Posts tagged human rights

The law and your rights

There’s a lot of talk about human rights and what people can and can’t say and do. This is certainly the case for those in employment, many of who are facing rising living costs and falling wages. In the current economic climate, many workers fear for their jobs as well as their overall health, especially if they were to suffer injury on the job. Workplace accidents can be costly to those who suffer them, as the resulting injury can leave them with no choice but to leave their job in order to recover.

Workplace safety is something most employers take very seriously. However, a number of companies may see making their premises a secure environment for their employees an expense they can do without, especially in these troubled economic times. Cutting back on office safety measures is sure to come at the expense of workers, particularly those who work in industries such as construction and manufacturing, but if you’re in a workplace that doesn’t seem safe, what are your rights?

It is the employer’s duty to ensure that their workplace is as safe and secure as possible. They hold total responsibility for the well-being of all their employees. If they don’t make sure that their premises are hazard-free, there’s a slight chance that one or more of their workers may end up becoming injured through no fault of their own, and may have to leave their job and therefore forfeit income while taking time off to recover. This is a scenario no-one wants to find themselves in, but if they do, what are their options?

If you’ve been injured at work, you have rights. You can take action against your employer by making a compensation claim. Losing income and seeing your health deteriorate because of their negligence is very difficult to cope with, but by claiming  you could at least have the means to pay for medical care and the basics while you recuperate.

As long as you have proof of your injury, your employer’s negligence and any financial loss incurred, not to mention expert legal advice by your side, you can make a claim against your boss. If you do, you might fear being sacked as a result of this move, but it’s illegal for any employer to dismiss one of their employees if they take legal action against them. This will ensure that you can go ahead with your claim without fearing too much, especially if you claim on a no win, no fee basis.

Claiming against your employer is the best thing to do after suffering a serious workplace injury. In doing so, you have a chance of replenishing your depleted personal finances, while, if your claim is a success; you’ll feel that justice has been done. Going down this route may seem a little harsh, but if your health and finances have been endangered by your employer’s lack of care for your safety, it’s the right thing to do.

 

The right to an education

A rise in tuition fees – a breach of human rights?

The cost of an education

Tuition fees are the annual sum paid to universities by students in return for receiving an education. The amount universities can charge is capped by the government. Recently the maximum has nearly tripled and now stands at £9,000 per year. The government will loan students this money along with a contribution to maintaining themselves throughout this expensive period of life. However, this loan will need to be repaid and could now easily reach £45,000 before even considering a further master’s degree or professional qualification. Without a university education however people are statistically likely to earn less money and the door to many professional jobs can be locked.

Right to an education

An education is such a fundamental part of growing up and becoming someone that contributes positively to their environment. It cannot be overstated how much in the interests of a country it is to provide their citizens with the best education possible. (more…)

Human Rights & surveillance

The increased concerns about terrorism, following the New York, London and Madrid events have left us with an important dilemma of balance between the police powers to actively monitor our personal data and our very basic human right to lead private uninterrupted lives. The recently revealed information, under the Freedom of Information Act, suggests that not only are the authorities using active monitoring to tackle terrorism but also access our correspondence and other personal records to fight more common types of crime.

The report reveals that between 2007 and 2010 only 0.15 per cent of applications for access to communications data were rejected by the South Yorkshire Police forces. By comparison, the Kent Police rejected over 30 per cent of all applications made by the officers. Interestingly, the application process for all forces is evaluated on a regular basis by two bodies, the Office of Surveillance Commissioner or the Interception of Communications Commissioner Office. This raises an important question as to why there are significant differences in rejection levels between the local police units if the process is handled by officers accredited by the same institutions.

The Big Brother Watch, a well-known organisation defending civil liberties and privacy, has expressed concerns for the Home Office’s plans to further expand police powers and cover even more personal information.  Nick Pickles from the Big Brother Watch stated that the current regime is highly dysfunctional and lacks of transparency. He recommends that before the government grants more powers to the police and intelligence agencies, the current legal framework should be thoroughly revised and assessed.

On the other hand, officials from the Interception of Communications Commissioner state that the procedures are adequate with the communications data being obtained lawfully and in full compliance with applicable statutory measures. They also believe that the current assessment process allows for impartial and objective decision-making in respect of individual applications.

