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Minorities' Rights

Basic Rights and Freedoms

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The basic rights and freedoms valid in Austria were for the most part defined in the State Constitutional Laws of the Monarchy of Austria-Hungary dating from 1867, notably the State Constitutional Law of December 21, 1867 on the general rights of the citizens of the kingdoms and territories represented in the Imperial Council (the customary term for those areas of the Monarchy that did not belong to the Hungarian part of the Monarchy).

The basic rights were declared part and parcel of the Federal Constitution of 1920. Article 7 of the Federal Constitution thus states in Paragraph 1:

All citizens are equal before the law. There are no privileges of birth, gender, status, class or religion.

The legislation of the Second Republic since 1945 has always taken into account the ideas enshrined in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights of 1948.

In 1958 Austria ratified the Council of Europe's Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.


All citizens of Austria have equal access to public office.

Personal freedom is safeguarded. Only if important grounds pertain and certain formal requirements have been met may a person be arrested.

The privacy of the home is protected. Search warrants are subject to conditions as stringent as those applying to arrest.

The confidentiality of correspondence is inviolable.

Te right of free movement of persons and property within the territory of Austria is unrestricted. This also applies to emigration.

Nobody may be deprived of appearance before a judge as prescribed by law.

All persons living in Austria are entitled to form associations and to holding meetings.

Everybody in Austria has the right freely to express his or her opinion in word, writing, print or by pictorial representation, within the legally prescribed limits.

The press may neither be censored nor restricted in its freedom by concessionary pressure.

Everybody in Austria enjoys complete freedom of belief and conscience.

Academic studies and teaching are free.