European Convention on Human Rights

The European Convention on Human Rights, otherwise known as the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, is a convention that was passed by theas drawn up by the United Nations (UN) in 1948. The aim of the convention is to give people who live in European states a list of civil and political rights which the member states of the Council of Europe believed every person in Europe should expect to have.

Basic Rights and Freedoms under the Convention

The following basic rights and freedoms are set down in the Convention:

  • The right to life
  • The right to liberty and security
  • The right to fair trial
  • The right to no punishment without law
  • The right to respect private and family life
  • The right to marry
  • The right to a remedy of human rights abuses
  • Freedom of thought, conscience and religion
  • Freedom of expression
  • Freedom of assembly and association
  • Prohibition of torture
  • Prohibition of slavery and forced labour
  • Prohibition of discrimination
  • Prohibition of the abuse of rights

The convention allows exceptions in some circumstances which are laid out clearly in the articles for each right. For example, a person has a right to life unless they are killed by self-defence; while resisting arrest or trying to escape while lawfully detained; in lawful police riot control action; or as a punishment laid down by a court for a suitable crime.

The Full Convention lists all exceptions and circumstances.

The European Commission of Human Rights

The Commission of Human Rights was founded under the Convention. The role of the Commission is to investigate claims of human rights abuses, made either by states or individuals. Once investigations have been carried out the findings are passed onto the European Court of Human Rights, who have the compulsory jurisdiction, recognised by many states, to try individuals or governments for Human Rights abuses. For example, the court has forced the Republic of Ireland to withdraw its law banning homosexual activity.

See also