Citizenship- Theme 1- Rights and Responsibilities

A summary of the first theme of the Edexcel Citizenship textbook.

  • Created by: R_Hall
  • Created on: 25-04-12 19:59

Theme 1- Rights and Responsibilities

1 of 14

Rights and responsibilties for all

  • Everyone has rights, but these rights come with obligations and responsibilities
  •  Human rights are stated in documents such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  •  Although human rights are supposed to apply to every citizen on the planet, they are not usually applied in a country unless they are written into laws and become legal rights
  •  Legal rights are built into laws of state and can be enforced in court
  •  Moral rights are based on values or conscience.
  •  Civil or political rights include freedom of speech and the right to vote
2 of 14

Freedom to.. and freedom from...

  • Freedoms come from common law or are incorporated into international statements of human rights
  •  Freedoms include freedom to religious belief, freedom from discrimination and freedom of movement
  • Young people aged 16 or 17 can get married on serve in the armed forces, so the Votes at 16 campaign says they should also have the right to vote
  • Minimum ages are set to protect individuals and society
3 of 14

Diverse UK

  • London is a multicultural, diverse city. The East End is an example of an area with many ethnic groups, poverty and wealth
  • Multiple indentities mean that different people can all identify as East Enders
  • Racist tensions arise when people are isolated and therefore ignorant
  • Push factors are when people flee their own country because of poverty or persecution- they become asylum seekers
  • Pull factors are when people go to a country because of better jobs or quality of life - they become economic migrants
4 of 14

A pick-and-mix society

  • Communities in the UK differ in terms of income, jobs, housing and ethnicity
  •  People from other countries take a citizenship test in order to become British citizens
  •  Successful integration depends on local residents not feeling threatened by new arrivals in terms of jobs or housing
  •  New and existing citizens often move between communities
  •  Life expectancy is an average that reflects the number of years a particular group could expect to live
5 of 14

Shopping around

  • Credit cards are convenient and you can get compensation if you but something like a holdiay. However, they can be expensive
  • A debit card simply transfers money from a bank account without charging interest
  • Buyers have rights to be sold safe, good quality, fit for purpose, durable and free from minor faults
  • Unsafe goods can never be sold and can lead to the prosecution of manufacturers
  • Sellers have rights too, they have the right to refuse a refund.
6 of 14

Working it out

  • Trade union membership has fallen dramatically
  • When unemployment rose in the 1980's, union membership fell, as new jobs were on short contracts
  • Nowadays, people don't join as they don't expect to be at a job for a long time
  • Some individuals can make a big difference in a firm and be key players- thats  why they match applicants against a person specification and a job description before appointing them
  • Workers are protected by laws like the Sex Discrimination Act and the Race Relations Act
  • A contract of employment gives details on pay, working hours and holidays
  • If an employee's conduct is unsuitable, the employer will give a verbal warning, then a written warning then a dismissal
7 of 14

The United Nations

  • The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in 1948 and defines human rights in detail
  • A Human Rights Council has been established to improve human rights were they are denied
  • A Commissioner is appointed to work with government leaders and puts pressure on countries to improve their record
  • The UN aims to eliminate racial discrimination, genocide, poverty and child mortality
  • The UN supports primary education, the disabled and people with HIV/ Aids, malaria and other diseases
  • The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child shows that there are problems in the UK such as high exclusion rates and low age of criminal responsibility
8 of 14


  • The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) aims to give people who live in European states a list of rights (incl. right to life, fair trial and freedom of expression)
  •  The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Strasbourg take cases from people who do not win in their own courts- they have the power to overrule national courts
  •  The European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg rules over European Law and can overrule UK law.
  • ECtHR deals with more individual cases but the ECJ still has the power to affect many people
  • Provisions expressed in general terms allow judges to interpret cases to keep decisions up to date
9 of 14

1998 Human Rights Act

  • ECHR into UK law means that UK citizens can save time and money if they have a case
  • If existing UK law conflicts with ECHR, senior judges have to consider making a "declaration of compatibility". The Government then decides whether to amend UK law
  • Some people and newspapers have criticised the Human Rights Act as it gives rights to everyone (even criminals)
  • The Human Rights Act has changed the justice system, and there is a better chance that people will receive the rights that they are entitled to
10 of 14

If we don't live up to our responsibilities

  • Rights and responsibilities are like a two-sided coin, you can’t have one without the other
  • One person exercising a right might impose a responsibility on another person, and both have to agree to this
  • Rights are never absolute or unlimited
11 of 14

A justification for identity-checking surveillance

  • The new UK Identity Card will show the photograph, name, Dob, nationality, immigration status
  • They are meant to protect against identity fraud and combat the threat of terrorism and crime
  • However, some people think that they are a bad idea as the government might lose data or they may not work as deterrents of terrorism or crime as criminals/terrorists may want people to know that they did it
  • People can be held in detention without charge in the UK for much longer periods than in any other countries
  • Many believe that the UK is a “surveillance society”, but these fears are unjustified as the monitoring keeps us safe
12 of 14

Does religion divide or unite society?

  • UK citizens have rights to religious freedom and in many parts of the UK religion leaders work together.
  • Faith groups undertake good work, but often not all faiths are included
  • Religion can cause division in society, with believers acting like rival tribes
  • Tolerance is the avoidance of discrimination between groups on grounds of faith or belief- some question whether UK citizens are sufficiently tolerant
  • In 2006, the UK passed a law that makes it illegal to “stir up” hatred against a person on grounds of religion
  • Although UK law allows citizens to practice their religion, they also have the responsibility to respect UK law
13 of 14

What happens if different "rights" conflict?

  • The rights to free expression in the UK must be understood alongside the right to privacy
  • The right of movement means that people can come from overseas to work but they often do jobs that UK citizens don't want to do
  • UK citizens have every right to fear terrorist activity which can threaten public safety but that does not allow us to deny rights to others or place them in a position of danger
14 of 14




Similar Citizenship Studies resources:

See all Citizenship Studies resources »