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
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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Health
2015
UK

Councils can only detain people with mental health problems if it’s in their best interests

Related European Convention Articles

The Council removed a man from his home because they thought this in his best interests. His friends said otherwise and the Court agreed. The Council's act was an unlawful overreaction. The nonegenarian returned to live with his cat Fluffy.

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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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Health
2005
UK

A patient has the right to determine his/her best interests

Related European Convention Articles

A court said that withdrawing life-prolonging treatment without the patient's consent would constitute inhuman and degrading treatment and violate the right to life and respect for private life.

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    TOP 50
    Equality
    1999
    Europe

    Openly gay soldiers can serve in the Armed Forces

    Related European Convention Articles

    Four men were dismissed from the Royal Navy for being homosexuals. The European Court of Human Rights ruled their their right to privacy had been violated. Because of this, the Armed Forces withdrew the long-standing ban on homosexuals serving.

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    Health
    2003
    Europe

    Governments must look after ill people in prison

    Related European Convention Articles

    A heroin addict died in prison, having suffered severe withdrawal symptoms. Her children complained of inhuman and degrading treatment. The Court agreed and held states to be under a duty to ensure detainees were held in conditions compatible with human dignity.

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    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.

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      Privacy
      2014
      UK

      Private information can’t be misused by organisations

      Related European Convention Articles

      A group of UK Google users sued Google for the unlawful tracking and collection of their private information. The judge allowed the case to proceed and acknowledged that misuse of private information could result in a damages claim.

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      Equality
      2002
      Europe

      Transgender people have equal rights, including to marry

      Related European Convention Articles

      Christine Goodwin complained she was not entitled to the same employment, social security and pension rights as those born female. The European Court said that was discrimination. Shortly afterwards, the UK introduced a system which allowed transsexual people to be legally recognised in their new gender.

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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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      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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        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.

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        Rights at Work
        2011
        UK

        Workers cannot be forced to retire because of their age

        Related European Convention Articles

        The law was changed to protect those over 65 from being discriminated against by their employer and forced to retire because they were too old. Employees can now retire when they are ready to.

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        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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        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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        Religion & Belief
        2007
        UK

        Schools can restrict certain types of religious dress

        Related European Convention Articles

        A school refused to allow a student to wear a jilbab at school. The school successfully argued that in the circumstances, the restriction was lawful, and therefore did not breach the student's right to demonstrate her religious belief or stop her accessing education.

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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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        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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          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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          Justice
          1997
          Europe

          Personal phone calls in the workplace can’t be intercepted

          Related European Convention Articles

          A police officer had her personal phone calls at work intercepted by her bosses. The European Court of Human Rights found this was a breach of her right to privacy. Shortly afterwards, the UK government criminalised intercepting phonecalls on a private network (this led to the 'phone hacking' scandal).

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          Children
          2001
          Europe

          Children should be protected from abuse within the family

          Related European Convention Articles

          Children in a family suffered abuse and neglect by their mother. They were not protected properly by the social services. They won their case and were awarded damages.

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          Equality
          2013
          UK

          You can’t refuse a couple a double bed because they’re gay

          Related European Convention Articles

          Christian bed and breakfast hotel owners refused a double-bedded room to a same sex couple becasue they weren't married. Gay people couldn't get married. The Supreme Court said this was discrimination.

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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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            TOP 50
            50 Cases
            2014
            UK

            The police can’t keep you on their database for ever

            Related European Convention Articles

            Two people wanted minor crimes committed years ago (shoplifting a packet of fingernails; stealing a bike aged 11) to be removed from the national police database, as it was stopping them getting jobs. Their privacy had been breached and the law was changed.

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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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