What’s the European Convention on Human Rights?

The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) is the main human rights treaty (agreement) of the Council of Europe. The Council of Europe is a completely different organisation to the European Union (EU), and has its own separate legal system. The Council of Europe and the ECHR has 47 member states, including the UK, all the other EU countries, and Russia.

The EU itself is not a member (yet), and its institutions are not directly bound by this agreement. The ECHR contains mostly civil and political rights, including the right to a fair trial (Article 6) and the right to freedom of expression (Article 10). The UK helped draft the ECHR in 1950. The human rights treaty was an expression of many states who wanted to come together to secure peace after the Second World War.

View all facts

Subscribe to our fortnightly newsletter

Get a round-up of The UK in a Changing Europe’s latest analysis pieces, videos, explainers, podcasts, reports, events, infographics and more, written by the organisation’s director Anand Menon. PS his mum says it’s "quite good".

Sign up to our newsletter

View our latest newsletter