…to the website of the Going to Strasbourg oral history research project.

Strasbourg, in north eastern France, is the home of the European Court of Human Rights. Since 1966, people in the United Kingdom (and in overseas territories for whose international relations the UK is responsible) have been going to Strasbourg with complaints about violations of their human rights. These rights are guaranteed by the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (commonly known as the European Convention on Human Rights) which the UK signed in 1950 and which entered into force in 1953.

During 2015 and 2016, Paul Johnson – who is Professor of Sociology at the University of York – carried out oral history interviews with individuals who have gone to Strasbourg to make complaints against the UK about sexual orientation discrimination. These complaints against the UK, as can be seen from this list of cases, relate to a wide range of issues and demonstrate the importance of the European Convention on Human Rights to those people who have sought to challenge and eliminate sexual orientation discrimination. The aim of carrying out the oral history interviews was to gain knowledge about the motivations and aspirations of the people who made these complaints and to make their ‘stories’ widely available. Paul also interviewed some of the legal professionals and campaigners who have helped individuals in making their complaints.

A book was published by Oxford University Press in September 2016 which contains the oral history interviews of 19 applicants, legal professionals and campaigners. This unique and valuable oral history is therefore available to a wide audience for the first time.

The research was supported by funding generously provided by: