Human Rights & ECHR

The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, better known as the “European Convention on Human Rights”, was opened for signature in Rome on 4 November 1950; it entered into force on 3 September 1953.

The Convention gave effect to certain of the rights stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and established an international judicial organ with jurisdiction to find against States that do not fulfil their undertakings.

The rights and freedoms secured by the Convention include the right to life, the right to a fair hearing, the right to respect for private and family life, freedom of expression, freedom of thought, conscience and religion and the protection of property. The Convention prohibits, in particular, torture and inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment, forced labour, arbitrary and unlawful detention, and discrimination in the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms secured by the Convention.

The Convention is applicable at national level. It has been incorporated into the legislation of the States Parties, which have undertaken to protect the rights defined in the Convention. Domestic courts therefore have to apply the Convention.

The Convention makes a distinction between two types of application: individual applications lodged by any person, group of individuals, company or NGO having a complaint about a violation of their rights, and inter-State applications brought by one State against another.