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
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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Equality
1995
Europe

Rape is accepted as essentially debasing

Related European Convention Articles

A man appealed against his conviction of raping his wife, arguing that rape in marriage wasn't a crime at the time. The European Court rejected this, and said attitudes to rape were travelling in a clear direction that was defined and foreseeable.

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TOP 50
50 Cases
1976
Europe

Offensive ideas need to be protected too

Related European Convention Articles

Mr Handyside was prosecuted for publishing "The Little Red Book", which encouraged children to rebel against social norms. The European Court supported the prosecution as protecting public morals but famously emphasised that free speech also applied to offensive ideas.

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    Children
    2003
    Europe

    Four children were protected from their mum’s partner

    Related European Convention Articles

    Children were sexually and physically abused by their mother's partner. Social services failed to discover the problem and prevent abuse. A judge decided they had been treated inhumanely and their right to private/family life was breached. They were entitled to compensation.

    Related links

      Disability
      2014
      UK

      Closing adult day care centres without consultation is wrong

      Related European Convention Articles

      A disabled adult challenged the closure of an adult day care centre. The failure to consult users and relatives before the council decided to close it had been unlawful.

      Related links

      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.

      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

      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.

      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.

      Related links

      Disability
      2004
      UK

      Disabled people are treated equally at work (even if it needs more effort from employers)

      Related European Convention Articles

      A woman became virtually unable to walk and was dismissed from her job for incapacity. The court said reasonable adjustments must be made to cater for disabled people, even if that means treating the disabled person more favourably than a non-disabled person.

      Related links

        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.

        Related links

        Children
        1989
        Europe

        Care leavers can access their child care records

        Related European Convention Articles

        A care leaver wanted access to care records to establish whether he had grounds to complain of ill-treatment whilst in care. He was not permitted to see the entire file. This breached his right to respect for private life.

        Related links

          Family
          2011
          UK

          A non-UK national can apply for a marriage visa if they are under 21

          Related European Convention Articles

          Quila and Bibi were stopped from entering the country to marry because they were under 21. They successfully challenged the law, which was meant to help prevent forced marriages.

          Related links

          TOP 50
          50 Cases
          2011
          Europe

          Even the Army can’t imprison without charge forever

          Related European Convention Articles

          Mr Al-Jedda was suspected of terrorism. He was detained by British forces in Iraq for over three years without charge or trial. This breached his human rights, even though it happened abroad.

          Related links

          Speech & Protest
          2015
          Europe

          Journalists may secretly film and record other people, if it’s in best interest of the public

          Related European Convention Articles

          Four journalists were convicted for secretly recording and broadcasting an interview with an insurance broker. The conviction violated their right to freedom of expression. There was an overriding public interest in showing the interview, which exposed misleading advice given by insurance companies.

          Related links

            Disability
            2012
            Europe

            Mrs Reynolds got compensation after her son died in psychiatric care

            Related European Convention Articles

            A mother complained that she had no access to compensation for the grief and distress caused by the untimely death of her son whilst he was in psychiatric care. She was awarded damages for violation of the right to a remedy and the right to life.

            Related links

              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

              Equality
              2012
              Europe

              Gypsy families must have stronger rights to challenge eviction

              Related European Convention Articles

              Mrs Buckland was evicted from her caravan site following anti-social behaviour by her son and non-payment of bills by herself. She complained that had not had the chance to appeal against her conviction. She won her case.

              Related links

              TOP 50
              50 Cases
              2012
              UK

              Hospitals must protect vulnerable patients at risk of suicide

              Related European Convention Articles

              A hospital should have done more to prevent the suicide of Melanie Rabone, a voluntary mental health patient. She was at an immediate risk of suicide, so the hospital had a duty to protect her right to life.

              Related links

              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.

              Related links

                Disability
                2010
                UK

                The law now protects disabled people in many areas

                Related European Convention Articles

                The Equality Act outlaws discrimination on grounds of disability, age, sex, race, religion and other characteristics, at work and when receiving services. It brought together all existing anti-discrimination law.

                Related links

                Children
                2012
                UK

                Children’s identities are usually kept secret in personal injury cases

                Related European Convention Articles

                A child was involved in a personal injury case. The child's identity was kept a secret, to ensure her compensation was protected from those who might misuse the funds. Publication would breach her right to privacy / family life.

                Related links

                Justice
                2015
                UK

                Victims of domestic violence are entitled to police protection

                Related European Convention Articles

                A woman's family claimed against the police because they had not responded to her calls for help when threatened by her extremely violent and threatening ex-boyfriend. He killed her. They won their case.

                Related links

                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.

                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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                  What Human Rights Do For Us
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