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European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR or EHR treaty)

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Read the text to understand what information on the European Convention on Human Rights is of primary importance or new for you.



Decide in what cases your rights can be protected due to the Human Rights Act. Discuss these cases with your groupmates.

-Someone is told at work that he (she) cannot wear a turban or sari even though it is a part of his (her) religion.

-Someone has a relationship with a senior person at work and is dismissed, because of it (both of them are adults).

-An employer has been interfering with his( her) e-mails and telephone calls, and checking up on what websites he( she) visits.

-Someone is a schoolchild and is forced to wear school uniform.

-Someone is caught speeding in his (her) car by cameras and receive letters requesting him (her) to confirm speed.



Unit 3 European Human Rights Review Section 2 European Convention on Human Rights


1. Do you agree with the statement “Human rights are rights, not benefit, duties, privileges, or some other perhaps related practice”( Jack Donnelly)?

2. Match the following English words and expressions with their Ukrainian equivalents:


1 supra-national court A засоби судового захисту прав
2 judicial remedies B скарга
3 subsequent protocol C надціональний суд
4 grievance D поневолення
5 servitude E наступні протоколи



The Convention has been referred to as “the jewel in the crown” of the Council of Europe. New member states are obliged to signECHR on becoming members and to ratify within one year.

The direct predecessor of the Convention is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948. Other notable historical precedents include “England’s Magna Carta of 1215, which asserted the right to a fair trail and a just legal system; the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America of 1776; and the French Declaration of the Rights of Men and the Citizen of 1789. While inadequate for today, these represented important stages on the road towards full and equal rights for all human beings. The ECHR was signed on 4 November, 1950 and entered into force on 3 September, 1953. The European Convention on Human Rights represents ” the first steps of the collective enforcement of certain of the rights stated in the Universal Declaration”. Contracting States undertake to secure to everyone within their jurisdiction a number of civil and political rights and freedoms set out in the Convention. Some of them are: the right to life (Art.2 ), freedom from torture and from inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (Art.3), freedom from slavery and servitude (Art. 4), the right to liberty and security of the person (Art. 5), the right to a fair trail (Art. 6), the right to respect for one’s private and family life, one’s home and one’s correspondence (Art. 8), freedom of thought, conscience and religion (Art. 9), freedom of assembly and association (Art. 11).

Subsequent protocols have extended the initial list of rights, and the case-law of European Court has reinforced and developed these rights, demonstrating the dynamic and evolutive nature of the system. The first Protocols of 20 March 1952 added the following rights: the right to property (Art 1), the right to free elections (Art. 3). The Fourth Protocol adds some more rights: freedom from imprisonment for debt (Art. 1), liberty of movement and freedom to choose one’s residence (Art. 2).

All the Contracting States, with the exception of Ireland, Norway and the United Kingdom, have incorporated the Convention into their own law, enabling the domestic judiciary to take full account of its provisions when considering a grievance. Once domestic judicial remedies have been exhausted, an individual may still seek redress in Strasbourg for a breach of the Convention by a Contracting State. The Strasbourg machinery is not a substitute for national courts, but is an extension of them. The agreement of sovereign states to allow a supra-national court to review a judgement of the domestic judiciary represented a historic and unprecedented step in international law. It puts into practice the theory of the fundamental nature of human rights, placing rights firmly above the laws and practice of a state.

Structure and procedure.The most famous conventional body is the European Court of Human Rights, which enforces the European Convention on Human Rights. The European Court of Human Rights, created under the European Convention on Human Rights of 1950, is composed of a judge from each member state elected for a renewable term of six years by the Parliamentary Assembly and is headed by the elected President of the Court. Since 2007, Jean-Paul Costa from France is the President of the Court. Under the new Protocol No. 14 to the European Convention on Human Rights, the terms of office of judges shall be nine years but non-renewable. According to the Convention and the Statute the Court deals with cases related to the violation of the Convention and protocols. When a case is referred to the Court, there will be a public hearing. The Court’s judgement, reached by majority vote, is final. The Court may require a state to pay financial compensation, including damages and the costs of the proceedings. The Committee of Ministers supervises the execution of the judgement where a violation has been found.


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