The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, better known as the European Convention on Human Rights, was signed in Rome (Italy) on 4 November 1950 by 12 member states of the Council of Europe and entered into force on 3 September 1953.

It was the first instrument to give effect and binding force to certain of the rights stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

It was also the first treaty to establish a supranational organ to ensure that the States Parties fulfilled their undertakings. The Convention was a milestone in the development of international law. Once states had accepted that a supranational court could challenge decisions taken by their own courts, human rights de facto gained precedence over national legislation and practice.

“On this anniversary I encourage all states to reaffirm their commitment to the European Convention of Human Rights”, said Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland.

“It remains one of the most remarkable achievements in international law and a triumph for individual liberty and common values among nations.

In the last 65 years the Convention has rid Europe of the death penalty, prohibited torture and enshrined fundamental human rights in the legal systems of 47 countries. It has become the glue which binds the European continent together and it continues to protect essential freedoms through periods of change, conflict and crisis – including freedom of expression, assembly, thought and religion, as well as the right to privacy, fair trial and equality before the law.

When governments fail to uphold these obligations, the European Court of Human Rights guarantees the right of individual petition to Europe’s 820 million citizens. It is no wonder, then, that the Convention system remains a beacon of hope to people around the world”, he said.

Source: ECHR press release

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