By: Simon B
Share This Post
Human rights and protection in the UK
All UK citizens have all the rights and protection of UK law. You have some basic rights simply because you are a human being living in the UK. These rights, which affect matters of life and death and your everyday life, have been incorporated into UK law through the Human Rights Act 1998:
- The right to life
- The right not to be tortured or treated in an inhumane or degrading way
- The right not to be held a slave or forced to work
- The right to liberty and security The right to a fair trial
- The right not to be punished without going through the legal process
- The right to respect for private and family life
- Freedom of thought, conscience, and religion
- Freedom of expression
- Freedom of peaceful assembly and association
- The right to marry and to build a family
- The right not to be discriminated against
- The right to protect your property
- The right to education
- The right to free elections
- The right not to be condemned to death or executed
Human rights influence how the police deal with suspects, how the courts conduct trials, and how prisoners are treated. The Human Rights Act 1998 came into force in October 2000. Basically, this Act is the UK version of the European Convention on Human Rights, which the UK originally signed up to in 1950. However, until the Act was incorporated into UK law, you had to physically take any legal action using the protection of the Act to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, which was a long and expensive process. Now you can take a case under the Act in the UK Courts and tribunals.
The Act covers all public bodies, such as the police, courts, or local councils. If these entities violate your human rights under the Act, you can make a case against them.
The Human Rights Act gives absolute, limited, and qualified rights. You have an absolute right to life and not to be tortured or treated and punished in an inhumane and degrading way. You have the right to a fair trial, not to be detained unlawfully and to marry – but these rights are limited by the requirements set out in the Act. You have the qualified right to freedom of expression. Qualified rights have to strike a balance between your rights and everyone else’s rights. Other qualified rights include the right to a private and family life, the right to freedom of religion, the right to freedom of assembly, and the right to freedom from discrimination.
Discrimination is most likely to happen at work. However, keep in mind that some types of discrimination that are unlawful at work are not unlawful in other situations. The law is complicated. You should get advice if you think you’re being discriminated against. If you think your human rights have been breached through discrimination or in some other way, talk to your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau or Law Centre. Try to resolve the problem without going to court. If that’s not possible, you can take legal action under the Human Rights Act in a court or tribunal.