What is the rule of law and why does it matter?

Help us protect the rule of law in Europe


Human rights and the rule of law are in danger in Hungary.

The Hungarian government continues to face domestic resistance and international scrutiny for its ongoing rollback on human rights and violations of international and EU law.

Hungary and Poland are the only European Union member states to have been subjected to a special procedure at EU level (Article 7.1 of the Treaty on European Union) that has never been used before. It means the Council (fellow member states) is assessing whether these countries are at risk of seriously violating the EU’s “founding values”. These values include the rule of law and respect for human rights, human dignity and equality.   

During the last ten years, human rights and the rule of law have been getting steadily worse.  


Amnesty International has long been advocating for the protection and promotion of human rights within the EU. This includes advocating for stronger and more accountable action on human rights by the EU itself. Developments in Poland, Hungary and elsewhere have led to various efforts to strengthen the EU’s ability to stand up for as one of the founding values of the EU. Amnesty International is actively involved in these efforts so that human rights can be better respected, protected, promoted and fulfilled.

While the rule of law may feel like an abstract term and distant from our daily lives, it is an essential pillar for the values we believe in.

Plurality, equality, diversity, the respect for human dignity and a transparent and accountable state are the cornerstones of the rule of law. 

The rule of law matters in all areas of life. We present the stories of six people who work for equality, freedom of expression, judicial independence, media freedom, educational autonomy and a respect for human dignity.  Get to know their stories.

The six stories told by our six characters shed light on the importance and interconnectedness of rule of law in our everyday lives when it comes to judicial independence, freedom of expression, equality, human dignity, media freedom and the right to education.

Read their stories

Erzsébet Diós
Judicial Independence / Free Courts
Dezső Máté
Ethnic and sexual minorities under pressure
Zsolt Porcsin
Independent journalism under attack
Péter Török
Rights awareness
Kata Törley
Right to education is seriously undermined by centralization
Jutka Lakatosné
Criminalizing homelessness, punishing the poorest

Erzsébet Diós – Free Courts

Dezső Máté – Equality

Zsolt Porcsin – Free Press

Péter Török – Rights Awareness

Katalin Törley – Quality Education

Jutka Lakatosné – Human Dignity