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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TOP 50
50 Cases
2014
UK

Police must investigate rape claims

Related European Convention Articles

Two women complained to the police about sexual assault by a taxi driver. He was not brought to justice. It turned out he had raped and/or assaulted 100 women. The women won their claim that they suffered degrading treatment because the police failed to act.

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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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    TOP 50
    Equality
    2005
    UK

    Racial discrimination is unacceptable at all stages of immigration process

    Related European Convention Articles

    British immigration officers at Prague Airport were told to make it more difficult for Roma people to enter. The court said that racial discrimination at any point in the asylum process is not permitted, and no race of people is excluded from the right to asylum.

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    Rights at Work
    2014
    UK

    Unfair treatment can’t continue once you’ve left your job

    Related European Convention Articles

    A person was given a bad reference by his past employer. He said that it was because he had complained of age discrimination. He won his case - even though he had left his job he should not have been treated unfairly

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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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    Disability
    2004
    UK

    Disabled people are treated equally at work (even if it needs more effort from employers)

    Related European Convention Articles

    A woman became virtually unable to walk and was dismissed from her job for incapacity. The court said reasonable adjustments must be made to cater for disabled people, even if that means treating the disabled person more favourably than a non-disabled person.

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      Rights at Work
      2010
      UK

      Soldiers’ right to life is protected while serving abroad

      Related European Convention Articles

      A soldier died from excessive heat having complained many times. The Ministry of Defence tried to get the complaint struck out. The court said soldiers' right to life was protected even when serving abroad.

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      TOP 50
      50 Cases
      2014
      UK

      Mentally incapacitated people have right to freedom

      Related European Convention Articles

      The living arrangements of three mentally incapacitated people were a breach of their right to liberty. "A gilded cage is still a cage", said the Supreme Court. Mentally incapacitated people had the same rights as everyone else

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      Health
      2010
      Europe

      Women at risk of health problems must have access to information about abortion

      Related European Convention Articles

      A woman was in remission from cancer. She became pregnant and believed this could provoke a relapse. She couldn't find out from authorities or the courts whether she could have a legal abortion. She won her case. It was too unclear whether she could have a legal abortion or not.

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        Privacy
        2000
        UK

        The right to privacy is recognised by UK law

        Related European Convention Articles

        Since October 2000, when the Human Rights Act entered into force in the United Kingdom, people in the UK have acquired the right to privacy. This was not explicitly protected under UK law pre-2000.

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        Health
        2003
        Europe

        Governments must look after ill people in prison

        Related European Convention Articles

        A heroin addict died in prison, having suffered severe withdrawal symptoms. Her children complained of inhuman and degrading treatment. The Court agreed and held states to be under a duty to ensure detainees were held in conditions compatible with human dignity.

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        Justice
        2015
        UK

        Victims of domestic violence are entitled to police protection

        Related European Convention Articles

        A woman's family claimed against the police because they had not responded to her calls for help when threatened by her extremely violent and threatening ex-boyfriend. He killed her. They won their case.

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        TOP 50
        50 Cases
        2011
        Europe

        Even the Army can’t imprison without charge forever

        Related European Convention Articles

        Mr Al-Jedda was suspected of terrorism. He was detained by British forces in Iraq for over three years without charge or trial. This breached his human rights, even though it happened abroad.

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        Victims of Crime
        2001
        Europe

        The state must protect children abused by their parents

        Related European Convention Articles

        Four children in one family were subjected to severe abuse and neglect for five years but were not put on the at risk register by the social services until their mother insisted. The children were awarded damages.

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        Equality
        2002
        Europe

        Transgender people have equal rights, including to marry

        Related European Convention Articles

        Christine Goodwin complained she was not entitled to the same employment, social security and pension rights as those born female. The European Court said that was discrimination. Shortly afterwards, the UK introduced a system which allowed transsexual people to be legally recognised in their new gender.

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        Equality
        2008
        Europe

        A local authority can’t refuse gay adoption applications

        Related European Convention Articles

        A lesbian applied to adopt the child of her long-term partner and was refused. The European Court of Human Rights said that was discrimination. She won her case.

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        Religion & Belief
        2011
        Europe

        A person can conscientiously object to military service

        Related European Convention Articles

        A Jehovah's witness was convicted for refusing to serve in the Amenian army. He successfully argued his right to conscientious objection based on his deeply held religious beliefs. He was awarded 20,000 euros in compensation.

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        Equality
        2013
        UK

        You can’t refuse a couple a double bed because they’re gay

        Related European Convention Articles

        Christian bed and breakfast hotel owners refused a double-bedded room to a same sex couple becasue they weren't married. Gay people couldn't get married. The Supreme Court said this was discrimination.

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        TOP 50
        Equality
        1981
        Europe

        Being gay is not a crime

        Related European Convention Articles

        A Northern Irish man had been interrogated by the local police on his sexual activities - he was gay and Northern Ireland's law punished homosexuality. The European Court ruled his right to privacy had been breached. Shortly afterwards, Northern Ireland decriminalised homosexuality.

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        Speech & Protest
        1994
        Europe

        Journalists cannot be punished for disseminating statements made by others

        Related European Convention Articles

        A journalist was fined for including racist statements made by youths he interviewed for a documentary. The court decided that the journalist's conviction violated his right to freedom of expression.

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          Children
          1995
          Europe

          Parents can access info related to their child’s case

          Related European Convention Articles

          Parents of a child taken into care were not allowed to see documents referred to at a hearing to determine care provisions and access to their son. This breached their rights to a fair hearing and respect for family life.

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            Equality
            2011
            UK

            Employees can’t be treated badly because they are gay

            Related European Convention Articles

            A pub's management forced a gay employee to make the pub less welcoming to gay people, then made comments about him being gay, pushing him to resign. He won his case as he had been badly treated because of his sexuality.

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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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            Seeking Refuge
            2012
            UK

            Asylum seekers have a right to accommodation whilst awaiting decisions

            Related European Convention Articles

            This landmark ruling found that the failure of the Home Office to provide access to support for asylum seekers waiting for a decision on their further claim for asylum for a minimum of three weeks is leading to homelessness and destitution.

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              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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              What Human Rights Do For Us
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