Struggle is the father of all things. It is not by the principles of humanity that man lives or is able to preserve himself above the animal world, but
solely by means of the most brutal struggle. If you do not fight, life will never be won. -
Adolf Hitler -
The UK bangs the equality drum, but in reality
is more like a Police State in the way it operates, according to cases
that we are following and cite as examples. Ultimately, the ruling
monarch is responsible for appointing a Government that provides an
effective administration. Clearly, that is not the case as of June 2020.
The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) is an international human rights treaty between the 47 states that are members of the Council of Europe (CoE) - not to be confused with the
Governments signed up to the ECHR have made a legal commitment to abide by certain standards of behaviour and to protect the basic rights and freedoms of ordinary people. It is a treaty to protect the rule of law and promote democracy in European countries.
The European Convention on Human Rights was formally drafted by the Council of Europe in Strasbourg during the summer of 1949. Over 100 members of parliament from across Europe assembled to draft the charter. The United Kingdom was the very first nation to ratify the convention in March of 1951.
The Convention came into full effect on the 3rd September 1953. It was intended to be a simple, flexible roundup of
Rights, whose meaning could grow and adapt to society’s changing needs over time. Not only were ordinary people to be protected from abuse by the state, but duties were to be placed on those states to protect individuals. It has been hugely important in raising standards and increasing awareness of
human rights across CoE member states, and
beyond, though many are still working to dilute these protections for
1 – respecting rights
Article 1 simply binds the signatory parties to secure the rights under
the other Articles of the Convention "within their
jurisdiction". In exceptional cases, "jurisdiction" may
not be confined to a Contracting State's own national territory; the
obligation to secure Convention rights then also extends to foreign
territories, such as occupied land in which the State exercises
In Loizidou v Turkey, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that
jurisdiction of member states to the convention extended to areas under
that state's effective control as a result of military action.
Article 2 – life
Article 2 protects the right of every person to their life. The right to
life extends only to human beings, not to non-human animals, or to
"legal persons" such as corporations. In Evans v United
Kingdom, the Court ruled that the question of whether the right to life
extends to a human embryo fell within a state's margin of appreciation.
In Vo v France, the Court declined to extend the right to life to an
unborn child, while stating that "it is neither desirable, nor even
possible as matters stand, to answer in the abstract the question
whether the unborn child is a person for the purposes of Article 2 of
The Court has ruled that states have three main duties under Article 2:
- a duty to refrain from unlawful killing,
- a duty to investigate suspicious deaths, and
- in certain circumstances, a positive duty to prevent foreseeable loss of
The first paragraph of the article contains an exception for lawful
executions, although this exception has largely been superseded by
Protocols 6 and 13. Protocol 6 prohibits the imposition of the death
penalty in peacetime, while Protocol 13 extends the prohibition to all
circumstances. (For more on Protocols 6 and 13, see below).
The second paragraph of Article 2 provides that death resulting from
defending oneself or others, arresting a suspect or fugitive, or
suppressing riots or insurrections, will not contravene the Article when
the use of force involved is "no more than absolutely
Signatory states to the Convention can only derogate from the rights
contained in Article 2 for deaths which result from lawful acts of war.
The European Court of Human Rights did not rule upon the right to life
until 1995, when in McCann and Others v United Kingdom it ruled that the
exception contained in the second paragraph does not constitute
situations when it is permitted to kill, but situations where it is
permitted to use force which might result in the deprivation of life.
Article 3 – torture
Article 3 prohibits torture and "inhuman or degrading treatment or
punishment". There are no exceptions or limitations on this right.
This provision usually applies, apart from torture, to cases of severe
police violence and poor conditions in detention.
The Court has emphasized the fundamental nature of Article 3 in holding
that the prohibition is made in "absolute terms ... irrespective of
a victim's conduct". The Court has also held that states cannot
deport or extradite individuals who might be subjected to torture,
inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, in the recipient state.
