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
1999
UK

Journalists must be able to interview prisoners

Related European Convention Articles

A blanket ban on journalists publishing interviews with prisoners was a violation of fundamental rights. Journalists must be able to expose miscarriages of justice.

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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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    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.

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      Rights at Work
      1984
      UK

      An employee can’t be forced to discriminate

      Related European Convention Articles

      An employee of an amusement centre was sacked because he refused to stop young black people from coming into the centre. He won his case as his employer acted in a discriminatory way.

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      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.

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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.

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        Disability
        2011
        UK

        You can’t shut a library without considering impact on disabled people

        Related European Convention Articles

        Individuals, including a man with a learning disability, challenged changes to councils’ library services. Equality duties had been breached by the councils’ failures to consider the potential impact on the disabled

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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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        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
        2004
        Europe

        Mental health detention needs proper safeguards

        Related European Convention Articles

        A man was admitted to a psychiatric hospital. He was was there informally, so wasn't protected by legal safeguards. This meant it was difficult for his family to get him home. This violated his right to liberty. The UK government responded by plugging the gap with a new law.

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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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          Equality
          2001
          UK

          Discrimination at work due to nationality isn’t allowed

          Related European Convention Articles

          An English man working for the BBC in Scotland lost his job and was replaced with a Scottish woman. He won his case - he was discriminated against because he was English and BBC Scotland wanted a Scottish person to do the job instead.

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            Disability
            2012
            UK

            The High Court can always protect vulnerable adults when needed

            Related European Convention Articles

            A local authority wanted to protect two elderly adults. The Court of Appeal confirmed that the High Court can still interfere in cases to protect the vulnerable, even if they are also covered by mental health laws.

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            Seeking Refuge
            1997
            Europe

            AIDS sufferers can’t be deported when home country treatment is inadequate

            Related European Convention Articles

            D argued that his expulsion to St Kitts would in effect result in the termination of the medical treatment he was receiving, which would hasten his death since no similar medical treatment was available in St Kitts.

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            Seeking Refuge
            2001
            Europe

            You can escape police persecution for your beliefs

            Related European Convention Articles

            A Tanzanian national faced police beatings, attacks by solders and life-threatening prison conditions due to his activity in the political opposition. He faced a real risk of harm if deported, and was prevented from being forcibly returned.

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              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".

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                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

                  A child’s surgery happened despite mum’s objection

                  Related European Convention Articles

                  A child was prescribed chemo- and radiotherapy after brain surgery. His mother refused to consent to the treatment. A court decided that the treatment was in the child's best interests and ordered it to go ahead.

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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.

                  Children
                  2006
                  UK

                  Young people can get confidential sexual health advice

                  Related European Convention Articles

                  A mother challenged guidelines allowing doctors to give sexual health advice and treatment to under 16s without telling their parents. In this case, young people's right to private life overrode the parents' rights.

                  Related links

                  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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                    Family
                    2001
                    UK

                    Children are entitled to find out who their birth parents are

                    Related European Convention Articles

                    A father wanted to force a mother to allow testing to confirm he was the child's birth father. She did not want the tests to happen. He won his case.

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                      TOP 50
                      50 Cases
                      1984
                      Europe

                      Police need a warrant to tap our phones

                      Related European Convention Articles

                      A businessman had his phone tapped by the police without a warrant. The European Court of Human Rights said this as a violation of his right to privacy. So, the government introduced the Interception of Communications Act. A warrant is now needed for phone tapping by police and security services.

                      Related links

                      Rights at Work
                      2012
                      UK

                      Your right to join or form a Trade Union is protected

                      Related European Convention Articles

                      Boots blocked recognition of an independent pharmacist Trade Union. The independent union won their case - the right to collective bargaining through trade unions to protect the interests of employees had been breached.

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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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