The European Convention on Human Rights is a unique international treaty which was signed on 4 November 1950 in Rome. It entered into force in 1953 and has been ratified by the 46 member States of the Council of Europe. The European Convention on Human Rights guarantees the fundamental civil and political rights not only of the citizens of the 46 member States, but also of all persons within their jurisdiction.

The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe promotes the territorial dimension of human rights through its statutory work – in particular when monitoring the European Charter of Local Self-Government – as well as through its co-operation and thematic activities. The Congress is convinced that local and regional authorities, whose political authorities are accountable to their citizens, play an essential role in the protection of fundamental rights. Indeed, in their functions as mayors, councillors or governors, local and regional elected representatives are responsible for local public services which are inseparable from the implementation of human rights, whether in the fields of housing, healthcare, education, social assistance, security and public order or town planning.

The European Court of Human Rights – an institution of the Council of Europe – has jurisdiction to rule on individual or state applications alleging violations of the rights set out in the European Convention on Human Rights. The European Court of Human Rights has dealt with various applications concerning local and regional authorities.

The following list of Court cases is based on a  report prepared by the Research and Library Division (in English only), under the supervision of the Department of the Jurisconsult, and does not bind the Court. The present version has been updated up to and including 20 December 2021.

Lack of locus standi of local/regional authorities

Local/regional government and electoral rights under Article 3 of Protocol No. 1, Article 10 of the Convention and Article 1 of Protocol No. 12

Right of municipal civil servants to form trade unions, bargain collectively and join a political party

Examples of recent cases where a violation (or alleged violation) of the convention originated in the acts of a local or regional authority

Other interesting cases regarding local authorities

The applications concerning local and regional authorities received by the Court refer to the following articles of the European Convention on Human Rights:

  • Right to life (Article 2)

  • Prohibition of torture (Article 3)

  • Prohibition of slavery and forced labour (Article 4)

  • Right to liberty and security (Article 5)

  • Right to a fair trial (Article 6)

  • Right to respect for private and family life (Article 8)

  • Freedom of thought, conscience and religion (Article 9)

  • Freedom of expression (Article 10)

  • Freedom of assembly and association (Article 11)

  • Right to an effective remedy (Article 13)

  • Protection of property (Article 1 Protocole n°1)

  • Right to free elections (Article 3 Protocole n°1)

  • Freedom of movement (Article 2 Protocole n°4)

  • General prohibition of discrimination (Article 1 Protocole n°12)

SDG 16 aims to ensure the respect of human rights and access to justice for all, in order to build just, peaceful and inclusive societies.

The links between human rights and environmental protection are evidenced by several decisions of the European Court of Human Rights. Addressing the environmental challenge is one of the priorities of the Congress, in line with SDG 13.