The European Convention on Human Rights is a binding international agreement that protects the political and fundamental civil rights of human beings and their basic freedoms. The Convention was drafted in 1950 by the Council of Europe, and came into force on the 3rd of September 1953.
In 1951, the ECHR was not yet part of the British Legal System. In 1997, the Labour government introduced a bill into Parliament to incorporate the ECHR – creating The Human Rights Bill. It was only in November 1998 that the ECHR became part of British law. This entitled each person to the right of individual petition to the British courts, should they feel that any right in the Convention had been violated.
Unlike the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (adopted by the UN in 1948), the ECHR has been adopted by the Council of Europe and has been sanctioned by many countries.
Articles within the European Convention on Human Rights
The ECHR is divided into three sections, consisting of fifty-nine articles – and a further thirteen protocols (European Court of Human Rights – echr.coe.int website). Below I have highlighted some articles from the three sections.
Section 1 is concerned with the “Rights and Freedoms” of humans. This includes article 2 - the right to life - which is to be protected by law, binding all the signatory countries to ensure that every human will not be “deprived of his life intentionally” and to defend each individual from unlawful violence. Section 1 also enforces the prohibition of such acts including torture, slavery and forced labour.
Article 5 emphasizes the right of freedom and security of every individual (The European Convention on Human Rights (Jacobs and White), 2002). Article 6 states the right to a fair trial; even those charged with a criminal offence are entitled to “minimum rights”. Article 8 focuses on the right of privacy and family respect of every person. Article 9...