Article 1 – Human dignity
Human dignity is inviolable. It must be respected and protected.
Article 1 acknowledges that human dignity is the basis for human rights and is a core value of the European Union. The principle is found in philosophical writings about the nature of humanity and being a human being.
Human dignity is an absolute right. States must both ensure it is respected and protected. This implies positive as well as negative obligations.
Human dignity equality and respect for human in themselves in itself. The it implies individual worth and autonomy. Personal integrity autonomy and freedom are an integral part of human dignity and a
Article 2 – Right to life
- Everyone has the right to life
- No one shall be condemned to the death penalty or executed.
Article 2 reflects the ECHR right to life. Therefore, the case law under the European Convention on Human Rights in relation to the right to life is relevant. That case law as set out in other articles.
The right implies positive obligations on states to protect persons from the unlawful taking of their lives. This requires the obligation to have an effective system of criminal law and procedure.
The case law on the Convention has emphasised that states must ensure that protection is assured by carrying out appropriate investigations in relation to circumstances in which people have been killed. This includes police investigations and coroners’ inquiries. Steps must be taken where people have been responsible for loss of life. States must not condone situations where lives are endangered.
The taking of life is justified only in very narrow circumstances. It is permissible only where the use of force is no more than absolutely necessary in order to give effect to a lawful arrest, prevent an escape from lawful custody action lawfully taken for the purpose of quelling a riot and insurrection. Any such action must be strictly proportionate.
The death penalty is prohibited. Extradition of persons to states which maintained the death penalty may not be permissible in some circumstances.
Article 3 – Right to integrity of the person
- Everyone has the right to respect for his or her physical and mental integrity.
- In the fields of medicine and biology, the following must be respected in particular:
(a) the free and informed consent of the person concerned, according to the procedures laid down by law;
(b) the prohibition of eugenic practices, in particular those aiming at the selection of persons;
(c) the prohibition on making the human body and its parts as such a source of financial gain;
(d) the prohibition of the reproductive cloning of human beings.
Article 3 protects a person’s physical and mental integrity. It formally recognises as a general principle of EU law, that interference with the right may consist of the infliction of injury and pain, both physical and mental.
Article 3.2 is relevant to the interpretation of EU rules on biotechnology. It reflects the Council of Europe’s Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine.
Medical treatment should be based on free and informed consent. There must be objective information and appropriate procedures.
Eugenics is strictly prohibited. The sale of human organs for commercial gain is prohibited. This includes trade in human organs for, blood, tissues and other bodily parts. Cloning is prohibited.
Inhuman & Degrading Treatment
Article 4 – Prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Article 4 prohibits torture and inhuman and degrading treatment. This reflects the wording of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The European Convention case law has evolved considerably in relation to what constitutes inhuman torture and inhuman and degrading treatment. The prohibition on torture and in inhuman and degrading treatment is absolute.
States have positive obligations to secure that persons are not subject to torture or inhuman and degrading treatment. This includes measures to stop non-state actors from infringing these rights.
Torture can be physical or mental. It can include a threat of the same.
Inhuman treatment or punishment implies a certain level of severity. This depends on the particular circumstances the manner and method of execution, the person’s age, the duration, physical and mental effects, the status and a state of health of the victims. Degrading treatment or punishment is such that it arouses in the victim, feelings of fear anguish and inferiority, capable of humiliating and debasing them.
It in the context of the extradition and asylum, The European Court on Human Rights and the European Court of Justice have evolved principles whereby extradition or deportation may not be permitted where it would lead to a breach of this right, if it is concluded in a particular case, that there is a risk that the person will be subject to the death penalty, inhuman prison conditions or asylum conditions. This is reflected in the principle of non-refoulement in asylum law.
In the context of extradition this may be circumvented were the recipient state gives individual assurances that the person extradited or removed will not be subject to particular treatment which would amount to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment.
Article 5 – Slavery / Forced Labour
- No one shall be held in slavery or servitude.
- No one shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour.
- Trafficking in human beings is prohibited
Article 5 provides that no one shall be held in slavery or servitude. No one shall be required to perform compulsory labour. Trafficking in human beings is prohibited. This reflects the guarantee in Article 4 of the European Convention on Human Rights. It is an absolute prohibition.
As with the other basic protections, it entails positive rights for the state. It must put into place and enforce laws and measures to secure against servitude, forced or compulsory labour trafficking in human beings.
The Convention on Slavery 1926 defines slavery as the status or condition of a person over whom any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership are exercised. Modern slavery refers to servitude which refers to the requirement to provide services by coercion.
There is a Forced Labour Convention which defines forces or compulsory labour as work or service which is extracted from any person under the menace of a penalty and for which the person has not offered himself voluntarily.
There is an EU directive on combating trafficking in human beings. It criminalises recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring, reception of a person by coercion, deceit or the abuse of a position of authority in order to procure their labour or for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
The exceptions in Article 4 of the European Convention on Human Rights apply. This excludes the following.
For the purpose of this Article the term ‘forced or compulsory labour’ shall not include:
- any work required to be done in the ordinary course of detention imposed according to the provisions of Article 5 of this Convention or during conditional release from such detention.
- any service of a military character or, in case of conscientious
objectors in countries where they are recognised, service exacted instead of compulsory military service.
- any service exacted in case of an emergency or calamity threatening the life or well-being of the community, or
- any work or service which forms part of normal civic obligations.