Initially, the Court took a restrictive view on what consisted of
torture, preferring to find that states had inflicted inhuman and
degrading treatment. Thus the court held that practices such as sleep
deprivation, subjecting individual to intense noise and requiring them
to stand against a wall with their limbs outstretched for extended
periods of time, did not constitute torture. In fact the Court only
found a state guilty of torture in 1996 in the case of a detainee who
was suspended by his arms while his hands were tied behind his back.
Since then the Court has appeared to be more open to finding states
guilty of torture and has even ruled that since the Convention is a
"living instrument", treatment which it had previously
characterized as inhuman or degrading treatment might in future be
regarded as torture.
Article 4 – servitude
Article 4 prohibits slavery, servitude and forced labour but exempts
done as a normal part of imprisonment,
in the form of compulsory military service or work done as an
alternative by conscientious objectors,
required to be done during a state of emergency, and
considered to be a part of a person's normal "civic
Article 5 – liberty and security
Article 5 provides that everyone has the right to liberty and security
of person. Liberty and security of the person are taken as a
"compound" concept – security of the person has not been
subject to separate interpretation by the Court.
Article 5 provides the right to liberty, subject only to lawful arrest
or detention under certain other circumstances, such as arrest on
reasonable suspicion of a crime or imprisonment in fulfilment of a
sentence. The article also provides those arrested with the right to be
informed, in a language they understand, of the reasons for the arrest
and any charge they face, the right of prompt access to judicial
proceedings to determine the legality of the arrest or detention, to
trial within a reasonable time or release pending trial, and the right
to compensation in the case of arrest or detention in violation of this
Assanidze v. Georgia, App. No. 71503/01 (Eur. Ct. H.R. Apr. 8, 2004)
Article 6 – fair trial
Article 6 provides a detailed right to a fair trial, including the right
to a public hearing before an independent and impartial tribunal within
reasonable time, the presumption of innocence, and other minimum rights
for those charged with a criminal offence (adequate time and facilities
to prepare their defence, access to legal representation, right to
examine witnesses against them or have them examined, right to the free
assistance of an interpreter).
The majority of Convention violations that the Court finds today are
excessive delays, in violation of the "reasonable time"
requirement, in civil and criminal proceedings before national courts,
mostly in Italy and France. Under the "independent tribunal"
requirement, the Court has ruled that military judges in Turkish state
security courts are incompatible with Article 6. In compliance with this
Article, Turkey has now adopted a law abolishing these courts.
Another significant set of violations concerns the "confrontation
clause" of Article 6 (i.e. the right to examine witnesses or have
them examined). In this respect, problems of compliance with Article 6
may arise when national laws allow the use in evidence of the
testimonies of absent, anonymous and vulnerable witnesses.
Steel v. United Kingdom (1998) 28 EHRR 603
Assanidze v. Georgia, App. No. 71503/01 (Eur. Ct. H.R. Apr. 8, 2004)
Othman (Abu Qatada) v. United Kingdom (2012) – Abu Qatada could not be
deported to Jordan as that would be a violation of Article 6 "given
the real risk of the admission of evidence obtained by torture".
This was the first time the court ruled that such an expulsion would be
a violation of Article 6.
Article 7 – retroactivity
Article 7 prohibits the retroactive criminalisation of acts and
omissions. No person may be punished for an act that was not a criminal
offence at the time of its commission. The article states that a
criminal offence is one under either national or international law,
which would permit a party to prosecute someone for a crime which was
not illegal under domestic law at the time, so long as it was prohibited
by international law. The Article also prohibits a heavier penalty being
imposed than was applicable at the time when the criminal act was
Article 7 incorporates the legal principle nullum crimen, nulla poena
sine lege into the convention.
Relevant cases are:
Kokkinakis v. Greece  ECHR 20
S.A.S. v. France  ECHR 69
Article 8 – privacy
Article 8 provides a right to respect for one's "private and family
life, his home and his correspondence", subject to certain
restrictions that are "in accordance with law" and
"necessary in a democratic society". This article clearly
provides a right to be free of unlawful searches, but the Court has
given the protection for "private and family life" that this
article provides a broad interpretation, taking for instance that
prohibition of private consensual homosexual acts violates this article.
