The Congress of the Hague, which took place in 1948 in the wake of the second world war, is surely one of the most remarkable events of this closing century, with a goal to reunite the people of Europe in a common organisation capable of ensuring a lasting peace. To mark this event, and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Council of Europe, Council of Europe Publishing has released a facsimile edition of the original proceedings of this historic congress. In its original form, these pages are permeated with history and record the debates and reflections of the great personalities which created both the concept of the Council of Europe and put in place the mechanisms which would make it an effective and dynamic tool for change in Europe. The first initiative of the congress was the requirement of urgently bringing together a European Assembly. A commission was to be given the task of immediately undertaking the preparation of a human rights charter. The future assembly would propose the creation of a court of justice capable of applying the necessary sanctions to ensure respect for the charter. Thus was outlined the essence of what was to become the mission of the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights. The resolutions of the Hague deserve to be read and re-read because they define the task which was and continues to be the responsibility of those who wish to construct a united Europe.
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