The Impact of Institutions and Organisations on European Family Law
Edited by Jens M. Scherpe
Chapter 2: The impact of the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights on European family law
The European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR) entered into force on 4 November 1950. Following the proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948, the ECHR was drafted by the newly founded Council of Europe. The aim has been to secure ‘the universal and effective recognition and observance of the Rights therein declared’. The ECHR was also enacted to reaffirm the ‘profound belief in those fundamental freedoms which are the foundation of justice and peace in the world and are best maintained on the one hand by an effective political democracy and on the other by a common understanding and observance of the human rights upon which they depend’. The Council of Europe (not be confused with the European Council, which is an organ of the European Union) was founded in 1949 with the signing of the Treaty of London by the then ten Contracting States. The idea for such an organization can be seen in a speech of Winston Churchill, who in Zurich in 1946 called for a ‘kind of United States of Europe’ and the creation of – what he already called – a ‘Council of Europe’. The Council of Europe now has 47 Contracting States. Membership is open to any ‘European’ state.
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