for the Protection of Human Rights
and Fundamental Freedoms (1953)
The Governments signatory hereto, being Members of the Council
Considering the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaimed
by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 10 th December
Considering that this Declaration aims at securing the universal
and effective recognition and observance of the Rights therein
Considering that the aim of the Council of Europe is achievement
of greater unity between its Members and that one of the methods
by which that aim is to be pursued is the maintenance and further
realization of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms;
Reaffirming their profound belief in those Fundamental Freedoms
which are the foundation of justice and peace in the world and
are best maintained on the one hand by an effective political
democracy and on the other by a common understanding and observance
of the Human Rights upon which they depend;
Being resolved, as the Governments of European countries which
are like-minded and have a common heritage of political traditions,
ideals, freedom and the rule of law, to take the first steps for
the collective enforcement of certain of the Rights stated in
the Universal Declaration;
Have agreed as follows:
The High Contracting parties shall secure to everyone within
their jurisdiction the rights and freedoms defined in Section
I of this Convention.
1. Everyone's right to life shall be protected by law. No
one shall be deprived of his life intentionally save in the execution
of a sentence of a court following his conviction of a crime for
which this penalty is provided by law.
2. Deprivation of life shall not be regarded as inflicted
in contravention of this Article when it results from the use
of force which is no more than absolutely necessary:
a. in defense of any person from unlawful violence;
b. in order to effect a lawful arrest or to prevent the escape
of a person lawfully detained;
c. in action lawfully taken for the purpose of quelling a
riot or insurrection.
No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading
treatment or punishment.
1. No one shall be held in slavery or servitude.
2. No one shall be required to perform forced or compulsory
3. For the purpose of this Article the term "forced or
compulsory labor shall not include:
a. any work required to be done in the ordinary course of
detention imposed according to the provisions of Article 5 of
this Convention or during conditional release from such detention;
b. any service of a military character or, in case of conscientious
objectors in countries where they are recognized, service exacted
instead of compulsory military service;
c. any service exacted in case of an emergency or calamity
threatening the life or well-being of the community;
d. any work or service which forms part of normal civic obligations.
1. Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person.
No one shall be deprived of his liberty save in the following
cases and in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law
a. the lawful detention of a person after conviction by a
b. the lawful arrest or detention of a person for noncompliance
with the lawful order of a court or in order to secure the fulfillment
of any obligation prescribed by law;
c. the lawful arrest or detention of a person effected for
the purpose of bringing him before the competent legal authority
on reasonable suspicion of having committed an offense or when
it is reasonably considered necessary to prevent his committing
an offense or fleeing after having done so;
d. the detention of a minor by lawful order for the purpose
of educational supervision or his lawful detention for the purpose
of bringing him before the competent legal authority;
e. the lawful detention of persons for the prevention of the
spreading of infectious diseases, of persons of unsound mind,
alcoholic or drug addicts or vagrants;
f. the lawful arrest or detention of a person to prevent his
effecting an unauthorized entry into the country or of a person
against whom action is being taken with a view to deportation
2. Everyone who is arrested shall be informed promptly, in
a language which he understands, of the reasons for his arrest
and of any charge against him.
3. Everyone arrested or detained in accordance with the provisions
of paragraph I (c) of this Article shall be brought promptly before
a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial
power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time
or to release pending trial. Release may be conditioned by guarantees
to appear for trial.
4. Everyone who is deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention
shall be entitled to take proceedings by which the lawfulness
of his detention shall be decided speedily by a court and his
release ordered if the detention is not lawful.
5. Everyone who has been the victim of arrest or detention
in contravention of the provisions of this Article shall have
an enforceable right to compensation.
1. In the determination of his civil rights and obligations
or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to
a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent
and impartial tribunal established by law. Judgment shall be pronounced
publicly, but the press and public may be excluded from all or
part of the trial in the interests of morals, public order or
national security in a democratic society, where the interests
of juveniles or the protection of the private life of the parties
so require, or to the extent strictly necessary in the opinion
of the court in special circumstances where publicity would prejudice
the interests of justice.
2. Everyone charged with a criminal offense shall be presumed
innocent until proved guilty according to law.
3. Everyone charged with a criminal offense has the following
a. to be informed promptly, in a language which he understands
and in detail, of the nature and cause of the accusation against
b. to have adequate time and facilities for the preparation
of his defense;
c. to defend himself in person or through legal assistance
of his own choosing or, if he has not sufficient means to pay
for legal assistance, to be given it free when the interests of
justice so require;
d. to examine or have examined witnesses against him and to
obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on his behalf
under the same conditions as witnesses against him;
e. to have the free assistance of an interpreter if he cannot
understand or speak the language used in court.
1. No one shall be held guilty of any criminal offense on
account of any act or omission which did not constitute a criminal
offense under national or international law at the time when it
was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the
one that was applicable at the time the criminal offense was committed.
2. This Article shall not prejudice the trial and punishment
of any person for any act or omission which, at the time when
it was committed, was criminal according to the general principles
of law recognized by civilized nations.
1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family
life, his home and his correspondence.
2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with
the exercise of this right except such as in accordance with the
law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests
of national security, public safety or the economic well-being
of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the
protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights
and freedoms of others.
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience
and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion
or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others
and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief,
in worship, teaching, practice and observance.
2. Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs shall be
subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and
are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public
safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals,
or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right
shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart
information and ideas without interference by public authority
and regardless of frontiers. This Article shall not prevent States
from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema
2. The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it
duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities,
conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law
and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of
national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for
the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health
or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others,
for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence,
or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly
and to freedom of association with others, including the right
to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
2. No restrictions shall be placed on the exercise of these
rights other than such as are prescribed by law and are necessary
in a democratic society in the interests of national security
or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for
the protection of health or morals or for the protection of the
rights and freedoms of others. This Article shall not prevent
the imposition of lawful restrictions on the exercise of these
rights by members of the armed forces, of the police or of the
administration of the State.
Men and women of marriageable age have the right to marry
and to found a family, according to the national laws governing
the exercise of this right.
Everyone whose rights and freedoms as set forth in this Convention
are violated shall have an effective remedy before a national
authority notwithstanding that the violation has been committed
by persons acting in an official capacity.
The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this
Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground
such as sex, race, color, language, religion, political or other
opinion, national or social origin, association with a national
minority, property, birth or other status.
1. In time of war or other public emergency threatening the
life of the nation any High Contracting Party may take measures
derogating from its obligations under this Convention to the extent
strictly required by the exigencies of the situation, provided
that such measures are not inconsistent with its other obligations
under international law.
2. No derogation from Article 2, except in the respect of
deaths resulting from lawful acts of war, or from Articles 3,
4 (paragraph 1) and 7 shall be made under this provision.
3. Any High Contracting Party availing itself of this right
of derogation shall keep the Secretary-General of the Council
of Europe fully informed of the measures which it has taken and
the reasons therefor. It shall also inform the Secretary-General
of the Council of Europe when such measures have ceased to operate
and the provisions of the Convention are again being fully executed.
Nothing in Articles 10, 11 and 14 shall be regarded as preventing
the High Contracting Parties from imposing restriction on the
political activity of aliens.
Nothing in this Convention may be interpreted as implying
for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity
or perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights
and freedoms set forth herein or at their limitation to a greater
extent than is provided for in the Convention.
The restrictions permitted under this Convention to the said
rights and freedoms shall not be applied for any purpose other
than those for which they have been prescribed.
To ensure the observance of the engagements undertaken by
the High Contracting Parties in the present Convention, there
shall be set up:
1. A European Commission of Human Rights hereinafter referred
to as "the Commission";
2. A European Court of Human Rights, hereinafter referred
to as "the Court."
The Commission shall consist of a number of members equal
to that of the High Contracting Parties. No two members of the
Commission may be nationals of the same State.
1. The members of the Commission shall be elected by the Committee
of Ministers by an absolute majority of votes, from a list of
names drawn up by the Bureau of the Consultative Assembly; each
group of the Representatives of the High Contracting Parties in
the Consultative Assembly shall put forward three candidates,
of whom two at least shall be its nationals.
2. As far as applicable, the same procedure shall be followed
to complete the Commission in the event of other States subsequently
becoming Parties to this Convention, and in filling casual vacancies....
1. The Commission may receive petitions addressed to the Secretary-General
of the Council of Europe from any person, non-governmental organization
or group of individuals claiming to be the victim of a violation
by one of the High Contracting Parties of the rights set forth
in this Convention, provided that the High Contracting Party against
which the complaint has been lodged has declared that it recognizes
the competence of the Commission to receive such petitions. Those
of the High Contracting Parties who have made such a declaration
undertake not to hinder in any way the effective exercise of this
2. Such declarations may be made for a specific period.
3. The declarations shall be deposited with the Secretary-General
of the Council of Europe who shall transmit copies thereof to
the High Contracting Parties and publish them.
4. The Commission shall only exercise the powers provided
for in this Article when at least six High Contracting Parties
are bound by declarations made in accordance with the preceding