The right to life

Article 2: Everyone’s right to life shall be protected by law.

Article 1 of Protocol no. 6 – Abolition of the death penalty: No one shall be condemned to the death penalty or executed.

Article 2 protects every person’s right to life. It is one of the principal articles of the European Convention on Human Rights; without the right to life, it is not possible to exercise the other rights afforded by the Convention.

Article 2 lays down certain obligations for States:

  • the obligation for States and their agents to refrain from causing a person’s death;
  • the obligation for States to take the necessary steps to protect people’s lives. These include introducing laws and criminal sanctions as a deterrent to taking another person’s life, as well as carrying out thorough investigations into deaths.

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