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
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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Justice
2012
Europe

Abu Hamza and others can be extradited to the US

Related European Convention Articles

Abu Hamza and four others, wanted for terrorist activities in the US, can be deported regardless of their argument that doing so would mean they would likely receive extremely long sentences in "super-max" prisons which could amount to inhuman and degrading treatment.

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Justice
2013
UK

European Union law doesn’t give prisoners the right to vote

Related European Convention Articles

Two prisoners claimed that not having a right to vote was in conflict with their rights under European Union law (which is separate from European Convention law). The UK Supreme Court disagreed.

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Speech & Protest
2002
UK

Freedom of expression can be restricted for the sake of national security

Related European Convention Articles

A former intelligence officer was prosecuted for leaking secret documents to the press. He argued that the disclosure was in the public interest. However, the court decided that freedom of expression can be restricted on the grounds of national security.

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TOP 50
50 Cases
2001
UK

We’ve a right to private legal correspondence, even in jail

Related European Convention Articles

Prisoners have a right to private correspondence with their lawyers. Prison officers were reading prisoners' letters before them and without them being present. This breached their human right to privacy.

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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

    Related links

    TOP 50
    50 Cases
    2008
    UK

    The State must do all it can to protect potential suicide victims

    Related European Convention Articles

    A woman's mother died whilst detained as a mental health patient. The court confirmed that human rights mean there is a positive duty on health authorities to take reasonable measures to prevent mental health patients from committing suicide.

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    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.

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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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    Equality
    2004
    Europe

    Gypsies have same right to keep their homes as caravan owners

    Related European Convention Articles

    The Council wanted to evict a gypsy family because of anti-social behaviour. The family won its case and were allowed to stay. The government changed the law shortly afterwards to protect gypsies from eviction.

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    Health
    2009
    Europe

    Prison medical officers can’t interfere in private correspondence

    Related European Convention Articles

    The applicant served his prison sentence after suffering a brain haemorrhage and was required to attend hospital for every six months. He complained that the prison medical officer read his medical correspondence. The Court agreed this was an unjust interference with his right to correspondence.

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    Health
    2002
    Europe

    Birth parents must be treated sensitively in emergency care proceedings

    Related European Convention Articles

    A baby was taken away from her birth mother at birth and placed with foster carers. The birth parents were not legally represented when the plan for adoption was approved. They won their case and were awarded damages.

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      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.

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        Disability
        2015
        UK

        A disabled person can’t be evicted if it’s discriminatory

        Related European Convention Articles

        A disabled man facing eviction said he was being discriminated against by his landlord. The Supreme Court said that judges have to consider discrimination eviction cases carefully and in detail.

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          Disability
          2003
          Europe

          People with mental illness must be able to challenge their detention

          Related European Convention Articles

          A detained man with an untreatable mental illness was refused discharge. His right to challenge the lawfulness of his detention was breached by delayed review and making him prove he should no longer be detained.

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            Family
            2009
            Europe

            Strong family ties can prevent deportation

            Related European Convention Articles

            Mr Omojudi had lived in the UK for over twenty years. He had committed offences while in the UK. He had 3 children and 1 grandchild, all in the UK. The government wanted to deport him. He won his case to stay.

            TOP 50
            50 Cases
            1772
            UK

            Slavery is odious

            Related European Convention Articles

            A slave escaped then was imprisoned by his "master" on a ship bound for Jamaica, where he would be sold. Lord Mansfield ordered his release and said there was no support for slavery in English law: "The state of slavery...is so odious, that nothing can be suffered to support it". A key moment for the abolition movement.

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            Children
            2015
            UK

            Disabled children still entitled to benefits in hospital

            Related European Convention Articles

            A child’s disability benefit was taken away because he was in hospital for more than 84 days. This was discrimination and took no account of the fact that his family actually incurred additional costs while caring for him in hospital.

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              TOP 50
              50 Cases
              1996
              Europe

              Journalists’ sources must be protected

              Related European Convention Articles

              A journalist was convicted of contempt of court for refusing to reveal a whistle-blowing source for a story. It was unfair to punish journalists for doing their job to protect commercial interests. After the judgment, the law was changed to better protect responsible investigative journalism.

              Related links

                TOP 50
                50 Cases
                2010
                UK

                Gay and lesbian people can’t be returned to persecution

                Related European Convention Articles

                Under the United Nations Refugee Convention, social groups that have a well-founded fear of persecution are refugees. In this case, the Supreme Court said gays and lesbians could not be expected to live closeted lives in places they are persecuted.

                Related links

                Speech & Protest
                1998
                Europe

                Restrictions on election campaigning must be proportionate

                Related European Convention Articles

                An anti-abortion campaigner distributed 25,000 campaign leaflets shortly before the 1992 election. She was prosecuted for breaching the spending cap on campaign publications. The court decided that the spending cap was so disproportionate that it violated her right to freedom of expression.

                Related links

                  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.

                  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
                  Speech & Protest
                  1979
                  Europe

                  Newspapers have freedom to report legal cases if in the public interest

                  Related European Convention Articles

                  During a legal case about the Thalidomide disaster, the High Court stopped a newspaper from publishing articles in support of the victims. This violated their right to freedom of expression. The significant public interest in the matter outweighed the need to uphold an injunction.

                  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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