What Human Rights Do For Us

Some of the key human rights cases and developments in colourful bitesized cards. Press the coloured buttons to change the category.

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Health
2009
Europe

Prison medical officers can’t interfere in private correspondence

Related European Convention Articles

The applicant served his prison sentence after suffering a brain haemorrhage and was required to attend hospital for every six months. He complained that the prison medical officer read his medical correspondence. The Court agreed this was an unjust interference with his right to correspondence.

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Disability
2011
UK

You can’t shut a library without considering impact on disabled people

Related European Convention Articles

Individuals, including a man with a learning disability, challenged changes to councils’ library services. Equality duties had been breached by the councils’ failures to consider the potential impact on the disabled

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Family
2009
Europe

Strong family ties can prevent deportation

Related European Convention Articles

Mr Omojudi had lived in the UK for over twenty years. He had committed offences while in the UK. He had 3 children and 1 grandchild, all in the UK. The government wanted to deport him. He won his case to stay.

Children
1982
Europe

Corporal punishment in schools is not permitted

Related European Convention Articles

Two mothers challenged school policy permitting corporal punishment. One boy was suspended from school for refusing to accept the punishment. The policy breached the mothers' rights to educate their children according to their convictions and the child's right to access education.

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    Children
    2014
    UK

    Keeping children with family should be considered before adoption

    Related European Convention Articles

    A child was placed for adoption without proper consideration of whether a placement in Poland with her grandparents would have been preferable. This breached the family's right to respect for private / family life.

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    TOP 50
    50 Cases
    2002
    Europe

    Post-operative transsexuals can marry who they like

    Related European Convention Articles

    A male to female transsexual was still considered male, so couldn't marry a man. This was a violation of her right to privacy. Two years later, the Gender Recognition Act gave legal recognition to transsexuals in their acquired gender.

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    Rights at Work
    2008
    Europe

    If your work is risky to your health, you get access to information

    Related European Convention Articles

    A member of the British Army took part in mustard and nerve gas tests. Later in life he developed health problems. The Army was slow to give him his medical records. This was a breach of his right to privacy.

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    TOP 50
    50 Cases
    2012
    Europe

    Everyone has protection from torture and unfair trial, including terrorists

    Related European Convention Articles

    Abu Qatada was at risk of being prosecuted using evidence obtained by torture, contrary to his to a fair trial. He was eventually deported after Jordan amended its constitution to stop the use of torture evidence.

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    Family
    2014
    UK

    Doctors must involve families in ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ notices for patients

    Related European Convention Articles

    A 'Do Not Resuscitate' Notice was put in the Mrs Tracey's medical notes without consulting her or her family. The doctors' failure to consult breached her right to personal autonomy and to respect for private and family life.

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    TOP 50
    Equality
    1999
    Europe

    Openly gay soldiers can serve in the Armed Forces

    Related European Convention Articles

    Four men were dismissed from the Royal Navy for being homosexuals. The European Court of Human Rights ruled their their right to privacy had been violated. Because of this, the Armed Forces withdrew the long-standing ban on homosexuals serving.

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    Justice
    2012
    Europe

    The UK is not doing enough to combat domestic slavery

    Related European Convention Articles

    A Ugandan woman was forced to work, without breaks or time off, as a live-in carer for an elderly couple. She won her case as the UK had failed to provide proper protection against slavery and forced labour. The European Court criticised the fact that the UK does not have a specific law criminalising domestic slavery and human trafficking. This case led to the Modern Slavery Bill 2014-15.

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    50 Cases
    2014
    UK

    The UK could forcibly remove people from their homeland

    Related European Convention Articles

    The UK's highest court narrowly ruled the UK could forcibly remove inhabitants from the Chagos Islands so they could be used as a military base, and this decision wasn't overturned by the European Court of Human Rights. The Wikileaks scandal gave rise to more Information about the case, and another appeal was mounted, but it was again dismissed.

