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The European System of Human Rights Research Paper


The devastation that braced the European continent from the aftermath of the World War II led to the formulation of a peace keeping and cooperation dubbed the European human rights system. It embodied the principles of the unified Europe and a representation of the vast interests in the European continent.

It was meant to have three constituent organizations: The European Council, The European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The system was then to survive the whims of the cold war and the downfall of communism to the modern day contemporary concerns of the European continent. (Moravcsik, 2000)

The objective of the system is to motivate peace and tranquility across the continent of Europe. The three different organizations were delegated with different mandates to achieve this cause. The council is the legislative and judicial arm that deals with matters of law in so far as the promotion of democracy, human rights and the obedience of the rule of law is concerned. (Janis et al 1995)

The union on the other hand was is a division that seeks to promote trade relations and ensure economic stability among its member states. It mitigates and arbitrates for and on behalf of the participant states to ensure a free flow of factors of production necessary for economic growth.

The security and cooperation organization is the watchdog of the system. It keeps afloat with the military and security concerns of the members and ensures that there is peace and stability at all times (Dijk, 1998).

The modern day system has evolved to embrace the emerging issues that have often overlapped with focus being laid on the observance of human rights which still is the mandate of the council. (Drzemczewski, 1983)

Statement of the problem

Over the years the European continent has evolved into a complex network of ideas built on the cultural and historical backgrounds of the member states. The impact of the various conflicting political, economic and social interests has left a big question mark on the role of the system in mitigating these transactions.

In recent times the union has been criticized for lack of objectivity and the display of double standards in dealing with members with democratic concerns. The Kazakh parliament for instance received a cold shoulder after they decided to hold a referendum whose object was the extension of the incumbent President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

These kinds of referendums have been held elsewhere in member states such as Uzbekistan. additionally the people of Brussels in attempts to display their dissatisfaction with the inauguration of Alexander Lukashenko as president of Belarus for a fourth term led boycotts and protests yet on the other side Islam Karimov is accepted as Uzbeks president in the face of the undeniably illegal election and history of his term since 1990.

There have been human rights concerns that have been raised by the member states. Despite the verbatim assurance by the union that they would address the all too common concerns, the union has continued to take a sided approach choosing casually assume that all would be well yet taking little action.

Down from the torture and killings of the Islam Movement of Uzbekistan leaders by the dictatorial regime in Uzbek to the Andijan killings (Human Rights Watch, 2005) that were marred with illegality the union has chosen the third party interests approach which is contrary to the unions objects and purpose.

This paper seeks to review and account for the participation role and relevance of the European system of human rights in the service and execution of the members interests amidst the above mentioned criticisms


It is common ground that there are rising concerns as to the purpose of the European system of human rights. This paper seeks to address this issue in the following aspects.

  • To relate the participation of the European human rights system with the international human rights standards.
  • To explore the relevance of the system to the concerns of the European system of human rights.
  • To illustrate the particular conflicting case law in which the unions participation has been questioned.
  • To recommend a way forward for the unions future prospect in its quest to maintain peace economic stability and ensure observance of human rights and the rule of law.


The common goal of human rights is the observance of all fundamental rights and privileges that accrue to human beings. Their violation and enforcement relies heavily on political, social and economic goodwill. The trend has shifted to the most conspicuous concerns which will form the object of the research and analysis. They include among others the following.


This in simple terms is the sensory and cognitive capacity to create clear separation and perceive lack of similarity in two or more objects. In the context of human social relations it is an explanation of derogatory prejudice between people. Europe has had its share of this vice. In France for instance there have been calls for compliance with the union’s principles and proponents against discrimination.

Being a member of the union, it has been criticized for the casual approach to the minority Roma group. There have been reports that indicate human rights violation against these minority populations in so far as deportation and restricted movement is concerned. (Kirsch, 2010).

France has inexplicably failed to transpose the provisions of the Free Movement directive of the union into national law. It therefore raises the question as to whether it is obligated to honor the guarantees and substantive procedures of the directive. The directive provides for guaranteed primary individual freedom of movement and residence in the member states subject to the restrictions and limitations of the treaty.

The regard for minority interest and participation public life is a fundamental and necessary requirement for a peaceful and democratic society. They are a key ingredient in the building of the fundamental principles and rules proposed international law in respects such as the observance of human dignity, equality and non discrimination.

