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European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)

Signed in 1950 by the Council of Europe, the ECHR is an international treaty to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms in Europe. All 47 countries forming the Council of Europe are party to the Convention, 28 of which are members of the EU.

The Convention established the European Court of Human Rights, intended to protect individuals from human rights violations. Any person whose rights have been violated under the Convention by a state party may take a case to the Court. This was an innovative feature, as it gave individuals rights in an international arena. Judgments finding violations are binding on the countries concerned. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe monitors the execution of judgements.

The Convention has several protocols, which amend its framework.

The Treaty of Lisbon, in force since 1 December 2009, permits the EU to accede to the ECHR and a draft agreement for accession was finalised in 2013.