Main title Subheading Human Rights: Tackling social exclusion and inequality.

Main title Subheading Human Rights: Tackling social exclusion and inequality

Transcript of Main title Subheading Human Rights: Tackling social exclusion and inequality.

Main titleSubheading

Human Rights: Tackling social exclusion and inequality

About BIHR

We are an independent national charity aiming to bring human rights to life in the UK – in particular as a tool to promote social justice and tackle inequalities by:

• Raising awareness of human rights

• Building capacity to use human rights based approaches

• Influencing policy change

Aims of session

• Introduce the ideas, the law and the practice of human rights

• Explore the relationship between human rights and equality

• Identify opportunities and challenges for the Thurd Sector to use human rights


In pairs please discuss the following questions:

• Where do human rights come from?• Can your human rights be taken away?• Who in the UK is protected under HRs

legislation?• Name some human rights principles?

Origin and key features of human rights

• Modern human rights were first legally defined after WWII in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948

• Belong to everyone • Cannot be taken away – only limited or

restricted • Are basic standards below which the state must

not go, and in some cases must also protect and fulfil

• Express key principles (fairness, respect, equality, dignity, autonomy)

Core human rights principles

• Fairness – right to a fair trial • Respect – respect for family life • Equality – freedom from discrimination • Dignity – freedom from inhuman and

degrading treatment• Autonomy – respect for private life

“I was just trying to let them know how I felt

about being treated as a human being,”

Rosa Parks was the catalyst of one of the most important freedom movements not only in American history but in world history .. indeed she became the symbol and personification of our nonviolent struggle for liberation and human dignity.

A human rights – equality and discrimination

• Equality is a fundamental human right• HRBA to equality focuses on the empowerment of the

marginalised – move away from needs to rights• Beyond anti discrimination:

- Holistic approach looks at the treatment of a human being

- Protects against universally bad treatment- Protects other forms of ill treatment

• Wider coverage – beyond recognised “strands”• Framework for balancing rights

What do we mean by a Human Rights Based Approach to change?• The process by which rights are made a reality in

peoples lives• Based on premise that we all have rights (rights

holders) and for each there is corresponding duties for the state (the duty bearer)

• Key principles – putting the realisation of human rights principles and standards at the heart of policy and planning (using a human rights lens)

• Accountability, Participation, Empowerment and Non discrimination/ attention to the most vulnerable

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Human rightsThe law

Human Rights Act 1998

• Public authorities must respect Convention rights in all that they do

• A ‘super law’ (almost) – all legislation must be interpreted in a manner compatible with the Convention or a ‘declaration of incompatibility’ will be issued

• New legislation must be declared HRA compatible or explain why not

Group exercise

• Take five minutes to decide which of these rights are:

- Absolute- Not absolute

• For each right you think is not absolute, think of an example of how it should be restricted

Group exercise – Absolute or non-absolute?

• Freedom of expression

• Freedom from torture or inhuman or degrading treatment

• Right to liberty

• Right to respect for private and family life

Types of rights

• Absolute rights – can never be interfered with

• Limited rights – can be restricted in some tightly defined circumstances

• Qualified rights – the right of the individual has to be balanced against the rights of others or in the interests of the wider community

Key rights

• Article 3 - Freedom from inhuman and degrading treatment – poor conditions in institutional settings, lack of regard to dignity, neglect or abusive treatment, excessive force, being sent to a country where real risk of torture

• Article 8 - Right to family, private life, home – privacy, family life, family visits, sexual and other relationships, knowledge about information that is kept and who it is shared with, social participation in the life of the community, independent living

Article 14 – prohibition of discrimination

• Not a freestanding right – must be linked to one of the other rights in the ECHR

• Non-exhaustive list of grounds upon which discrimination is prohibited

• Not all differential treatment is discrimination – can it be objectively and reasonably justified?

Human rights in actionThe right to private life - Enabling a gay disabled

man to attend a gay pub

Freedom from discrimination - Challenging the sectioning of people who spoke little or no English without the use of an interpreter

Right to Life - Securing safe accommodation for a woman and her child at risk of harm from a violent ex partner

Freedom from inhuman and degrading treatment - Tackling the destitution of asylum seekers

Case studies

• Take a few minutes to read these short case studies

• Discuss in your group:

- What, if any, human rights issues are raised?

Your practice

With a focus on your own work discuss:

• What are the opportunities/challenges that human rights brings to the work of the Third Sector?

• Any other comments

Where do human rights begin?

‘Where, after all, do human rights begin? In small places, close to home; in the everyday world of human beings……where every man, woman, and child seeks to have equal justice and opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerned citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.’

Eleanor Roosevelt