September 28, 2012

Convention protocols European Convention on Human Rights

Convention protocols

As of January 2010, fifteen protocols to the Convention have been opened for signature. These can be divided into two main groups: those amending the framework of the convention system, and those expanding the rights that can be protected. The former require unanimous ratification by member states before coming into force, while the latter require a certain number of states to sign before coming into force.

Protocol 1

This Protocol contains three different rights in which the signatories could not agree to place in the Convention itself. Monaco and Switzerland have signed but never ratified Protocol 1.[22]

Article 1 - property

Article 1 provides for the right to the peaceful enjoyment of one's possessions.

Article 2 - education

Article 2 provides for the right not to be denied an education and the right for parents to have their children educated in accordance with their religious and other views. It does not however guarantee any particular level of education of any particular quality.[23]
Although phrased in the Protocol as a negative right, in Şahin v. Turkey the Court ruled that:
"it would be hard to imagine that institutions of higher education existing at a given time do not come within the scope of the first sentence of Article 2 of Protocol No 1. Although that Article does not impose a duty on the Contracting States to set up institutions of higher education, any State doing so will be under an obligation to afford an effective right of access to them. In a democratic society, the right to education, which is indispensable to the furtherance of human rights, plays such a fundamental role that a restrictive interpretation of the first sentence of Article 2 of Protocol No. 1 would not be consistent with the aim or purpose of that provision."[24]

Article 3 - elections

Article 3 provides for the right to regular, free and fair elections.

Protocol 4 - civil imprisonment, free movement, expulsion

Article 1 prohibits the imprisonment of people for breach of a contract. Article 2 provides for a right to freely move within a country once lawfully there and for a right to leave any country. Article 3 prohibits the expulsion of nationals and provides for the right of an individual to enter a country of his or her nationality. Article 4 prohibits the collective expulsion of foreigners.

Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom have signed but never ratified Protocol 4. Andorra, Greece and Switzerland have neither signed nor ratified this protocol.

The United Kingdom's failure to ratify this protocol is due to concerns over the interaction of Article 2 and Article 3 with British nationality law. Specifically, several classes of "British national" (such as British National (Overseas)) do not have the right of abode in the United Kingdom and are subject to immigration control there. In 2009, the UK government stated that it had no plans to ratify Protocol 4 because of concerns that those articles could be taken as conferring that right.[25]


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