These factors motivate the observance of minority rights in the public arena and therefore place an obligation on every state that claims to observe the rule of law and human rights to allow the growth of a healthy civil society of peace prosperity and tolerance.


This is a political organization that embodies creation of a consensus through participation in the election of representatives whose mandate is to exercise equal control I the matters that affect the interests of the electorate. Democracy and OTS principles takes different forms and conceptions that vary with the situation.

The democratic concerns of the European continent have made a public display in the various member states affairs such as Uzbekistan. The participation of the union in these matters is limited to the provisions of the treaty. However the exercise of the democratic right is a matter of individual interest and goodwill. This interest is influences by the environment in which the individual is subjected to.

A report in 2006 on the elections tendency indicated that there was an increase in the number of union citizens voting in their member states rather than their states of origin. This implies that there were more people registering to vote in their resident states a, a sign of increased mobility. In effect the substance of the rule of law and human rights has taken shape

Economic social and cultural rights

The basic Economic social and cultural rights principles are construed from the various international human rights bodies such as the World Health Organization, United Nations International Convention on Economic and Social Rights and the International Labor Organization.

The European system of human rights has its own provisions that safeguard these rights such as the council’s European Social Charter and the council’s Community Charter for the Fundamental Social Rifghtes of Social Rights Workers

The unfettered right to full enjoyment of human rights by all as well as participation in the making of decisions that influence or affect the availability of this enjoyment forms the sole ground on which an equitable society may be built (United Nations 1966).

Situations may vary and demand different treatments, in the same measure all participants should be assessed to allow for personalized and specific provisions that will allow equal access to the human rights.


Participation in decision-making

The demands of the 731 million people living in Europe in so far as human rights are concerned require a strict element of participation. The European system of human rights should in as far as possible offer the people an opportunity to decide their fate in aspects such as policy formulation and implementation procedures.

This can only be the case if the doctrines of the rule of law and democracy are implemented with impartiality and with objectivity. There should be a structured system of rules that provides for minimum electoral requirements and all members should be obligated to abide by these rules.

Self governance

Self governance refers to the ability of a community to control and influence matters that affect the participants of such community directly or indirectly. In specific respects the societies in Europe should have at their disposal choices from which to choose from in matters that affect their human rights as opposed to authoritarian decisions that are enforced on them (Foundation on Inter-Ethnic Relations, 1999).


The policies laws and rules should safeguard the security of the people’s basic human rights. Europe has a vast selection of documents that campaign for the enforcement of these rights. The European system of human rights has the sole mandate to ensure that these pieces of legislation are up to date and are implemented.

Further these principles should be echoed in the constitutions of the various states to allow for legal action against violation (Commission of the European Communities, 2008).The extent to which the system has fulfilled this cause is a matter of relative regard. The systems active involvement ensures that the policies are observed and keenly put to check.


The European convention of human rights since its formation after the world war has made successful attempts at establishing jurisprudence in human rights and in ensuring human right and democracy across Europe. It has grown to include the membership of growing democracies and has participated in the sustenance of peace and tranquility in the continent.

However it has had its own challenges, for instance by 2005 the number of human rights applications were 44,100. The number has risen even further to the tune of 250,000. This implies that the European system of human rights lags behind the reality on the ground and therefore needs urgent reform to ensure that it keeps the number in control (McKenzie, 2005).


Commission of the European Communities. (2008). Report on Citizenship of the Union. Brussels. Web.

Dijk, P. (1998). Theory and Practice of the European Convention on Human Rights; 3d ed. Hague: Kluwer.

Drzemczewski, A. (1983). The European Human Rights Convention in Domestic Law; A Comparative Study. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Foundation on Inter-Ethnic Relations. (1999). The Lund Recommendations. Web.

Human Rights Watch. (2005). The Andijan Massacre. Web.

Janis, W., Richard S., and Bradley A. (1995). European Human Rights Law; Text and Materials. Oxford: Clarendon Press

Kirsch, N. (2010). Web.

McKenzie, M.(2005). Review of the Working Methods of the European Court of Human Rights. Web.

Moravcsik, A. (2000). The Origins of Human Rights Regimes: Democratic Delegation in Postwar Europe. Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology pp. 217–252.

United Nations. (1966). International Covenant on Economic; Social and Cultural Rights. Web.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'The European System of Human Rights'. 9 October.

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