European Convention on Human Rights

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The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) (formally the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms) is an international treaty to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms in Europe. Drafted in 1950 by the then newly formed Council of Europe, the convention entered into force on 3 September 1953. All Council of Europe member states are party to the Convention and new members are expected to ratify the convention at the earliest opportunity.

The Convention established the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). Any person who feels his or her rights have been violated under the Convention by a state party can take a case to the Court. Judgements finding violations are binding on the States concerned and they are obliged to execute them.

Freedom of movement

the European Convention on Human Rights extols the right to freedom of movement and the belief that "everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his own" (ECHR 1950 Protocol 4 Article 2 (2)). This is a right that is, however, qualified in the same Convention by the understanding that such freedom of movement may be restricted 'for the prevention of crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others' (ibid., Protocol 4 Article 2 (2)). Concerns raised about travelling sex offenders and their reasons for travelling have included engaging in "sexual tourism"; avoiding registration requirements; being able to offend where they are not known; and avoiding employment screening.