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    Justice
    2013
    UK

    European Union law doesn’t give prisoners the right to vote

    Related European Convention Articles

    Two prisoners claimed that not having a right to vote was in conflict with their rights under European Union law (which is separate from European Convention law). The UK Supreme Court disagreed.

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    Children
    2014
    UK

    Men suspected of grooming were banned from contacting girls

    Related European Convention Articles

    Ten men were suspected of exploiting a young woman for sex. There was not enough evidence to prosecute them. They were banned from contacting the young woman.

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    Seeking Refuge
    2011
    Europe

    Sending people back to armed conflict & chaotic violence isn’t OK

    Related European Convention Articles

    A key question in refugee cases is whether a person is at a "real risk" of inhuman treatment. In this case, Somalia was said to be a failed state meaning it was unlikely people would be sent back there.

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    Speech & Protest
    2012
    Europe

    Offensive anti-gay speech in schools isn’t acceptable

    Related European Convention Articles

    Four students were convicted for distributing homophobic leaflets in a secondary school. The court decided that their right to freedom of expression was not violated.

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    Seeking Refuge
    2010
    Europe

    If you face racial discrimination at home, you can seek refuge elsewhere

    Related European Convention Articles

    The court ruled in favour of a Bhutanese national’s claim for asylum on the grounds that his removal to Bhutan would expose him to a risk of ill-treatment due to his Nepali minority ethnicity. The court maintained that acts motivated by racial discrimination will constitute an aggravating factor.

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      TOP 50
      50 Cases
      2013
      UK

      Trafficked children are victims, not criminals

      Related European Convention Articles

      Victims of trafficking were forced into illegal work. A young boy was forced to cultivate cannabis, and a woman promised child-minding work was forced into prostitution. Their history of trafficking should have been taken into account.

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      Justice
      1996
      Europe

      Being effectively defended by a lawyer is fundamental to a fair trial

      Related European Convention Articles

      John Murray had been arrested in Ireland on suspicion of terrorism. The case was primarily about the right to remain silent, but the court used it as an opportunity to reiterate that proper access to a lawyer is a fundamental element of the right to a fair trial.

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        Equality
        2004
        Europe

        Gypsies have same right to keep their homes as caravan owners

        Related European Convention Articles

        The Council wanted to evict a gypsy family because of anti-social behaviour. The family won its case and were allowed to stay. The government changed the law shortly afterwards to protect gypsies from eviction.

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        Family
        2011
        UK

        A non-UK national can apply for a marriage visa if they are under 21

        Related European Convention Articles

        Quila and Bibi were stopped from entering the country to marry because they were under 21. They successfully challenged the law, which was meant to help prevent forced marriages.

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        Religion & Belief
        2005
        UK

        There is no corporal punishment in schools

        Related European Convention Articles

        Teachers and parents argued that based on their Christian belief, they should be able to use corporal punishment - that is, deliberately hurt children. The court decided that corporal punishment at school was not in the children's best interests.

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        Speech & Protest
        2003
        Europe

        Campaigners are not necessarily entitled to meet on private property

        Related European Convention Articles

        Campaigners were barred from distributing leaflets in a private shopping centre. This did not breach their right to freedom of expression. The campaigners did not have an automatic right to enter private property, nor were their ability to express speech destroyed.

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          Privacy
          2014
          UK

          Secret mass surveillance can be unlawful

          Related European Convention Articles

          A group of human rights organisations argued that secret mass surveillance uncovered by Edward Snowden was illegal. The Investigatory Powers Tribunal said that it had been illegal for years before the policy had recently been changed.

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          Credits for What Human Rights Do For Us

          Concept by: Adam Wagner

          Research by: Adam Wagner, Anna Dannreuther, Benson Egwuonwu, Charlotte Thomas, Corralina Lopez-Curzi, Jake Richards, Karina Weller, Katie Jukes, Michael Goldin, Natasha Holcroft-Emmess, Sam Grant, Sarah Dalzell,

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