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Delivery notes • These slides contain all the information you need to deliver this lecture. • However, you may remove some of the detail or slides to make them appropriate and engaging for your trainees, length of lecture and to suit your lecture style. • You will need to have the following videos available to play at points highlighted in the slides: – www.equalityhumanrights.com/equalrightsequalrespect/trainingvi deo Equal Rights, Equal Respect Citizenship studies Understanding human rights Objectives for session one By the end of today, you should: • Understand what human rights are. • Know where human rights have come from. • Understand the different types of human rights laws and how they work in practice. • Appreciate the relevance of human rights to young people’s lives. What are human rights? What are human rights? Play part 1 of the training video which shows experts explaining what human rights are: www.equalityhumanrights.com/equalrightsequalrespect/trainingvide o Human rights – key points • Human rights are UNIVERSAL – they belong to everybody in the world. • Human rights are INALIENABLE – they cannot be taken away from people. • Human rights are INDIVISIBLE and INTERDEPENDENT – all the different human rights are important for human beings to flourish and participate in society. Human rights – key points • Human rights are underpinned by a set of common values: – Fairness – Respect – Equality – Dignity – Autonomy (FREDA) Human rights – key points • Human rights regulate the relationship between the state (including public authorities and public bodies, like schools and the police) and the individual. • Individuals are the ‘rights bearers’. • The state is responsible for respecting, protecting and fulfilling every individuals’ human rights. Where do human rights come from? Play part 1 of the training video to show experts explaining the history of human rights: www.equalityhumanrights.com/equalrightsequalrespect/trainingvideo Different types of legal instruments International Regional Domestic United Nations Convention European Convention on Human Rights Act 1998 on the Rights of the Child Human Rights Enforced by the United Enforced by the European Enforced by courts in the Nations. Court of Human Rights, in UK. Strasbourg, France. Countries that sign up to the Anyone who thinks their Anyone who thinks their law have to submit regular rights have been breached rights have been breached reports to the UN to show can complain to the can complain to a UK court, what they are doing to European Court of Human rather than going to France! protect the rights in the Rights. UK complainants convention. must have exhausted all However, you can’t take a legal remedies before it can case to a UK court if you be taken to the European think your rights are being Court of Human Rights in denied. France. Human rights legal instruments • The UK has signed up to the following international conventions: – The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights – The United Nations (UN) Convention Against Torture – The UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women – The UN Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination – The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Human Rights Act 1998 • The UK’s Human Rights Act 1998 came into force in 2000. • This made most of the rights in the ECHR part of UK law. • The law also aimed to bring about a new culture of respect for human rights in the UK, placing human rights at the heart of public service delivery. Human Rights Act 1998 Right to life (Article 2) Freedom of expression (Article 10) Prohibition of torture (Article 3) Freedom of assembly and association Prohibition of slavery and forced (Article 11) labour (Article 4) Right to marry (Article 12) Right to liberty and security (Article Prohibition of discrimination (Article 5) 14) Right to a fair trial (Article 6) Protection of property (Article 1 of No punishment without law (Article Protocol 1) 7) Right to education (Article 2 of Right to respect for private and Protocol 1) family life (Article 8) Right to free elections (Article 3 of Freedom of thought, conscience and Protocol 1) religion (Article 9) Abolition of the death penalty (Article 1 of Protocol 6) Myth busting the laws Human rights laws stop people from taking photos in public parks. Daily Mail – August 2010 Fact: • There is nothing in human rights law that prevents someone taking photographs of flowers in a public place for their own use. • If the photographer intended to use the photographs commercially then they might need the permission of the parks owners, but that has nothing to do with human rights law - rather to do with commercial interests. • A person’s right to respect for private and family life might only apply if a photographer was intrusive in taking photographs of an individual without their consent e.g. Chasing a celebrity to get a picture of their child. Myth busting the laws Human Rights Act 1998 gives students a right to junk food. Daily Mail (Scotland) Fact: • This myth comes from the school initiative to promote healthy eating. • The news report suggested that the Human Rights Act 1998 will cause the initiative to fail, as forcing them to eat healthy food or denying them junk food is against their rights. • Schools have a legal responsibility for their pupils during school hours and this may prevent them from leaving the school premises and from purchasing their own less healthy food nearby. • The school would only be breaching human rights if they locked pupils in the school or physically forced them to eat healthy school meals. This is not the case as students have the option of bringing their own packed lunch. Myth busting the laws The Human Rights Act 1998 means that terrorists can stay in Britain. Telegraph – May, 2010 Fact: • Human rights do protect all individuals from torture, and if the Government knows that individuals may face torture or death in their own home countries, they have an obligation to not return them to their country of origin. • However, the same decision would apply regardless of whether the Human Rights Act 1998 existed, as the UK has signed up to numerous international treaties which prevent this, for example: – The European Convention on Human Rights does not allow people to be returned to situations where there is a real risk of harm as this would breach their rights, including their right to life and liberty. – The United Nations Refugee Convention does not allow refugees to be returned to any area where their life or freedom is threatened. Myth busting the laws Finger-nickin’ good. Police gave the suspected car thief a meal because of his Human Rights The Sun - 7 June 2006 Fact: • The Human Rights Act 1998 does not give any prisoner making a rooftop (or any other) protest the right to the meal of his / her choice. • The police responded to his food demands in this case as part of their negotiating strategy. Are human rights all equal? Play part 1 of the training video to show experts explaining the different types of human rights: www.equalityhumanrights.com/equalrightsequalrespect/trainingvideo Types of human rights • There are three main types of rights: 1. Absolute rights cannot be interfered with or limited in any way. Examples of absolute rights are the right not to be tortured or treated in an inhuman or degrading way and the right not to be enslaved. 