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70 years of the European Convention on Human Rights: the Assembly’s contribution

PACE President Rik Daems has hailed the 70th anniversary of the European Convention on Human Rights with an appeal to Council of Europe member States to “cherish, uphold and treasure” the Convention, and said the Assembly would continue to draw attention to what he called “a new generation of rights” dealing with issues such as AI or the environment.

Speaking at an event in Athens to mark the anniversary, organised by the Greek Presidency of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, the President recalled that it was the Assembly which first proposed the drafting of the Convention, at its first session in the summer of 1949.

“From the very moment the Convention opened for signature in Rome on 4 November 1950, just fifteen months after the Assembly’s recommendation, the Assembly recognised the paramount importance of this treaty,” the President said.

“[We] considered from the outset that the willingness to ratify it should become a sine qua non condition for membership for states wishing to join the Council of Europe.”

In the years since, the Assembly has worked to extend the rights included in the Convention, leading to a number of protocols, and has used its powers to press governments to implement Strasbourg Court rulings, the President pointed out.

The Assembly is marking the occasion with a series of five short video clips dealing with five key articles of the Convention, as seen from the perspective of five PACE Presidents and parliamentarians who worked on landmark PACE reports upholding these rights.

The role of the Assembly in the drafting of the Convention – seen through the historical prism of its original reports, recommendations and debates – will also feature in a series of social media posts in the coming week.