Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms Article 3 of the ECHR

Human rights are unique in the sense that they are universal and apply to all, they are also interrelated and indivisible and affecting one bears a burden on the others. They are guaranteed by law and occur in the form of treaties, customary international law, general principles and other sources of law including national constitutions. The international human rights law is unique in the sense that it lays down obligations for governments to act or refrain from acts that will deny their citizens’ fundamental rights. The World Conference in Vienna held in 1993, resolved that states have a duty to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms, this should be done regardless of the citizens political, economic and cultural systems.2 This in effect places a legal obligation on states to secure the rights of their citizens and do everything possible to protect and promote peace within their territories. European Convention on Human Rights: The European Convention on Human Rights3 was adopted in 1950 and came into force in 1953, and is an international treaty that creates an obligation on all signatory states. The United Kingdom was one of the founding members of the convention and is also a signatory. The treaty reflects the values of civilization and democracy and was formerly known as the Convention for The Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The Universal Declaration on Human Rights4, drafted after the atrocities of the Second World War is a source of influence to the working of the ECHR. In essence the ECHR gives practical formality to certain rights and freedoms set forth by the UDHR and at the same time also gives a list of guaranteed rights that are non derogable. Non derogable rights are those that cannot be limited or taken away and include the right to life, prohibition from torture, slavery and forced labour, right to liberty and security, right to a fair trial, respect for private and family life among others.5 Following the end of the Second World War, there was a need to create a wider response in the world in terms of securing the rights of individuals. There was an increased threat in Europe due to the increased growth of communism and the solution at the time was to enforce the convention to protect Europe from communist subversion. There was therefore a need to promote and preserve the democratic regimes in the region and to secure the rights and interests of the people. The convention established the European Court of Human Rights6 where citizens of member countries would take their grievances on violations of their rights by their states. The judgements of the court are binding on all parties that are signatories to the convention and there is an implied obligation to comply and implement them fully. The ECTHR has had a hand in developing human rights through its interpretation of the various provisions contained in the statute. It has also been able to establish various protocols establishing new rights that were not anticipated at the time when the ECHR and UDHR were drafted.7 Supervisory duties of the court judgements fall under the Committee of Ministers established under Article 54 of the ECHR. In addition to this, the Secretary General has a supervisory mandate on all member states to ensure that they comply with the provisions of human rights law and most importantly apply the Convention effectively within their territories under Article 52. United Kingdom Legislation: Since the terrorist acts that affected America and the United Kingdom with the bombing of the Twin Towers and the

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