HUMAN RIGHTS ACT 1998?
The Human Rights Act 1998 came into force in N. Ireland on
2 October 2000.
This means that rights under The European Convention On Human
Rights are now part of our law in N Ireland.
Our local courts will now have to take the rights set out
below into account when deciding cases.
The Northern Ireland Assembly has to make sure the laws it
makes respect human rights.
Public Authorities like Trusts/Education and Library Boards
when making decisions must do so in a way, which respects
The Human Rights Commission has been set up under The Good
Friday Agreement to promote human rights and advise the Secretary
Of State and the Assembly about human rights.
WHAT ARE MY HUMAN RIGHTS?
Remember young people have these rights as well as adults!
Recently, some cases have been taken to The European Court
Of Human Rights on behalf of children and young people about
their rights. If you would like information about these cases
you can contact our freephone number 0808 808 5678.
The relevant articles of The European Convention On Human
Rights (ECHR) are set out below.
THE RIGHT TO LIFE
Everyone's right to life shall be protected by law.
This means that you have the right to live and that the government
has to protect your right to live
There are certain exceptions to this right, which are set
out in this Article.
FREEDOM FROM TORTURE, INHUMAN AND DEGRADING TREATMENT
This protects children and young people from serious harm.
Solicitors for a young boy who was caned by his stepfather
repeatedly recently argued successfully that this treatment
was inhuman and degrading treatment and that the UK Government
had failed to protect him by having laws to prevent this happening.
This article says that no one should be held in slavery or
be forced into working when they have not agreed to it.
LIBERTY AND SECURITY OF THE PERSON
This means that there are only certain circumstances when
your freedom can be restricted or when you can be held in
THE RIGHT TO A FAIR HEARING
This means that if decisions are being made about your civil
rights, which include issues about your family, then you have
the right to a fair hearing.
Also if you are charged with a criminal offence you are entitled
to a fair hearing.
Under this article you have the right to an interpreter and
the right to be informed in a language, which you understand,
of the charges against you.
A recent case states that children and young people have the
right to be able to understand and participate in legal proceedings
Always ask questions if you are not sure about decisions being
made about you.
THE RIGHT TO FAMILY LIFE
Everyone has the right to respect for his family and private
life, his home and his correspondence.
This is a very important article for children and young people
who might be separated from their parents and brothers and
sisters or who are in care or custody.
You have a right to family life with people you are close
to, as long as this will not cause you any harm. Under this
article you also have a right to privacy.
FREEDOM OF THOUGHT, CONSCIENCE AND RELIGION
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience
This right includes the right to change you religious beliefs,
to worship, to teach and to attend religious ceremonies.
This right must be balanced against the rights of other people
eg It would not be acceptable to say something which was very
intolerant of another religion or caused a lot of distress
to other people.
FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
Everyone has the right to freedom of expression.
This right includes freedom to hold opinions and to receive
and give information and ideas without interference by public
This right has to be balanced against other peoples
rights. The restrictions are set out in the Convention.
FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY AND ASSOCIATION
Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and
to freedom of association with others.
This right does not prevent the armed forces or the police
from taking action to prevent disorder and crime or to protect
the rights and freedoms of other people.
RIGHT TO MARRY
Men and women of marriageable age have the right to marry
and have a family, according to national laws.
PROHIBITION OF DISCRIMINATION
Everyone is entitled to enjoy the Convention rights without
discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language,
religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin,
association with a national minority, property, birth or other
This right can only be argued with one of the other rights,
it cannot be used on its own eg someone could argue that they
had been discriminated against in relation to their right
to family life on grounds of their religion.
PROTOCOL ONE, ARTICLE 2
THE RIGHT TO EDUCATION
A Protocol is simply something which is "added on "
.The right to education is added on to the Convention, but
it still gives you the same rights.
The ECHR says;
No person shall be denied the right to education.
It also says that the religious and philosophical beliefs
of parents must be respected in schools.
Children and young people have a right to an effective education.
This is a very relevant article for children and young people
who are excluded from school or who have special educational
needs at school.
If you would like further information about your human rights,
you can contact the Childrens Law Centre.
Contact: CHALKY FREEPHONE 0808 808 5678.
BELFAST BT15 1BT
The Human Rights Commission
39 North Street
Tel 02890 90243987