What is the Convention?

The European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR) 1950 was created by the Council of Europe (not to be confused with the European Union!). The Council of Europe was set up after World War II to protect human rights and the rule of law and to promote democracy across Europe. The ECHR is enforced by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). The ECHR and ECtHR represent a gold standard of human rights protection across the globe. Both remain important and powerful symbols of our determination throughout Europe to uphold human rights as the cornerstone of healthy democracies.

Why is it important?

The ECHR and ECtHR have led to positive changes in laws and practice across Europe, including in the UK.  For example, as a result of ECtHR rulings the UK has passed laws regulating phone tapping, improved safeguards for patients with mental capacity issues, legally recognised gender, and banned corporal punishment in schools.

Whilst no system is perfect, and in particualr there are some concerns about the backlog of cases at the ECtHR, any reforms should not undermine or regress its role or powers, but strengthen and support the Court. A robust, independent human rights Court supervising compliance with the ECHR is crucial.

Read more about our work on this

Council of Europe Consultation on the Future of the European Convention and Court

The Other Jubilee: Celebrating 60 years of the Convention

The Brighton Declaration and Conference: Reforming the Convention and Court