Today, it is exactly 70 years ago that a small group of European states adopted, after relatively fast negotiations, a very special document that is now shortly known as the ECHR. In the photo, one can see the Ministers sitting together in the Palazzo Barberini in Rome for the formal meeting of adoption of the Convention. In the seven decades since, not only has Europe completely changed, so too has the number of state parties, the number of substantive rights, the exact process of supervision, the 'socialisation' of the Convention in domestic jurisdictions, and more generally the visibility of the ECHR. What has remained is the still very special idea that people should have their basic rights protected and should have an avenue to have violations redressed, if need be beyond the national level level, guarded by an international court that can issue binding judgments.
With a special meeting of the Committee of Ministers in Athens today (as Greece is currently chairing the Committee) and a number of academic and other events, including a big online conference at Leuven University, this special day is marked and shows the resilience of an ever-changing mechanism of human rights protection. Even in the light of backsliding of democracy. Even in the light over shrinking civic space. Even in the light of a quickly shifting geopolitical context, as the enduring uncertainty about the US selections also shows today. Far beyond the dozen of men sitting around that table in Rome, the Convention is now truly a living instrument, carried by countless women, men, children, stateless people, judges, lawyers, civil society organisations and countless others beyond the diplomats in 1950.
As editors of the ECHR Blog, we wish the ECHR many more years of remaining a key bulwark of protection against human rights violations. Forward we go!