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
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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Privacy
2013
Europe

UK may develop a law against secret filming and photography

Related European Convention Articles

The European Court of Human Rights decided that Sweden’s lack of a legal ban on secret filming and photography violated the right to privacy. The judgement may have significant consequences in the UK too: paparazzi beware!

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Rights at Work
1981
Europe

It is your choice which, if any, trade union to join

Related European Convention Articles

Three employees of British Rail were fired for not joining designated trade union which was under a closed shop agreement. They won their case as their freedom to choose to join a trade union had been infringed.

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    Privacy
    2014
    UK

    Private information can’t be misused by organisations

    Related European Convention Articles

    A group of UK Google users sued Google for the unlawful tracking and collection of their private information. The judge allowed the case to proceed and acknowledged that misuse of private information could result in a damages claim.

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    Seeking Refuge
    2000
    UK

    The state must protect women from sexual slavery

    Related European Convention Articles

    Women trafficked in Ukraine for sexual servitude could be classified as a persecuted social group, as the authorities are unable or unwilling to protect them. In this case, asylum was granted to two women.

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      TOP 50
      50 Cases
      1975
      Europe

      Prisoners must be able to contact their solicitors

      Related European Convention Articles

      A prisoner was stopped from writing a letter to his solicitor. He wanted to make make a libel claim against a prison guard. He won his case. Not being allowed to contact a solicitor was a violation of the right to fair trial.

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        TOP 50
        Speech & Protest
        2006
        UK

        Police shouldn’t have stopped war protest bus

        Related European Convention Articles

        The police stopped coach passengers from reaching the site of an anti-Iraq War demonstration. The protesters' right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly was violated. Police shouldn't have assumed they would be violent.

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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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        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
        2011
        UK

        Children abducted by a parent should generally be returned immediately

        Related European Convention Articles

        Children were abducted by their mother, without their father's knowledge, from Norway and brought to the UK. The children would be returned to Norway as, overall, it was in their best interests.

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        Rights at Work
        2002
        Europe

        Discrimination complaints must be looked into swiftly

        Related European Convention Articles

        It took 8 years to deal with a hospital employee's complaints that she had been sacked and treated unfairly because of her race. She won her case as she had been made to wait for an excessive amount of time before getting any answer to her complaints.

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          TOP 50
          50 Cases
          2014
          UK

          Assisting suicide is still a crime, but watch this space

          Related European Convention Articles

          Two profoundley disabled men wanted help in ending their lives, which would be a crime. They were unsuccessful, but the court said that the criminal offence could breach the right to respect for private life. The Human Rights Act doesn't let courts override Parliament but, unusually, they did ask Parliament to reconsider.

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          Equality
          2004
          UK

          An employer can’t refuse to employ transgender people

          Related European Convention Articles

          A person who had an operation to become a woman was refused a job as a police officer. She won her case as she had not got the job because she was a transsexual.

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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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          Privacy
          2014
          Europe

          There is a “right to be forgotten” by internet search engines

          Related European Convention Articles

          A Spanish man took Google to the Court of Justice of the European Union (not the same as the European Court of Human Rights) to have damaging search results removed. He won: the right to be forgotten is born.

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          Disability
          2015
          UK

          A family can receive damages if a council messes up care proceedings

          Related European Convention Articles

          The Council removed a 15 day old baby from its mother and put it into care. There were unnecessary delays and confusion over the plan for the baby's permanent home. It was finally placed with the mother's parents in Latvia aged 22 months.

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          Rights at Work
          1993
          Europe

          Firing an employee must not take years

          Related European Convention Articles

          The health service took 9 years to fire an employee. The employee won his case as the health service took too much time to let the employee go.

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            Justice
            2014
            UK

            Everyone deserves access to justice – that means legal aid where necessary

            Related European Convention Articles

            In this decision, the right to legal aid is discussed by the court. It is established that in some cases, in order for access to justice to be achieved, legal aid must be granted when there would be an obvious unfairness.

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              TOP 50
              50 Cases
              1995
              Europe

              The security services can’t shoot to kill without good reason

              Related European Convention Articles

              The SAS shot dead IRA members in Gibraltar. They suspected the men of planning a terrorist attack. The court criticised the planning of the attack. There were other options apart from shooting to kill.

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                Speech & Protest
                2005
                Europe

                Inciting hatred isn’t part of freedom of speech

                Related European Convention Articles

                A British National Party member displayed a poster outside his house containing an inflammatory statement about Islam. He was convicted of a criminal offence. Mr Noorwood argued this breached his free expression rights - his case failed.

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                  Disability
                  2012
                  UK

                  The police mustn’t use excessive force when restraining disabled people

                  Related European Convention Articles

                  A severely autistic man was restrained by police. The conduct of the police had violated the prohibition against torture, his rights to liberty and security, respect for his private and family life, and disability discrimination laws.

                  Related links

                  Disability
                  2009
                  UK

                  There’s protection for vulnerable adults mistreated in hospitals

                  Related European Convention Articles

                  A patient with cerebral palsy was forbidden from eating and was fed through a tube in his stomach, against his wishes. A campaign group used human rights to persuade a hospital panel to agree to his wishes.

                  Related links

                  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.

                  Related links

                  Children
                  2001
                  UK

                  Families who foster children should be paid the same as other carers

                  Related European Convention Articles

                  A family who were fostering children within the family successfully challenged the council policy to pay them less than non-family foster carers.

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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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                  We welcome suggestions and comments - please email charlotte@rightsinfo.org

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                  What Human Rights Do For Us
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