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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Children
1994
Europe

Children can’t be put up for adoption without parents knowing

Related European Convention Articles

Laws which allowed a child to be put up for adoption without her biological father's knowledge or consent breached his right to respect for private and family life, and meant he had been deprived of a fair hearing.

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Equality
1995
Europe

Rape is accepted as essentially debasing

Related European Convention Articles

A man appealed against his conviction of raping his wife, arguing that rape in marriage wasn't a crime at the time. The European Court rejected this, and said attitudes to rape were travelling in a clear direction that was defined and foreseeable.

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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.

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Religion & Belief
2008
UK

A student could wear a Sikh bangle in school

Related European Convention Articles

The school refused to allow the student to wear the Kara as part of her uniform. A court said that was discrimination. The Kara, a small and unobtrusive item of jewellery, was of exceptional importance to her identity and race.

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Rights at Work
2010
UK

Soldiers’ right to life is protected while serving abroad

Related European Convention Articles

A soldier died from excessive heat having complained many times. The Ministry of Defence tried to get the complaint struck out. The court said soldiers' right to life was protected even when serving abroad.

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Privacy
2014
UK

Secret mass surveillance can be unlawful

Related European Convention Articles

A group of human rights organisations argued that secret mass surveillance uncovered by Edward Snowden was illegal. The Investigatory Powers Tribunal said that it had been illegal for years before the policy had recently been changed.

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Justice
2012
UK

Sole carer mothers in prison should usually get childcare leave

Related European Convention Articles

Mothers who are sole carers of their children and are within two years of their release date should sometimes be given child care leave, allowing them to spend up to three days a week with their children. The prison authorities had been acting too inflexibly.

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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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Speech & Protest
2012
Europe

Offensive anti-gay speech in schools isn’t acceptable

Related European Convention Articles

Four students were convicted for distributing homophobic leaflets in a secondary school. The court decided that their right to freedom of expression was not violated.

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Disability
2015
UK

A family can receive damages if a council messes up care proceedings

Related European Convention Articles

The Council removed a 15 day old baby from its mother and put it into care. There were unnecessary delays and confusion over the plan for the baby's permanent home. It was finally placed with the mother's parents in Latvia aged 22 months.

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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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Justice
1990
Europe

Long-term prisoners must have their sentences regularly reviewed

Related European Convention Articles

Two prisoners with life sentences claimed that they should have the right to have their claim periodically reviewed. They won - after a certain period, the right to liberty ensures that a sentence must be periodically reviewed.

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    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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    Rights at Work
    1981
    Europe

    It is your choice which, if any, trade union to join

    Related European Convention Articles

    Three employees of British Rail were fired for not joining designated trade union which was under a closed shop agreement. They won their case as their freedom to choose to join a trade union had been infringed.

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      Victims of Crime
      2001
      Europe

      Victims of inadequate care in custody can get compensation

      Related European Convention Articles

      A man with mental health difficulties committed suicide whilst in custody. His father said the authorities had not done enough to protect his son from himself. He won his case.

      Related links

        Equality
        1985
        Europe

        Female immigrants get the same protection as male immigrants

        Related European Convention Articles

        Three women were legally resident in the UK. Their husbands, resident abroad, were not allowed to live in the UK with their wives and families. They successfully challenged the rules, which were later changed.

        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

        TOP 50
        50 Cases
        1989
        Europe

        Risk of inhuman death row conditions stopped this man’s extradition

        Related European Convention Articles

        A German man faced extradition to the US on charges of murder, an offence that potentially carries the death penalty.The risk of the inhuman conditions of death row stopped his extradition.

        Related links

          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.

          Related links

          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.

          Related links

          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.

          Related links

          Victims of Crime
          2013
          UK

          Victims of British colonial abuse are entitled to damages

          Related European Convention Articles

          Victims of horrific treatment in Kenyan detention camps run by colonial officials between 1952-1963 brought a claim against the British government. The government settled the case, apologised and paid them damages.

          Related links

          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.

          Related links

            Privacy
            2014
            Europe

            There is a “right to be forgotten” by internet search engines

            Related European Convention Articles

            A Spanish man took Google to the Court of Justice of the European Union (not the same as the European Court of Human Rights) to have damaging search results removed. He won: the right to be forgotten is born.

            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,

            Design by: Information is Beautiful Studio

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            We welcome suggestions and comments - please email charlotte@rightsinfo.org

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            What Human Rights Do For Us
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