Today marks the 60th anniversary of the introduction of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The European Court of Human Rights President Dean Spielmann said those behind the treaty believed it would “form the bedrock of democratic Europe, an enterprise for peace and freedom.”
Since its entry into force in 1953, over 500,000 applications have been dealt with by the machinery set up under the European Convention on Human Rights and the court has delivered approximately 16,500 judgments.
“The European Convention on Human Rights blazed the trail for fundamental rights protection across Europe,” said Morten Kjaerum, Director of the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency. “It has allowed countless Europeans to find justice and have their basic human rights upheld. It continues to serve as a beacon across the world to the standards of dignity, democracy, respect for human rights and equality that lie at the core of Europe.”
Well-wishers from the British Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) and more than 85 United Kingdom civil society organisations have also joined in the anniversary celebrations.
An open letter published in the Daily Telegraph newspaper states: “For our organisations, and the people we work with across the UK, the rights and freedoms set out in the Convention are fundamental in ensuring all of us can live with dignity, respect and equality, safe in the knowledge that there are checks on Government power.”
Stephen Bowen, Director of the British Institute of Human Rights, said: “Today people and groups across the UK have joined together to speak up for the European Convention on Human Rights, and how these rights, expressed through our Human Rights Act, are a vital safety net for us all.
“The BIHR wants to see a genuine public debate which gives a voice to those who are applying human rights in everyday life, recognising the role of human rights as the cornerstone of a democratic and fair society, rather than simply resorting to sound-bites and rhetoric.
“We should be proud to live in a country which played a central role in setting up the Convention system.”
Photo: United Kingdom Judge Paul Mahoney receives an anniversary card from BIHR’s policy officer Helen Wildbore