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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Seeking Refuge
2009
UK

People don’t have to go back to a place that makes them suicidal

Related European Convention Articles

Inhuman treatment is unconditionally prohibited by article 3 of the ECHR, and in this case it was found that a risk of suicide upon deportation can be included within this definition. The appellants were Tamil Sri Lankans, brother and sister, who had been tortured by government security forces leading them to both suffer from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Their asylum claims made on a humanitarian basis were rejected, but it was found that a return to Sri Lanka could lead to a strengthening of suicidal thoughts. Preventing their deportation through the ECHR can be seen as a success in protecting the rights of asylum seekers suffering from mental illnesses.

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Rights at Work
2008
Europe

Employers must be fair to people who care for disabled people

Related European Convention Articles

An employee with a disabled child felt forced to resign after being refused a flexible working hours arrangement which she needed to care for her disabled son. She had been discriminated against.

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Health
2002
Europe

Birth parents must be treated sensitively in emergency care proceedings

Related European Convention Articles

A baby was taken away from her birth mother at birth and placed with foster carers. The birth parents were not legally represented when the plan for adoption was approved. They won their case and were awarded damages.

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    Health
    2015
    UK

    DNA collected for criminal investigation can’t be used for unrelated purposes

    Related European Convention Articles

    DNA had been lawfully collected from X's house during the investigation of a murder for which X was later convicted. A local authority wanted to use the DNA to resolve a paternity claim. A court found that was a breach of X's right to privacy.

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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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      Disability
      1975
      UK

      Sterilisation is considered the deprivation of a basic human right

      Related European Convention Articles

      This case was about the wardship of an 11 year old girl with mental health problems. The court said sterilisation was the deprivation of a basic human right and it would, if for non-therapeutic reasons without consent, be a violation of that right.

      Speech & Protest
      1998
      Europe

      Restrictions on election campaigning must be proportionate

      Related European Convention Articles

      An anti-abortion campaigner distributed 25,000 campaign leaflets shortly before the 1992 election. She was prosecuted for breaching the spending cap on campaign publications. The court decided that the spending cap was so disproportionate that it violated her right to freedom of expression.

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        Family
        2006
        Europe

        Both parents must consent to the use of sperm in IVF treatment

        Related European Convention Articles

        A woman and her husband separated after they had agreed to fertilise her eggs. The embryos were frozen and stored. She wanted to proceed with the pregnancy, he did not. She lost her case.

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          Health
          2004
          Europe

          Medical staff can’t ignore parents’ objections to treatment of their children

          Related European Convention Articles

          A mother had fought doctors' decisions to give diamorphine to her critically ill disabled son as it could speed up his death. The Court said the approach of the doctors breached the mother and sons' right to family and private life.

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          Seeking Refuge
          2004
          UK

          Asylum seekers have a right to preserve their mental stability

          Related European Convention Articles

          The ECHR gives people the right to a private and family life. In this case, it was shown that mental health can be considered a component of this right. Razgar was an Iraqi asylum seeker who was to be deported to be Germany. It was shown that the effects of deportation would be seriously harmful to his mental health. Consequently, Razgar was allowed to stay in the UK, relying on right to the preservation of his mental stability.

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            TOP 50
            50 Cases
            2002
            Europe

            Criminalising assisted suicide doesn’t breach human rights

            Related European Convention Articles

            A woman with motor neurone disease said the ban on assisted suicide breached her human rights.The Court didn't doubt the firmness of her belief, but the state must protect right to life. There was risk of abuse in the system if assisted suicide was legalised.

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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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              Children
              2006
              UK

              Abducted children’s views on staying in the UK matter

              Related European Convention Articles

              A Romanian mother brought her child to the UK. His father objected. The removal was not unlawful and the child wanted to stay in the UK. The child's views were taken into account and he was permitted to stay.

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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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                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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                Children
                2007
                Europe

                Children of all races must have equal access to education

                Related European Convention Articles

                Disproportionate numbers of Roma children were placed in special schools. This breached their right to access to primary education and their right not to be discriminated against on racial grounds.

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                  Victims of Crime
                  2002
                  Europe

                  Inquiries into state deaths should usually be in public

                  Related European Convention Articles

                  A mentally ill prisoner was murdered by another mentally ill prisoner. The government conducted a private inquiry. The parents successfully argued it should have been public.

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                  Family
                  2002
                  UK

                  You can get information about an anonomous donor parent

                  Related European Convention Articles

                  Two adults successfully challenged the law that prevented them from knowing the identities of the birth parent who had anonymously donated the sperm used to conceive their birth.

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                    Family
                    2008
                    UK

                    Children and mums must be kept together when fleeing domestic violence

                    Related European Convention Articles

                    Mother and children were fleeing domestic violence and ended up in London. Social workers said they were intentionally homeless and would take children into care. Right to a family life used to keep family together.

                    Speech & Protest
                    1996
                    Europe

                    Gratuitously offensive imagery is not protected by free speech

                    Related European Convention Articles

                    A film which involved erotic scenes between Jesus Christ and a nun was banned for breaking the law on blasphemy. This was a lawful restriction. The right to freedom of expression did not apply to gratuitously offensive material concerning religious figures.

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                      Children
                      2012
                      UK

                      Removing the governmental task force set up to protect children was unlawful

                      Related European Convention Articles

                      The Government failed to set up the Child Poverty Commission, as required by Parliament, to advise on the preparation of child poverty strategy. This was unlawful.

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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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                      Privacy
                      2010
                      UK

                      Police can be sued for revealing a person’s private sex life

                      Related European Convention Articles

                      A man sued the police for making damaging revelations on his sex-life without proper cause. He won his case, as his right to privacy had been breached.

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                        Equality
                        1997
                        Europe

                        Female-to-male transsexuals can be treated as the father of their child

                        Related European Convention Articles

                        A transsexual was entitled to be treated as the father of his child, even though he could not be registered as the father on the child's birth certificate. The law has now changed and this would be possible.

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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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                          What Human Rights Do For Us
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