European Convention on Human Rights
Protecting our rights for generations


All 47 Council of Europe member countries have signed up to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), a treaty designed to protect people’s human rights and basic freedoms. 

More than 830 million people of all ages, and from all corners of the continent, have benefited from the convention since the 1950s. 

In this series of films, we hear from representatives of “7 generations” which European rights are important to them, and why.

Tarja Halonen

Tarja Halonen was the first female President of Finland from 2000 to 2012. In her previous capacity as Minister of Foreign Affairs she presided over the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe during the country’s first chairmanship of the organisation. In this interview she discusses the impact of the convention on her life as a mother and politician, with an emphasis on equality between men and women.

Mendel Samama

Mendel Samama is the Chief Rabbi of Strasbourg, and a leading advocate for the values embodied in Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

Jarosław Wałęsa

Jarosław Wałęsa is a former member of the European Parliament, and the son of Solidarity leader and former Polish President Lech Wałęsa. He is particularly motivated by Article 11 of the ECHR, the right to freedom of assembly and association.

Sarah Clarke

Sarah Clarke is a British lawyer, working for an organisation called “Article 19” as head of their Europe and Central Asia team, defending the right to freedom of expression and information in the region. This right is guaranteed under Article 10 of the ECHR.

Max Schrems

Max Schrems is a privacy protection activist from Austria, best known for his successful law suit against social media giant Facebook, which stood accused of transferring European data to the USA without adequate safeguards. The right to a private life, which applied to his case, is enshrined in Article 8 of the ECHR.

Zelal Pelin Doğan

Zelal Pelin Doğan is a Turkish human rights lawyer at the Media and Law Studies Association in Istanbul. She explains why Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees the right to a fair trial, is so fundamental to the health of democracy.

Emma, Daniil and Noah

Emma, Daniil and Noah, four young people from diverse countries and backgrounds, studying at the European school in Strasbourg, shared their views on what Europe means to them.