises round table discussions with representatives of civil society, and adopts general policy recommendations which are addressed to governments.
''In today’s increasingly diverse Europe, we must never forget the fundamental principle that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights'', declared Ahmet Davutoglu, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on 21 March 2011. ''Now more than ever, as we respond to the challenges of our changing societies, there is a need to fight all forms of racism and xenophobia''.