ECHR signed in Rome 70 years ago today

ECHR signed in Rome 70 years ago today

On this day 70 years ago, the European Convention on Human Rights was signed in Rome.

The ECHR was the first instrument to crystallise and give binding effect to the rights set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

It lays down absolute rights which can never be breached by the states, such as the right to life or the prohibition of torture, and it protects certain rights and freedoms which can only be restricted by law when necessary in a democratic society – for example the right to liberty and security or the right to respect for private and family life.

A number of rights have been added to the initial text with the adoption of additional protocols, concerning, in particular, the abolition of the death penalty, the protection of property, the right to free elections or freedom of movement.

The future of the ECHR is, however, unclear. In recent years there have been calls in the UK for withdrawal from the Convention.

Speaking in Edinburgh in January this year, Phillipe Sands QC, said Britain was now “part of the problem”.

He said: “There are real signs that the fabric that created the 1945 settlement is truly beginning to unravel.”

And those responsible for its unravelling “include not only the Orbans and the Bolsonaros and the Dutertes of the world but the Trumps – and the Johnsons”.

“It appears that Britain and the United States, as they retreat from their commitment to the multilateral legal order, are now part of the problem, not part of the solution.”

Share icon
Share this article: