What are rights?
Rights are a legal entitlements. They are promises that we are able to have and do certain things as citizens of the United Kingdom (UK). Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms that belong to every person in the world, from birth until death. They apply regardless of where you are from, what you believe or how you choose to live your life. They can never be taken away, although they can sometimes be restricted – for example if a person breaks the law, or in the interests of national security.
What are your rights?
In the UK we have lots of rights. These include the freedom to move and live, not to face discrimination because of who we are, to access healthcare and education, and to hold religious beliefs.
Many of the rights we have are created by different organisations such as the UK Government, the European Union (EU), and the United Nations (UN). Because of this, it can be difficult to know all of your rights or to find them in one place.
Your health and social care rights
We all have the right to basic healthcare:
The UK is signed up to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). This means the UK must protect the right to health as best it possibly can, but recognise that it has limited resources.
The right to health is not specifically protected in UK law. But we do have the Human Rights Act 1998, which obliges all public authorities, including National Health Service (NHS) organisations, to respect the human rights in the European Convention on Human Rights.
These rights guarantee that we can receive medical assistance. However, many health and social care providers have lists of eligibility criteria so that different kinds of support are only available to people with certain needs. You can find out more about the eligibility criteria for Blackpool health and social care services here.
The Human Rights Act (1998)
The UK Human Rights Act 1998 lists your basic rights.
If you have been through UK courts and still believe your human rights have been breached, you may go to the European Court who have the final say.
The UK can pass new laws, but they must almost always be compatible with the rights set out in the European Convention on Human Rights.
The UK Government have a website dedicated to explaining your rights on the issues listed below:
- Births, deaths, marriages and care
- Business and self-employed
- Childcare and parenting
- Citizenship and living in the UK
- Crime, justice and the law
- Disabled people
- Driving and transport
- Education and learning
- Employing people
- Environment and countryside
- Housing and local services
- Money and tax
- Passports, travel and living abroad
- Visas and immigration
- Working, jobs and pensions
International Bill of Human Rights
The UN created the International Bill of Human Rights.
This Bill includes the 30 rights set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and give you extra rights around access to food, education, health and shelter as well as the right to life, freedom of speech, religion and voting.
How can you use your rights?
Visit our page here on how to exercise your rights.