The Human Rights Act is a protective Bill of Rights. It started life at the end of the Second World War to prevent further atrocities against humanity, from happening. The Convention was drawn up by the Council of Europe to promote peace, equality and basic human rights, and it has evolved over the years. The human rights contained in British law are based within the “rights and freedoms” of the European Convention of Human Rights and these include:
The right to life, which includes protection and investigation of all suspicious deaths.
Freedom from degrading, inhuman treatment or punishment and torture, regardless of the situation.
Protection from slavery and forced labour.
The right to liberty and freedom, unless you have committed a crime and are a danger to yourself or others.
The right to a fair and public trial. Here, you are innocent until proved guilty, will receive no punishment without law and have the right to hear evidence against you.
The right to respect the privacy of private life, home life, family life, correspondence. Here, this right may protect you from stalkers, the Media, fans.
The freedom to think, worship and believe what you want without repercussions from people who do not share your views, religion or practices.
The freedom of expression – Should you wish to air your views, you should be able to freely, without repercussions.
The right to assemble and protest peacefully.
The right to marry and start a family.
The prohibition of discrimination- you have the right to enjoy the same right as everyone else, regardless of sex, gender, religion, race, sexuality or age.
The right to enjoy your possessions in a peaceful manner, which means that public authorities cannot usually interfere with what you own or how you use them except in certain circumstances.
The right of access to education.
The right to free elections, they must be free, fair and conducted in private when voting.
Not to be subjected to the death penalty.
These rights usually fall into three categories, as some of them have exceptions and conditions. These categories are:
Absolute Rights – These are the rights that the state cannot take away or withhold. For example, the protection from torture or inhuman treatment.
Limited Rights –An example of this would be, the right of liberty would not apply if you have been detained, arrested or imprisoned by law.
Qualified Rights – Are rights that need to be addressed and balanced between the rights of an individual and the needs of society. An example of this would be the right to enjoy your possessions in a peaceful manner i.e. if you found music relaxing but played it at unsociable hours, you could be fined, be bound over, or have your music system confiscated. All public authorities such as local authorities, the Police, NHS and Prison services have a responsibility to consider Human Rights when implementing policies, creating legislation, delivering services and training staff in these matters.