Infographic: 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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Victims of Crime
2013
UK

Families of soldiers killed in combat can sue the government

Related European Convention Articles

Families of soldiers killed in combat in Iraq are suing the government because they believe their sons were not given adequate training or equipment. They have been allowed to pursue their claim.

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TOP 50
Equality
1981
Europe

Being gay is not a crime

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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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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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Rights at Work
2013
UK

Modern day slavery will be illegal

Related European Convention Articles

The Government plans to bring together slavery offences into one law and to create a new "Anti-slavery Commissioner" and to allow judges to put those who enslave in prison for life.

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TOP 50
50 Cases
2003
Europe

A council shouldn’t have given CCTV suicide footage to media

Related European Convention Articles

Mr Peck's suicide attempt was caught on CCTV. The local council gave the footage to the media. This was a violation of his right to privacy - things happening in public can still be private.

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    Speech & Protest
    2005
    Europe

    Excessive McDonalds libel damages breached free speech rights

    Related European Convention Articles

    Members of a campaign group were sued for libel by McDonald's. The group had to pay excessive damages to McDonald's. They successfully challenged the decision - their right to freedom of expression was violated.

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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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    TOP 50
    50 Cases
    UK
    2001

    You can’t be detained without medical proof of why

    Related European Convention Articles

    If you’re detained by the state because you are mentally ill, the reason for your detention must be regularly reviewed. It wasn't for detained mental health patients to demonstrate why they should be released - the treating clinicians should have to justify continuing detention. The law was later changed.

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      Victims of Crime
      2000
      Europe

      If someone dies in custody, the authorities must provide a satisfactory explanation

      Related European Convention Articles

      A taxi driver was arrested by police and questioned in relation to suspected terrorist activities. He was subsequently taken to hospital and died. His family sued the Turkish authorities and won.

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        TOP 50
        Children
        1994
        Europe

        Unmarried parents can be a family

        Related European Convention Articles

        The father in an unmarried couple challenged the Dutch government's refusal to recognise him as the legal father of the couple's child, unless his partner's husband denied paternity. He won his case.

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          TOP 50
          50 Cases
          2004
          UK

          Gay people are treated equally in inheritance matters

          Related European Convention Articles

          A gay man was stopped from inheriting a council flat from his dead male partner. Only a husband or wife could inherit. He challenged the law and the law had to change.

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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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              Speech & Protest
              2014
              UK

              During court proceedings, a person’s identity can be made anonymous

              Related European Convention Articles

              The BBC challenged a court's decision to withhold the identity of a convicted sex offender during deportation proceedings. The court said that the BBC's right to freedom of expression was outweighed by its duty to protect the convict from violent attack.

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                Equality
                2000
                Europe

                Consensual gay activity is legal

                Related European Convention Articles

                A man was prosecuted for gross indecency for taking part in gay group sex. The European Court of Human Rights said this was a violation of his right to privacy. The law was changed in 2003 by the Sexual Offences Act.

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                Rights at Work
                2012
                UK

                Your right to join or form a Trade Union is protected

                Related European Convention Articles

                Boots blocked recognition of an independent pharmacist Trade Union. The independent union won their case - the right to collective bargaining through trade unions to protect the interests of employees had been breached.

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                Rights at Work
                1999
                UK

                An employee cannot be made to mistreat customers because of their race

                Related European Convention Articles

                An employee of a van hire company was told by her employer to refuse to hire vans to black or Asian people. She felt she had to resign. She won her case as her employer acted in a discriminatory way.

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                  TOP 50
                  50 Cases
                  1984
                  Europe

                  Police need a warrant to tap our phones

                  Related European Convention Articles

                  A businessman had his phone tapped by the police without a warrant. The European Court of Human Rights said this as a violation of his right to privacy. So, the government introduced the Interception of Communications Act. A warrant is now needed for phone tapping by police and security services.

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                  Family
                  2001
                  UK

                  Female prisoners and their babies should not be automatically separated

                  Related European Convention Articles

                  Two women serving long prison sentences challenged the prison policy to remove their children from them at eighteen months. One won, the other lost. The prison service was told to be flexible in how it treated women with babies.

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                    Children
                    2015
                    UK

                    Disabled children still entitled to benefits in hospital

                    Related European Convention Articles

                    A child’s disability benefit was taken away because he was in hospital for more than 84 days. This was discrimination and took no account of the fact that his family actually incurred additional costs while caring for him in hospital.

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                      Health
                      2014
                      Europe

                      Medical students can’t watch women give birth without their (genuine) consent

                      Related European Convention Articles

                      The applicant's privacy rights were breached when she did not give written consent to the presence of medical students when she gave birth. Russian laws were found insufficient in this respect. The booklet on the teaching programme was vague, and made it look like the applicant had no choice in the matter.

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                      TOP 50
                      50 Cases
                      1998
                      Europe

                      The police have a duty to protect our right to life

                      Related European Convention Articles

                      A teacher stalked a pupil, and ended up killing the pupil's father. The family sued the police for failure to protect the family. The court confirmed that in certain circumstances the police could be liable for failing to protect.

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                      TOP 50
                      50 Cases
                      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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                        Disability
                        2004
                        UK

                        Disabled people must be able to access public transport too

                        Related European Convention Articles

                        A wheelchair user wanted a train company to pay for a taxi to assist his train travel. The court said as long as it was reasonably practicable, disabled people should be given equivalent access to public transport.

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                          Equality
                          1999
                          UK

                          Same-sex couples can be a family

                          Related European Convention Articles

                          A man was not allowed to inherit the council flat of his long-term male partner, who had died, because they were gay. The court said this was discrimination. He won his case.

                          Related links

                            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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                            Infographic: What Human Rights Do For Us
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