What Human Rights Do For Us - RightsInfo

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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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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TOP 50
50 Cases
2004
UK

The supermodel’s privacy was breached by a tabloid rehab scoop

Related European Convention Articles

Naomi Campbell complained about photos taken of her leaving a rehab clinic and published in the Daily Mirror. The UK's highest court found Campbell's right to privacy outweighed that of the press to run the photos.

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Seeking Refuge
2014
UK

Asylum seekers are protected from homelesness and destitution

Related European Convention Articles

EM was an Eritrean man who experienced persecution in his home country for being a Christian, and moved to Italy, only to find himself homeless and destitute. He sought asylum in the UK, and resisted deportation. The court found if it could be established similar conditions would be present if he were deported to Italy, this would be contrary to his right not to be subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment.

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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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Seeking Refuge
1999
UK

Oppressed and persecuted women can seek safety

Related European Convention Articles

A vital step in ensuring the rights of female asylum seekers. Two women faced the risk of criminal proceedings for sexual immorality if they were forced to return to Pakistan. The court said the women were part of a persecuted group and should be granted asylum.

TOP 50
50 Cases
2008
UK

The State must do all it can to protect potential suicide victims

Related European Convention Articles

A woman's mother died whilst detained as a mental health patient. The court confirmed that human rights mean there is a positive duty on health authorities to take reasonable measures to prevent mental health patients from committing suicide.

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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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Equality
2000
Europe

Juries must not discriminate

Related European Convention Articles

A defendant in criminal proceedings believed members of the jury were racist as they had made racist jokes. The court agreed the trial had been unfair.

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Religion & Belief
2008
UK

A student could wear a Sikh bangle in school

Related European Convention Articles

The school refused to allow the student to wear the Kara as part of her uniform. A court said that was discrimination. The Kara, a small and unobtrusive item of jewellery, was of exceptional importance to her identity and race.

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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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    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
    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.

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      Health
      2013
      UK

      Victims of neglectful hospital treatment got justice (and compensation)

      Related European Convention Articles

      Elderly and vulnerable patients were badly mistreated in an NHS hospital. A public inquiry found there was a failure of the NHS system at every level.

      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.

      Related links

        Seeking Refuge
        2006
        UK

        FGM is recognised as torture

        Related European Convention Articles

        A woman from Sierra Leone was part of a social group at risk of female genital mutilation. If she returned, should was at risk of excruciating pain and death. As a result of this case, women at risk of FGM are far more likely to receive asylum.

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        Justice
        2013
        UK

        A criminal defendant had to take her veil off to give evidence in court

        Related European Convention Articles

        A female defendant in a criminal case did not want to take off her face veil in front of men who were not in her family. The judge ruled she must take it off to give evidence and be identified.

        Related links

        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.

        Related links

        Disability
        2012
        Europe

        The police must protect vulnerable people from unnecessary detention

        Related European Convention Articles

        A man was detained by the police for four days when he urgently needed psychiatric care. He got damages as this was an affront to human dignity and amounted to degrading treatment.

        Related links

          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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            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.

            Related links

            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.

            Related links

            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.

            Related links

              Family
              2009
              UK

              There’s a right to information about your own adoption

              Related European Convention Articles

              An adult was seeking information about his adoption in the 1950s. Both his birth parents had died. The adoption society refused to give him the information. He challenged the refusal and won his case.

              Related links

              TOP 50
              50 Cases
              1978
              Europe

              ‘Deep interrogation’ techniques are inhuman and degrading

              Related European Convention Articles

              IRA members were arrested and detained in the UK. They were subjected to "stress techniques" such as wall-standing, hooding, sleep and food deprivation. This caused physical and psychiatric suffering. The European Court said this was torture and inhuman/degrading treatment.

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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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