Fundamental rights

European Union protects
the rigths of children.

Photo:European Parliament

Citizens’ rights guaranteed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights

1. Respect for human dignity

Human dignity is inviolable. Nobody may be hurt physically or mentally.

Everyone has the right to life. Nobody may be condemned to death or executed. Torture and degrading punishment are forbidden. Slavery and forced labour are forbidden. Trafficking in human beings is forbidden.

2. Freedom

Everyone has the right to be free and secure. Home, family and personal communications must be respected. Everyone has the right to marry and found a family. Personal data may be protected and kept secret. Freedom of religion, freedom of thought, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly belong to all. Everyone has the right to education, work, to run a business and own property. Refugees have the right to apply for asylum and may not be deported to a dangerous country.

3. Equality

Everyone is equal before the law. All discrimination is forbidden. Different cultures, religions and languages are respected. Men and women must be equal in all areas and must receive the same pay for the same work. Children have the right to protection and the necessary care. They have the right to express their opinions. The child’s best interest must always be considered. Old people have the right to a life of dignity and independence. People with disabilities have the right to take part in activities that help them to integrate into society and live independently.

4. Solidarity

Workers have the right to receive information and be heard by employers. Workers, employers and the organisations representing them may negotiate and make agreements. If necessary, workers have the right to strike. Everyone has the right to free labour exchange services. Employees may not be dismissed without a just reason. Every employee has the right to healthy, safe and human working conditions and terms of employment.

Maximum working hours are limited:there must be enough time for rest every day and every week. Employees receive pay for holidays as well. Child labour may not be used. Young people must have safe working conditions. Family life is protected and nobody may be dismissed because of the birth of a baby. Everyone living in the Union legally has the right to social assistance. Everyone has the right to preventive health care and medical care. Social benefits and health services are always determined by national laws. Consumer protection is provided for consumers. Efforts must be made to protect the environment.

5. Citizens’ rights

The citizens have the right to vote in the elections to the European Parliament. Union citizens may vote in municipal elections in the country they live in and stand as a candidate in local elections. Every EU citizen has the right to good, impartial and fair administration and have their affairs handled within a reasonable period of time. Everyone has the right of access to the documents of all EU institutions and agencies. Every EU citizen and all people and organisations in the member states have the right to petition the European Parliament. Also, they have the right to refer to the Ombudsman. Every EU citizen has the right to live and move freely within the territory of the EU member states. Every EU citizen is entitled to protection by the diplomatic missions or consular authorities of any member state.

6. Justice

Every EU citizen has the right to effective legal remedies and the right to be heard before an impartial court of law. Every defendant must be held innocent unless legally proven guilty. Everyone charged with a crime has the right to legal defence. No punishment may be more severe than prescribed by law. No one may be tried and punished for the same crime twice.