There have been cases discussing consensual familial sexual
relationships, and how the criminalisation of this may violate this
article. However, the ECHR still deems such familial sexual acts to be
criminal. This may be compared to the jurisprudence of the United States
Supreme Court, which has also adopted a somewhat broad interpretation of
the right to privacy. Furthermore, Article 8 sometimes comprises
positive obligations: whereas classical human rights are formulated as
prohibiting a State from interfering with rights, and thus not to do
something (e.g. not to separate a family under family life protection),
the effective enjoyment of such rights may also include an obligation
for the State to become active, and to do something (e.g. to enforce
access for a divorced parent to his/her child).
Notable case: Roman Zakharov v. Russia  EHCR 47143/06
Article 9 – conscience and religion
Article 9 provides a right to freedom of thought, conscience and
religion. This includes the freedom to change a religion or belief, and
to manifest a religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and
observance, subject to certain restrictions that are "in accordance
with law" and "necessary in a democratic society"
Relevant cases are:
Kokkinakis v. Greece  ECHR 20
Universelles Leben e.V. v. Germany  (app. no. 29745/96)
Buscarini and Others v. San Marino  ECHR 7
Pichon and Sajous v. France  ECHR 898
Leyla Şahin v. Turkey  ECHR 299
Leela Förderkreis E.V. and Others v. Germany  ECHR
Lautsi v. Italy  ECHR 2412
S.A.S. v. France  ECHR 695
Eweida v United Kingdom , ECHR 2013
Article 10 – expression
Article 10 provides the right to freedom of expression, subject to
certain restrictions that are "in accordance with law" and
"necessary in a democratic society". This right includes the
freedom to hold opinions, and to receive and impart information and
ideas, but allows restrictions for:
interests of national security
territorial integrity or public safety
prevention of disorder or crime
protection of health or morals
protection of the reputation or the rights of others
preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence
maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary
Relevant cases are:
Lingens v Austria (1986) 8 EHRR 407
The Observer and The Guardian v United Kingdom (1991) 14 EHRR 153, the
Bowman v United Kingdom  ECHR 4, (1998) 26 EHRR 1, distributing
vast quantities of anti-abortion material in contravention to election
Communist Party v Turkey (1998) 26 EHRR 1211
Appleby v United Kingdom (2003) 37 EHRR 38, protests in a private
Article 11 – association
Article 11 protects the right to freedom of assembly and association,
including the right to form trade unions, subject to certain
restrictions that are "in accordance with law" and
"necessary in a democratic society".
Vogt v Germany (1995)
Yazar, Karatas, Aksoy and Hep v Turkey (2003) 36 EHRR 59
Article 12 – marriage
Article 12 provides a right for women and men of marriageable age to
marry and establish a family.
Despite a number of invitations, the Court has so far refused to apply
the protections of this article to same-sex marriage. The Court has
defended this on the grounds that the article was intended to apply only
to different-sex marriage, and that a wide margin of appreciation must
be granted to parties in this area.
In Goodwin v United
Kingdom the Court ruled that a law which still classified
post-operative transsexual persons under their pre-operative sex,
violated article 12 as it meant that transsexual persons were unable to
marry individuals of their post-operative opposite sex.
This reversed an earlier ruling in Rees v United
Kingdom. This did not, however, alter the Court's understanding that
Article 12 protects only different-sex couples.
The European Court of Human Rights ruled in Schalk and Kopf v Austria
that countries are not required to provide marriage licenses for
same-sex couples, however if a country allows same-sex couple marriage
it must be done so under the same conditions that opposite-sex couples marriage
face: in order to prevent a breach of article 14 – the prohibition of
discrimination. Additionally, the court ruled in the 2015 case of Oliari
and Others v Italy, that states have a positive obligation to ensure
there is a specific legal framework for the recognition and protection
of same-sex couples.
