European Convention on Human Rights

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The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)[1] was adopted in 1950 by the Council of Europe as a standard of protecting human rights and freedoms. The initial convention was formalized in Rome on November 4, 1950, with five additional protocols developed and signed in Paris and Strasbourg in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Currently, the ECHR has eighteen articles and fourteen protocols. All members of the Council of Europe are required to sign the protocol, with new members expected to ratify the convention soon after acceptance into the Council.

Historically, the purpose of the convention is to address the significance of individual human rights and freedoms and to codify legal redress in the aftermath of the Second World War. As such, the Convention follows with the Declaration of Human Rights as proclaimed by the United Nations in 1948.

Sovereignty of the state is affected by being a signatory to the ECHR, as individuals who feel that their rights are being affected by national laws may seek higher redress from the European Court of Human Rights. Being a signatory under the Convention means that the Court’s decisions, if ruling against the nation, can affect their existing laws. The United Kingdom, however, has legally retained its sovereignty by incorporating the ideals of the ECHR into the Human Rights Act 1998.[2]