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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Religion & Belief
1996
UK

An employer cannot discriminate against an employee because of their religion

Related European Convention Articles

Muslim employees were refused time off during the holiday of Eid even though they offered to work extra hours to make up for it. The court said they were discriminated against because of their religion.

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Health
2009
Europe

Patients can get photocopies of their own medical records

Related European Convention Articles

Eight Roma women suspected they had been sterilised by medical authorities when having caesarians. They were refused permission to photocopy their medical records to assess their health status and begin litigation. They won their case.

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Health
1998
Europe

Government must be honest about pollution risks to those affected

Related European Convention Articles

The claimants lived near to a factory causing high levels of pollution but received no information on its activity, safety measures or emergency plans. They won their case. Government must inform inhabitants to enable them to decide whether to continue living there.

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Seeking Refuge
2011
Europe

No-one should endure inhuman or degrading treatment

Related European Convention Articles

The conditions faced by asylum seekers in Greece were deemed tantamount to “inhuman or degrading treatment,” and Greece and Belgium were both found to be in violation of the ECHR. The appellant’s detention and living conditions while in Greece meant that both Greece and Belgium were in violation if a deportation were to be enforced.

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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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    Children
    1987
    Europe

    Denying parents access to their children must be reviewable

    Related European Convention Articles

    Parents of children in care were denied access to their children. The parents were not informed of nor invited to the conference at which this decision was made. The judges said the authority's decision to terminate access must be reviewable by a tribunal.

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      Rights at Work
      2002
      Europe

      You can’t be sacked without knowing why

      Related European Convention Articles

      Mr Devenney was sacked. He said it was because he was a Catholic. His employer said it was because the police had said he was a threat to security. The police wouldn't reveal any more information. This breached his human right to know the case against him.

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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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        Disability
        2013
        UK

        The social care system must be fair to disabled people

        Related European Convention Articles

        Getting employment and support allowance required a questionnaire and usually a face-to-face interview. This was causing major problems for people with mental health problems. The court said the system was unlawfully discriminating against them.

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          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.

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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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            Health
            1998
            Europe

            Governments must provide information if exposing public to hazards

            Related European Convention Articles

            The applicants were members of the armed forces present at the Christmas Island nuclear tests in the 1950s. They complained the government was hiding adverse information about the tests. The court confirmed the government must allow people to get to the truth.

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              TOP 50
              50 Cases
              2012
              Europe

              Everyone has protection from torture and unfair trial, including terrorists

              Related European Convention Articles

              Abu Qatada was at risk of being prosecuted using evidence obtained by torture, contrary to his to a fair trial. He was eventually deported after Jordan amended its constitution to stop the use of torture evidence.

              Related links

              Seeking Refuge
              2008
              Europe

              Unreasonable delays in prolonging detention are unacceptable

              Related European Convention Articles

              The court states that detention or arrest of a person is only lawful in cases of non-compliance with the lawful order of a court, or in order to secure the fulfilment of any obligation prescribed by law. As the appellant fit neither of these criteria, the Court ruled that his detention had been unlawful under the terms of ECHR.

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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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              Children
              2015
              UK

              Children in custody are recognised as vulnerable

              Related European Convention Articles

              A 14-year-old's clothing was removed after her arrest. There was no breach of her right to privacy, but the court emphasised the vulnerable position of children in custody. The police produced a report on vulnerable people in custody.

              Family
              2003
              UK

              Councils must adapt to needs of disabled families

              Related European Convention Articles

              Carers refused to lift disabled daughters because they were not allowed to under the terms of their employment. The family objected to their refusal to help. The family won their case.

              Related links

                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.

                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

                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.

                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.

                  Related links

                  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.

                  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.

                  Related links

                    TOP 50
                    50 Cases
                    2014
                    UK

                    Mentally incapacitated people have right to freedom

                    Related European Convention Articles

                    The living arrangements of three mentally incapacitated people were a breach of their right to liberty. "A gilded cage is still a cage", said the Supreme Court. Mentally incapacitated people had the same rights as everyone else

                    Related links

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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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