Article 13 – effective remedy
Article 13 provides for the right for an effective remedy before
national authorities for violations of rights under the Convention. The
inability to obtain a remedy before a national court for an infringement
of a Convention right is thus a free-standing and separately actionable
infringement of the Convention.
Article 14 – discrimination
Article 14 contains a prohibition of discrimination.
This prohibition is broad in some ways and narrow in others. It is broad
in that it prohibits discrimination under a potentially unlimited number
of grounds. While the article specifically prohibits discrimination
based on "sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other
opinions, national or social origin, association with a national
minority, property, birth or other status", the last of these
allows the court to extend to Article 14 protection to other grounds not
specifically mentioned such as has been done regarding discrimination
based on a person's sexual orientation.
At the same time, the article's protection is limited in that it only
prohibits discrimination with respect to rights under the Convention.
Thus, an applicant must prove discrimination in the enjoyment of a
specific right that is guaranteed elsewhere in the Convention (e.g.
discrimination based on sex – Article 14 – in the enjoyment of the
right to freedom of expression – Article 10). It has been said that
laws regarding familial sexual relationships (or incest) are in breach
of Article 14 when combined with Article 8.
Protocol 12 extends this prohibition to cover discrimination in any
legal right, even when that legal right is not protected under the
Convention, so long as it is provided for in national law.
Article 15 – derogations
Article 15 allows contracting states to derogate from certain rights
guaranteed by the Convention in a time of "war or other public
emergency threatening the life of the nation". Permissible
derogations under article 15 must meet three substantive conditions:
there must be a public emergency threatening the life of the nation;
any measures taken in response must be "strictly required by the
exigencies of the situation", and
the measures taken in response to it, must be in compliance with a
state's other obligations under international law
In addition to these substantive requirements, the derogation must be
procedurally sound. There must be some formal announcement of the
derogation and notice of the derogation, any measures adopted under it,
and the ending of the derogation must be communicated to the
Secretary-General of the Council of Europe
As of 2016, eight member states had ever invoked derogations. The Court
is quite permissive in accepting a state's derogations from the
Convention but applies a higher degree of scrutiny in deciding whether
measures taken by states under a derogation are, in the words of Article
15, "strictly required by the exigencies of the situation".
Thus in A v United Kingdom, the Court dismissed a claim that a
derogation lodged by the British government in response to the September
11 attacks was invalid, but went on to find that measures taken by the
United Kingdom under that derogation were disproportionate.
In order for a derogation itself to be valid, the emergency giving rise
to it must be:
actual or imminent, although states do not have to wait for disasters to
strike before taking preventive measures,
involve the whole nation, although a threat confined to a particular
region may be treated as "threatening the life of the nation"
in that particular region,
threaten the continuance of the organised life of the community,
exceptional such that measures and restriction permitted by the
Convention would be "plainly inadequate" to deal with the
Examples of such derogations include:
Operation Demetrius—Internees arrested without trial pursuant to
"Operation Demetrius" could not complain to the European
Commission of Human Rights about breaches of Article 5 because on 27
June 1975, the UK lodged a notice with the Council of Europe declaring
that there was a "public emergency within the meaning of Article
15(1) of the Convention".
Article 16 – aliens
Article 16 allows states to restrict the political activity of
foreigners. The Court has ruled that European Union member states cannot
consider the nationals of other member states to be aliens.
Article 17 – abuse of rights
Article 17 provides that no one may use the rights guaranteed by the
Convention to seek the abolition or limitation of rights guaranteed in
the Convention. This addresses instances where states seek to restrict a
human right in the name of another human right, or where individuals
rely on a human right to undermine other human rights (for example where
an individual issues a death threat).
Article 18 – permitted restrictions
Article 18 provides that any limitations on the rights provided for in
the Convention may be used only for the purpose for which they are
provided. For example, Article 5, which guarantees the right to personal
freedom, may be explicitly limited in order to bring a suspect before a
judge. To use pre-trial detention as a means of intimidation of a person
under a false pretext is, therefore, a limitation of right (to freedom)
which does not serve an explicitly provided purpose (to be brought
before a judge), and is therefore contrary to Article 18.
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