Citizenship Studies

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Human Rights

Welcome to my Human Rights revision cards.

I have summarized the key points from the revision sheet, and condensed them into small cards.

These will hopefully help you remember the key points.

Definition of Human Rights

Human Rights are legal, moral and political rights that should apply to every human being. They are basic freedoms.

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The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

  • After WW2, the United Nations was set up to keep peace between countries.
  • They made a list of basic human rights that aimed to lay down the minimum rights for every human.
  • It is not the law for countries to follow the UDHR, and some countries ignore it.

Examples of Human Rights

There are 30 articles that list the human rights. Here are some examples:

  • 1- Humans are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
  • 2- All humans are entitled to all of the human rights.
  • 4- Freedom from slavery.
  • 9- No shall be unfairly arrested.
  • 11- Pressumed innocent until proven guilty.
  • 19- Freedom of opinion and expression.
  • 26- Free eductaion.
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Human Rights protected by Law - The European Conve

Although the UDHR doesn't protect human rights by law, there are certain laws that do.

The European Convention of Human Rights

  • This was set up in 1953 and all countries within the EU must follow it. 
  • Most of the rights are similar to those in the UDHR. 
  • If someone in Europe feels that they aren't getting their rights, they can take their case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.

There is also something called the European Charter of Human Rights that is supposed to make it easier for people to know their rights.

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Human Rights protected by Law - British Law - The

British Law - The Human Rights Act 1998

  • To make it easier for British Citizens to claim their Human Rights, the government set up their own law to protect human rights. 
  • To avoid citizens going to France, they made it so it was British Law to have Human Rights, and Britons could go to a court in Britain to get the issue resolved.

Human Rights protected by Law - Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)

Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)

  • If someone feels they are being denied their human rights can go to these guys for advice.
  • They are particularly interested in cases with an equality issue such as age, disability, race, religion, and sexual orientation.
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Campaigning for Rights

In the past, when people have been denied human rights, people with strong values and views have fought and campaigned for their rights. Examples include:

  • Nelson Mandela campaigning for equality between racial groups.
  • Mahatma Gandhi campaigning for India to be free from British rule.
  • Martin Luther King campaigning for equal rights for black peopl in the civil rights movement in the USA.

Nelson Mandela
In South Africa, when Apartheid (a government of racial segregation) were in rule, everyone was classified into racial groups. Black People weren't allowed the same legal rights as whites. They also had to have separate services like schools which were lower quality. Mandela became a leader of a group opposing Apartheid. He organised campaigns to end them. He was arrested and put on trial for sabotage. He made a famous speech saying he was prepared to die for his cause. He was locked away for 27 years in 1964. He was a political prisoner. People all over the world campaigned for his release, and in 1990, he was, and Apartheid ended soon after. In 1994, he became President of South Africa, and everyone had equal rights.

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Protecting Human Rights in Wars

International Humanitarian Law Protects Rights in Conflicts (Wars) (Also known as the Law of Wars) These rules limit and reduce the amount of suffering in wars and also prevents innocents from being hurt. The rules aim to protect human rights of those not involved with the conflict (children, civilians, health workers, wounded etc). The law has been signed by 194 countries (Including UK). If anyone that has signed doesn't follow the rules, they will be punished (the country).
Example of these rules:

  • Weapons that create needless suffering like biological weapons are not allowed.
  • Attacks must be directed towards enemy forces.
  • A surrender-er mustn't be killed or injured.
  • Hostages mustn't be tortured. 
  • Wounded soldiers must be cared for.
  • Can't attack anyone with a Red Cross.
  • Can't abuse rights for tactical advantage.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) tries war criminals - set up in 1998.
Amnesty International is an organisation that campaigns for people's human rights, especially prisoners of conscience (prisoners because of their race or beliefs).

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Categories of Human Rights

Human Rights are categorized into its importance.

  • Absoulute Rights - These are rights that you are always entitled to and always win in conflicts (examples are right to life, protection from torture).
  • Limited Rights - These can be restricted under certain circumstances like when there is a conflict of rights or if people get put in prison, they lose their right to liberty.
  • Qualified Rights - These rights require a balance between individual rights and community rights. For example, the right to respect of family and private life, freedom of expression.

This grouping of rights is useful when there is a conflict of human rights when one person having theirs means another can't. In this situation rights have to be compromised. 
Absolute rights should never be, but sometimes limited and qualified rights have to be. 

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Conflicting of Human Rights

Sometimes, 2 rights will conflict, and they have to be compromised. Here are some examples:
Freedom of Speech VS Inciting Hatred

  • With FoS being a qualified right, it can sometimes be restricted.
  • It is illegal to use your speech to make racial abuse, as this takes away other's rights to live free of abuse and fear.

Right to Liberty VS Public Safety

  • Your right to be innocent until proven guilty is hindered if you are suspected of a dangerous crime.
  • You can be held before the case even though they haven't been proven guilty.
  • This restricts the accused' rights but can protect the community and their right for public safety.

Citizen's Rights VS National Security
The Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 allows authority to restrict possible terrorists' rights, like not allowing internet access, restricting them form places like airports etc.

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Real Life Example of Conflicting Rights

Freedom of Expression VS Right to Life

  • When Jon Venables and Robert Thompson (child killers) were released from prison, they had their names changed for their safety.
  • But a newspaper wanted to publish their new identities and locations and said they had the right to do this because of freedom of expression.
  • But a lawyer for the child killers said that this puts the boys in danger from the public, and they may even be killed. This took away their right to life.
  • The judge decided that they boys' absolute right to life was more important than the papers qualified right to freedom of expression and so banned the publication of the boys' new names and lives.
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Quick Text on Human Rights

Here is a small quiz to check what you know about Human Rights.

1. What are Human Rights?
2. Who defined Human Rights in 1948?
3. How many articles are in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?
4. Do all countries stick to the UDHR?
5. Who passed the European Convention of Human Rights in 1953?
6. Briefly describe the Human Rights Act 1998.
7. What was Nelson Mandela campaigning for in South Africa?
8. Give an example of another individual who had to fight for Human Rights.
9. What does International Humanitarian Law aim to regulate?
10. Give an example of a War Crime.
11. Who are Amnesty International and what do they campaign for?
12. Which type of Rights should never be compromised?
13. Sometimes it is neccessary to restrict someone's Human Rights to protect other people (Conflict of Rights). Give an example:
a) Freedom of Speech
b) Freedom of Safety
c) National Security 

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