The proposed new powers include powers to access real-time data related to phone calls, electronic communications, social media and web browsing histories. With increased campaigning against lack of consultation with the public, it has been announced that further consultation will be carried out before the new laws take effect. In addition, the Metropolitan Police has also expressed interest in real-time location tracking technology already utilised by the FBI in the US. The technology is based on a device known as IMSI catcher. The catcher allows its users to locate particular mobile phones in a targeted area. The catcher can not only track movements in real-time but also fully intercept short messages, phone calls and other data such as emails on the phone. Alarmingly, the FBI can rely on the technology without a court order. This brings a significant risk of the IMSI catchers being used for purposes other than those authorised.

The society needs to have right to participate in the decision-making regarding their own privacy. The government agencies have been known in the UK to improperly utilise the already existing powers. The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act has been reportedly misused by over 800 different public bodies including the MI5, which officially confirmed making over 1,000 administrative errors only under this piece of legislation.

It is important to observe that the UK is not an exception. Australian authorities have already been provided with the increased power to intercept telecommunication records and the German government is currently contemplating passing legislation to allow police forces to hack suspects’ personal computers.

From the bizarre … to the bizarre

From the bizarre to the ridiculous

Yes, we know the phrase is technically “from the sublime to the ridiculous” but we simply couldn’t bring ourselves to use the word sublime in relation to Human Rights law in the way it is being applied in Europe. Readers of this blog will know that we tend to be critics and to highlight the absurd attempts to use the legislation and the fact that the European Court often thinks the attempted applications are meritorious !

In a case reported this week, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) decided that in criminal cases if a witness is not available to give oral evidence, either due to refusing or having passed away this is a breach of the accused’s human rights. This goes against UK law which is entirely sensible and provides that where there is a written statement and for whatever reason the witness is not at court for cross examination, appropriate directions and warnings are given to a jury as to the weight which can or should be given to that evidence.

The first instance decision in Europe will either be ratified or overturned by the upper tier of the ECHR this week, and if the decision is ratified, it would on the face of it impose a major change on the English Legal System. If the European ruling is ignored by Judges in England & Wales, then yes, you guessed it, it will lead undoubtedly to a raft of new Human Rights challenges in the UK.

Judging (excuse the pun) by recent comments made by a number of the most senior judiciary in this country, they are becoming sick and tired of the impositions from Strasbourg so it won’t be a surprise if this ends up in a scrap between the UK and Europe. Sound familiar ?!

Article 8 (again)

More of “Human Rights gone mad”

Another week, another case showing the ridiculous state of English law when it comes to some aspects of Human Rights and yes, you guessed it, the culprit is Article 8 again (right to family life)

A convicted fraudster from Nigeria who entered the UK illegally initially (and was allowed to stay indefinitely due to an amnesty) is appealing a deportation order against him because he has a son in this country. He claims that deporting him breaches his and his son’s right to a family life even though he has been in prison for much of his son’s life and the son goes to school 12 miles away.

This is yet another example of liberal politics gone mad, let alone the cost to the taxpayer of these cases which just keep coming.

We obviously understand the needs of the child but a commonsense approach to this issue must surely lead to the conclusion that this person is “taking the piss” for want of a better expression.

We will shortly be running a poll on these sorts of cases, so please check back as we will start collecting data on what the British public really think about these issues. Without prejudging, we have an inkling of what most of you might say !

More article 8 madness

Evicted gipsies launch human rights claim

We have reported on this site before regarding the ever more creative uses of article 8, but here is another example of the law gone mad, the costs being borne by the taxpayer and the stance taken by Strasbourg.

It is not uncommon for legal disputes to arise in terms of evicting gypsies from private property or public property, it is a perennial problem. What is however quite unusual is where gypsies are evicted from land owned by gypsy associations, and this is the scenario in this case.

The Buckland family of travellers had been evicted some 5 years ago, and having exhausted all possible appeals under general English law, they are now pursuing, at public expense, there human rights claim in the European Courts, seeking to rely not only on article 8 generally but other cases in the European Courts which indicate a positive obligation to assist the gypsy way of life in Europe.

On the facts of the case it is claimed that the Buckland family intimated all the other travellers on the site (no easy task) and at least one of them threatened another gypsy with a gun.

The quicker something is done about these kind of absurd cases the better. What do you think ?

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