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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TOP 50
50 Cases
2012
Europe

“Whole life” sentences must be reviewable

Related European Convention Articles

Three murderers argued that their life sentences with no hope of a review and reduction was inhuman. The court agreed, but found that none of the prisoners' sentences should be reduced. The case was later overturned: the UK's whole life sentences don't breach human rights

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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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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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Speech & Protest
2011
UK

Occupy protestors didn’t have the right to occupy private property

Related European Convention Articles

A group of Occupy activists occupied a building owned by a bank. The court decided that their right to freedom of expression and assembly did not permit them to take over private property. The protestors were subsequently evicted from the premises.

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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.

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Disability
2012
UK

Detaining immigrants with mental health problems can be degrading treatment

Related European Convention Articles

A man with a mental health disorder was detained in immigration removal centres for months, despite worsening mental health problems. The delay in getting him to a hospital was unlawful, and constituted degrading treatment.

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Health
2003
Europe

Residents living under flight paths must be able to challenge flight schemes

Related European Convention Articles

Residents under the Heathrow flight path argued the night flights policy violated their human rights. The Court said their privacy rights had not been violated but their rights to a remedy under UK law had been, as there was no way to challenge the policy.

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Privacy
2001
Europe

Public activities may be protected by privacy

Related European Convention Articles

The European Court of Human Rights condemned the unlawful recording of two suspected criminals at their house and at the police station and said in principle a person's activities may be part of their private life even if they take place in a public context.

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    TOP 50
    50 Cases
    2004
    UK

    No race barriers to asylum

    Related European Convention Articles

    British immigration officers at Prague airport were told to make it more difficult for Roma people to come here. 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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      Justice
      2012
      Europe

      The UK is not doing enough to combat domestic slavery

      Related European Convention Articles

      A Ugandan woman was forced to work, without breaks or time off, as a live-in carer for an elderly couple. She won her case as the UK had failed to provide proper protection against slavery and forced labour. The European Court criticised the fact that the UK does not have a specific law criminalising domestic slavery and human trafficking. This case led to the Modern Slavery Bill 2014-15.

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      Religion & Belief
      2005
      UK

      There is no corporal punishment in schools

      Related European Convention Articles

      Teachers and parents argued that based on their Christian belief, they should be able to use corporal punishment - that is, deliberately hurt children. The court decided that corporal punishment at school was not in the children's best interests.

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      Family
      2014
      Europe

      If you’re a parent in one country, you’re a parent everywhere

      Related European Convention Articles

      French courts refused to grant legal recognition of parent-child relationships which had been legally recognised in the USA. This was found to breach the child's right to respect for private life.

      Related links

      TOP 50
      Justice
      2004
      UK

      You can’t detain foreigners without charge forever

      Related European Convention Articles

      After 9/11, the government started imprisoning suspected terrorists indefinitely without a criminal charge or conviction. This breached the right to liberty. We ended this practice of detention without trial.

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      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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        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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          Privacy
          2011
          UK

          A new law of privacy is evolving, case by case

          Related European Convention Articles

          After the enactment of the Human Rights Act, the UK government blessed the development of privacy law by the Courts. A new claim for misuse of private information is being shaped by judges.

          Related links

          Children
          2011
          UK

          Children’s rights are better protected in immigration detention

          Related European Convention Articles

          Asylum seekers and their children were detained in an immigration detention centre. Their detention was found to be unlawful and breached their rights to liberty and privacy / family life.

          Related links

          Privacy
          2007
          Europe

          There is a right to privacy in the workplace

          Related European Convention Articles

          Ten years after Halford, another case of workplace privacy: the monitoring of telephone, e-mail and internet usage of a employees is unlawful and violates her right to privacy, unless it is clearly and fairly disciplined.

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          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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          TOP 50
          Speech & Protest
          1979
          Europe

          Newspapers have freedom to report legal cases if in the public interest

          Related European Convention Articles

          During a legal case about the Thalidomide disaster, the High Court stopped a newspaper from publishing articles in support of the victims. This violated their right to freedom of expression. The significant public interest in the matter outweighed the need to uphold an injunction.

          Related links

            TOP 50
            50 Cases
            2002
            Europe

            Post-operative transsexuals can marry who they like

            Related European Convention Articles

            A male to female transsexual was still considered male, so couldn't marry a man. This was a violation of her right to privacy. Two years later, the Gender Recognition Act gave legal recognition to transsexuals in their acquired gender.

            Related links

            TOP 50
            50 Cases
            1978
            Europe

            Caning a child is wrong

            Related European Convention Articles

            A boy was sentenced to be caned for assaulting another child. He had to remove his trousers and underpants then was held down and caned by policemen. This was found to be degrading punishment. The court famously said the European Convention on Human Rights was a "living instrument".

            Related links

              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.

              Related links

              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.

              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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