Ireland is a member of the pan European Council of Europe - the body established in the aftermath of World War ll to try to maintain agreed standards of behaviour within and between all European states. One of its achievements is the European Convention on Human Rights.
The parliament of the European Community - which is a body set up years later than the C of E and more limited in its membership - rents the hall in Strasbourg from the C of E for its meetings in that city.
Speaking in Dublin today the Council's Commissioner for Human Rights Mr Thomas Hammarberg has said US military flights through Shannon Airport should have been checked when it was obvious that the planes could have been used to transport people who have been abducted and who might face torture where they were being brought.
Torture is banned under the European Convention on Human Rights. Under the UN Convention against Torture Ireland is under a legal obligation to be proactive in ensuring that its facilities or employees do not assist those engaged in the crime of torture in any way.