Human rights and law
Human rights and law

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Human rights and law

3.6 The terms of the European Convention on Human Rights

In 1952 the HCPs agreed that the European Convention on Human Rights should be extended to cover additional rights and freedoms. At the time of drafting the original treaty there were heated debates about whether rights relating to property, education and democratic participation were fundamental human rights. As a compromise these were omitted from the original treaty. Their later inclusion was achieved by an instrument known as a protocol, which, although much shorter than the original ECHR nevertheless followed a similar format. Protocol 1 was signed on 20 March 1952 and it included the following additional rights and freedoms:

  • Article 1: Protection of property

  • Article 2: Right to education

  • Article 3: Right to free elections

Since 1952 there have been a number of additional protocols to the European Convention on Human Rights, so that the Convention must now be considered along with Protocols 1, 4, 6, 7, 12 and 13. Protocol 2 gave the court power to give advisory opinions, and Protocol 9 granted individual applicants the right to bring their cases before the court, although this right only became effective once the relevant HCPs had ratified the Protocol.

You can explore the European Convention on Human Rights and its protocols further in Activity 5.

Activity 5: The terms of the European Convention on Human Rights and its protocols

0 hours 40 minutes

Go to the website for the Council of Europe [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

Find treaty 005: ‘Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms’, either using the search function on their website or by finding it listed in the Conventions section.

This site contains the actual terms of the European Convention on Human Rights and its protocols. Take some time to explore the terms of the ECHR and its protocols. Try to identify how many protocols have entered into force and how many countries have made a declaration to treaty 005.


The above website gave you the information that the ECHR opened for signature on 4 November 1950 in Rome and that to enter into force ten ratifications were necessary – the date on which these were obtained was 3 September 1953. A series of questions then followed – by clicking on these you were able to find further information about the number of signatories, declarations made and access the full text of the convention.

You should have been able to identify a number of protocols from the information provided. Some protocols have been used to grant additional rights under the Convention (Protocols 1, 4, 6, 7, 12 and 13). Protocols 2, 3, 8, 9 and 10 amended the text of the Convention. However, all provisions amended or added by those protocols have been replaced by Protocol 11 as of 1 November 1998. The use of protocols has allowed the original convention to remain a flexible and living document.

The table below lists the member states of the Council of Europe and the dates on which they signed and ratified the convention. It reflects the position on 31 January 2006.

Table 2: The 46 member states

States Signature Ratification Entry into force
Albania 13/7/1995 2/10/1996 2/10/1996
Andorra 10/11/1994 22/1/1996 22/1/1996
Armenia 25/1/2001 26/4/2002 26/4/2002
Austria 13/12/1957 3/9/1958 3/9/1958
Azerbaijan 25/1/2001 15/4/2002 15/4/2002
Belgium 4/11/1950 14/6/1955 14/6/1955
Bosnia and Herzegovina 24/4/2002 12/7/2002 12/7/2002
Bulgaria 7/5/1992 7/9/1992 7/9/1992
Croatia 6/11/1996 5/11/1997 5/11/1997
Cyprus 16/12/1961 6/10/1962 6/10/1962
Czech Republic 21/2/1991 18/3/1992 1/1/1993
Denmark 4/11/1950 13/4/1953 3/9/1953
Estonia 14/5/1993 16/4/1996 16/4/1996
Finland 5/5/1989 10/5/1990 10/5/1990
France 4/11/1950 3/5/1974 3/5/1974
Georgia 27/4/1999 20/5/1999 20/5/1999
Germany 4/11/1950 5/12/1952 3/9/1953
Greece 28/11/1950 28/11/1974 28/11/1974
Hungary 6/11/1990 5/11/1992 5/11/1992
Iceland 4/11/1950 29/6/1953 3/9/1953
Ireland 4/11/1950 25/2/1953 3/9/1953
Italy 4/11/1950 26/10/1955 26/10/1955
Latvia 10/2/1995 27/6/1997 27/6/1997
Liechtenstein 23/11/1978 8/9/1982 8/9/1982
Lithuania 14/5/1993 20/6/1995 20/6/1995
Luxembourg 4/11/1950 3/9/1953 3/9/1953
Malta 12/12/1966 23/1/1967 23/1/1967
Moldova 13/7/1995 12/9/1997 12/9/1997
Monaco 5/10/2004 30/11/2005 30/11/2005
Netherlands 4/11/1950 31/8/1954 31/8/1954
Norway 4/11/1950 15/1/1952 3/9/1953
Poland 26/11/1991 19/1/1993 19/1/1993
Portugal 22/9/1976 9/11/1978 9/11/1978
Romania 7/10/1993 20/6/1994 20/6/1994
Russia 28/2/1996 5/5/1998 5/5/1998
San Marino 16/11/1988 22/3/1989 22/3/1989
Serbia and Montenegro 3/4/2003 3/3/2004 3/3/2004
Slovakia 21/2/1991 18/3/1992 1/1/1993
Slovenia 14/5/1993 28/6/1994 28/6/1994
Spain 24/11/1977 4/10/1979 4/10/1979
Sweden 28/11/1950 4/2/1952 3/9/1953
Switzerland 21/12/1972 28/11/1974 28/11/1974
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 9/11/1995 10/4/1997 10/4/1997
Turkey 4/11/1950 18/5/1954 18/5/1954
Ukraine 9/11/1995 11/9/1997 11/9/1997
United Kingdom 4/11/1950 8/3/1951 3/9/1953
Total number of ratifications/accessions: 46

Whilst this table provides a list of HCPs, it does not provide a full picture as some of the HCPs have made reservations, declarations and objections. The Council of Europe website (accessed 16 January 2008) provides full details of these, including which articles they concern, the period covered and the reasons why. At the time of writing, 25 HCPs had made reservations or declarations. If you looked at the detailed list on the website, you will have seen that the United Kingdom had issued a statement concerning Article 15 and that the period covered was from 12 November 1998. The domestic legislation referred to contained provisions for the prevention of terrorism and port control and was extended to cover the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

The website of the Council of Europe provides a great deal of information. Often one of the challenges is navigating around all the information provided. For this activity you were asked to undertake a search for specific information and there were a number of ways in which you could have achieved this. The Council of Europe has attempted to make its website informative but user friendly with quick links, a search option and an A-Z index. It also clearly indicates when the site was last updated.


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