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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50 Cases
2014
UK

The UK could forcibly remove people from their homeland

Related European Convention Articles

The UK's highest court narrowly ruled the UK could forcibly remove inhabitants from the Chagos Islands so they could be used as a military base, and this decision wasn't overturned by the European Court of Human Rights. The Wikileaks scandal gave rise to more Information about the case, and another appeal was mounted, but it was again dismissed.

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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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    Rights at Work
    2010
    UK

    The right to strike is protected

    Related European Convention Articles

    British Airways tried to stop the members of Unite trade union from going on strike. Unite won their case as this infringed the employees right to strike.

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    TOP 50
    Equality
    1981
    Europe

    Being gay is not a crime

    Related European Convention Articles

    A Northern Irish man had been interrogated by the local police on his sexual activities - he was gay and Northern Ireland's law punished homosexuality. The European Court ruled his right to privacy had been breached. Shortly afterwards, Northern Ireland decriminalised homosexuality.

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    Victims of Crime
    2002
    Europe

    Prisoners are protected from attack by other dangerous prisoners

    Related European Convention Articles

    A mentally ill prisoner was murdered by another mentally ill prisoner. The prison conducted a private inquiry which was inadequate. The parents won their claim.

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    Disability
    2009
    UK

    The human rights of disabled people are protected by a 2009 Convention

    Related European Convention Articles

    The purpose of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.

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      Health
      2002
      Europe

      Authorities must consider carefully detention of seriously ill prisoners

      Related European Convention Articles

      The applicant's continued detention whilst his health was deteriorating breached the State's duty to protect prisoners from distress or hardship beyond that which you would normally expect in prison.

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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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      TOP 50
      50 Cases
      2013
      UK

      Trafficked children are victims, not criminals

      Related European Convention Articles

      Victims of trafficking were forced into illegal work. A young boy was forced to cultivate cannabis, and a woman promised child-minding work was forced into prostitution. Their history of trafficking should have been taken into account.

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      Disability
      2009
      UK

      There’s protection for vulnerable adults mistreated in hospitals

      Related European Convention Articles

      A patient with cerebral palsy was forbidden from eating and was fed through a tube in his stomach, against his wishes. A campaign group used human rights to persuade a hospital panel to agree to his wishes.

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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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      Seeking Refuge
      2012
      Europe

      Refugees have a right to reunite with their families

      Related European Convention Articles

      The European Court of Human Rights held that the UK Government’s refusal to allow the family reunion of a refugee and his wife under relevant immigration rules was unlawfully discriminatory against the refugee on the basis of his immigration status. Every person has the right to a private and family life.

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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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        Equality
        2004
        Europe

        Women can’t be forced to take their husband’s name

        Related European Convention Articles

        A married woman who took her husband's name wasn't allowed to continue using her maiden name in her professional life. This was judged to be an interference with her private life, and discriminatory.

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          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

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          Children
          2002
          Europe

          If child access is jeopardised, parents must have legal representation

          Related European Convention Articles

          Parents were denied legal representation at a hearing to free their child for adoption. This breached their rights to a fair hearing and respect for family life, as the importance and complexity meant they should have legal representation.

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            Family
            2001
            UK

            Female prisoners and their babies should not be automatically separated

            Related European Convention Articles

            Two women serving long prison sentences challenged the prison policy to remove their children from them at eighteen months. One won, the other lost. The prison service was told to be flexible in how it treated women with babies.

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              TOP 50
              50 Cases
              2012
              Europe

              Police can ‘kettle’ demonstrators to keep the peace

              Related European Convention Articles

              Four people were kettled (forcefully contained) in a crowd by riot police during a demonstration in Central London. The police's actions were lawful, as their purpose was to prevent an imminent breach of the peace.

              TOP 50
              50 Cases
              2006
              UK

              Police shouldn’t have stopped war protest bus

              Related European Convention Articles

              The police stopped coach passengers from reaching the site of an anti-Iraq War demonstration. The protesters' right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly was violated. Police shouldn't have assumed they would be violent.

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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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                Disability
                2001
                Europe

                A wheelchair is not an acceptable sleeping arrangement in custody

                Related European Convention Articles

                A woman had been detained by police for contempt of court. She had to sleep in her wheelchair as there weren't enough beds. The Court found that this, the dangerously cold conditions, and not being able to go to the toilet without male assistance, was degrading treatment.

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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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                  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.

                  TOP 50
                  50 Cases
                  2014
                  UK

                  Assisting suicide is still a crime, but watch this space

                  Related European Convention Articles

                  Two profoundley disabled men wanted help in ending their lives, which would be a crime. They were unsuccessful, but the court said that the criminal offence could breach the right to respect for private life. The Human Rights Act doesn't let courts override Parliament but, unusually, they did ask Parliament to reconsider.

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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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