September 3, 2013 - 13:39 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Chairman of Council of Europe Committee of Ministers, Foreign Minister of Armenia Edward Nalbandian issued a statement on occasion of the 60th anniversary of the entry into force of the European Convention on Human Rights.
“This treaty is undoubtedly the cornerstone of the human rights protection in Europe. Over sixty years, persons within the jurisdiction of the member States of the Council of Europe have benefited from this unique legal instrument. Several landmark judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, guardian of the Convention, have helped to significantly strengthen the rule of law and democracy across the European continent,” Minister Nalbandian said.
The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) (formally the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms) is an international treaty to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms in Europe. Drafted in 1950 by the then newly formed Council of Europe, the convention entered into force on September 3, 1953. All Council of Europe member states are party to the Convention and new members are expected to ratify the convention at the earliest opportunity.
The Convention was drafted by the Council of Europe after World War II in response to a call issued by Europeans from all walks of life who had gathered at the Hague Congress. Over 100 parliamentarians from the twelve member states of the Council of Europe gathered in Strasbourg in the summer of 1949 for the first ever meeting of the Council's Consultative Assembly to draft a "charter of human rights" and to establish a court to enforce it. British MP and lawyer Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe, the Chair of the Assembly's Committee on Legal and Administrative Questions, was one of its leading members and guided the drafting of the Convention. As a prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials, he had seen first-hand how international justice could be effectively applied. With his help, the French former minister and Resistance fighter Pierre-Henri Teitgen submitted a report to the Assembly proposing a list of rights to be protected, selecting a number from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights just agreed to in New York, and defining how the enforcing judicial mechanism might operate. After extensive debates, the Assembly sent its final proposal to the Council's Committee of Ministers, which convened a group of experts to draft the Convention itself.
“As Pierre-Henri Teitgen, one of the founding fathers of the European Convention, pointed out more than sixty years ago, democracies do not go bad in one day; nor can rule of law be put in place overnight. The promotion of human rights is an ongoing process and it is our common responsibility to ensure that the European Convention remains the effective constitutional instrument of European public order that it has become over the years. That is why the Armenian Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe highly values the recent adoption of Protocols No. 15 and 16 to the Convention, which reinforce the ability of the Court to deal with incoming cases and strengthen application of the Convention at national level. No less than 22 member States have signed Protocol No. 15 since its opening for signature at the end of June. The opening for signature of Protocol No. 16 on October 2 will be another important step,” the Armenian Minister said, adding that the CoE Committee of Ministers will continue to do its utmost to ensure that the rights enshrined in the Convention are respected and protected across Europe.