2. Limited rights can be limited in specific circumstances. An example of a limited right is the right to liberty, which can be limited, for example, where someone has been convicted of a crime by a court or is being detained because of mental health problems. Balancing human rights 3. Qualified rights can be interfered with in order to protect the rights of other individuals or the public interest. The majority of rights in the Human Rights Act 1998 are qualified rights. An example of a qualified right is the right to freedom of expression. For example, if a student was inciting racial hatred, their right to expression should be restricted. Balancing human rights • In some occasions human rights need to be limited by Government or public bodies: When two people’s rights conflict and one negatively impacts on another o For example, a Muslim student asks if they can hold a debate about Islamic Fundamentalism. o If extreme views are presented during the debate, one student’s freedom of expression (Article 10, European Convention on Human Rights) could conflict with other students’ freedom of thought, conscience and religion (Article 9, European Convention on Human Rights) and there could be a risk of disorder. Balancing human rights o The school could allow the student to hold the debate but could limit their right to express their views and opinions by stating that they are not allowed to criticise homosexuality, make sexist comments or take a negative line towards other religions / beliefs. Balancing human rights When one person is negatively affecting the interests and rights of wider society (or school) – For example, student hides a knife in their bag – the student has the right to respect for private and family life (Article 8) but this right can be limited in the interests of the prevention of crime, for the protection of health or the rights and freedoms of others. – So in this instance, the student’s right would need to be limited by the school so their bag could be searched. United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) • Children are entitled to all human rights, but have their own special set called the UNCRC. • The UK Government ratified the UNCRC in 1991. • The Convention includes 54 articles, such as the right to play and the right to express their views on any matter that affects them. • Whilst the UNCRC is not part of the UK’s domestic law, every five years there is a reporting process where the Government has to say what it is doing to protect the rights in the Convention. What is the relevance of human rights to young people’s lives? Play part 1 of the training video to show an expert explaining the relevance: www.equalityhumanrights.com/equalrightsequalrespect/trainingvideo What’s the relevance to young people’s lives? • Many people think human rights are international and remote concepts. But they are connected to our everyday lives, so they should be brought close to home to have meaning for students. • Human rights help to ensure that all children have access to education, that they can express their own views and freely practice a religion of their choosing, that they are protected from harm, that they aren’t forced to work and much more. Benefiting young people’s lives Here are just a few examples of how the Human Rights Act 1998 has benefited the lives of young people: January 2010 - European Court of Human Rights says that police blanket stop and search powers, introduced under counter-terrorism legislation, are unlawful. Between 2007 and 2009, nearly 310,000 children aged 10 to 17 were stopped and searched by the police; 40% of these were Black children. July 2008 - Court of Appeal upholds the human rights of children in secure training centres (institutions where children aged 12-16 are placed in custody for serious criminal offences) by quashing restraint rules introduced by Ministers the previous summer. The rules were rushed in following the damning inquest into the death of a child following restraint. Instead of increasing child protection in secure training centres, Ministers had given staff extra restraint powers. Source: http://www.crae.org.uk/rights/hra.html Benefiting young people’s lives January 2006 - the High Court says young people can continue to receive confidential advice and treatment relating to contraception, sexual and reproductive health, because to stop this would result in more young people not seeking help, and would be a violation of their right to make decisions (in accordance with their age and maturity). May 2005 - the Court of Appeal says that three boys, aged 13, 15 and 17, can have a lawyer to represent them in a case brought by their separating parents in dispute about which parent the boys should live with. The boys argued successfully that their views should be heard in line with article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Source: http://www.crae.org.uk/rights/hra.html Who is responsible for human rights? Play part 1 of the training video to show an expert explaining who is responsible: www.equalityhumanrights.com/equalrightsequalrespect/trainingvideo Responsibility? • The responsibility for upholding human rights lies with the state. • Human rights provide minimum standards below which states cannot go. • States have a responsibility to ensure that everyone’s rights are protected and fulfilled. • It is important that individuals recognise that every other individual has human rights. • But, if someone does not allow another person to exercise their human rights, they do not forfeit their own rights. • Under human rights laws, an individual cannot take another individual or private company to court for abusing their human rights. So why are human rights still denied? • The fact that we have human rights does not mean that human rights are sometimes denied. • Sadly, human rights abuses continue to occur all over the world, including in the UK. ‘Education system failing children with special needs’ So why are human rights still denied? • To protect people’s human rights, the Government and public bodies MUST know what their responsibilities are and uphold them. • Individuals need to be aware of their rights and know how to claim them. Complex • Rights are complex in their nature, they can conflict and people may not agree with all the principles. • But, they provide a framework that can encourage young people to engage and participate in our democratic society and to discuss and debate decisions that are made by public bodies about their lives. • By discussing topical issues, it helps young people to make sense of the world around them and to develop their own values and ideas. To think about... To think about • What are the opportunities for teachers? • What are the challenges for teachers? • What methods could you use to teach human rights? Useful information Useful reading • Equal Rights, Equal Respect on the Equality and Human Rights Commission website provide lots more information, including free online training and resources: www.equalityhumanrights.com/equalrightsequalrespect
"Equality and Human Rights Commission"