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Human rights aspects... curious

(21 Posts)
PaddlingPoolAgain Sun 07-Jun-20 11:54:13

Another thread has set me thinking. Rather than derail that thread...

It was suggested on the thread that children are being denied the human right to an education. The OP also mentions the concept of proportionality -
“Interference with a Convention Right must not be excessive, arbitrary or unfair, or have too severe an impact on a particular group or individual.”

I don't disagree about these points, but what set me thinking is - surely many human rights are being violated by the lockdown, not just education? So for example, the right to family life, or the right to freedom of association and freedom of movement. These also disproportionlly affect certain groups - those with family too far away to travel easily, those needing public transport to get there, those living alone.

How does this square with lockdown? What would the government argue? I'm thinking they's say that the right to life is more fundamental so it justifies other rights being violated? What about where this disproportionately affects certain groups?

OP’s posts: |
UnderTheBus Sun 07-Jun-20 12:07:07

They are interfering with the right to education and also healthcare. Many people have had health care deferred indefinitely, leading to pain and disability and in some cases death ( e.g. heart surgery being delayed and then the person died of heart failure)

NuffSaidSam Sun 07-Jun-20 12:12:57

Children are not being denied a right to an education because schools have been closed for 9 term time weeks.

Even ignoring the efforts of schools to provide home learning, the right to an education is over their WHOLE childhood. That right has been being met up until 23rd March and will start again in September probably.

Are you concerned that they're being denied the right to education during the 6 week holidays?

The current situation is far from ideal, but we need to gain some sense of proportion!

PaddlingPoolAgain Sun 07-Jun-20 12:37:06

Are you concerned that they're being denied the right to education during the 6 week holidays?

The current situation is far from ideal, but we need to gain some sense of proportion!

TBH education isn't my main concern. I think there's more important rights up for question, IF we were going down that road... hence not wanting to derail other thread.

I'm also not really arguing a particular case, more just thinking out loud - do some rights take precedence? Right to life would seem to be the one. Just pondering really.

OP’s posts: |
PaddlingPoolAgain Sun 07-Jun-20 12:41:39

UnderTheBus That's awful. Healthcare would seem to be the one area that's most closely comparable to considering virus risk/right to life.

OP’s posts: |
Chessie678 Sun 07-Jun-20 12:49:44

My view (as a lawyer though not a human rights one) is that the legislation brought in as a response to coronavirus interferes with rights under the human rights act in a way which is not proportionate. These rights include the right to liberty, private and family life, freedom of assembly and association and right to education. I have seen posters on various other threads suggest that human rights are not relevant because we are in the midst of a national emergency. To me, this is when human rights should be most relevant and where it is particularly important to balance the rights of individuals against each other. I'm surprised that there hasn't been more discussion of the legality of the measures taken from a human rights perspective, particularly in the left wing media which is usually very pro human rights and now seems to support any measures to combat coronavirus, even where there is little evidence that they will save lives and where the human rights impact on the population as a whole is very high. If you look at previous human rights cases often the interference to rights involved was trivial in comparison to what we are seeing now. The counter will always be that these measures are necessary to protect the right to life of the c.1% of people who might otherwise die from this but we are severely interfering with the rights of 100% of people to do that and we could probably protect the 1% by more proportionate means (added to which the lockdown measures will probably cost lives anyway so it is not clear that lockdown will save lives in the longterm). Some states have derogated from the ECHR to address covid-19 (e.g. Georgia) as this is permitted in an emergency but my understanding is that the UK has not formally done this - and really states shouldn't have to derogate as they should be able to justify all the measures taken by balancing them against the right to life of others - if they can't do that maybe they should take less restrictive measures.

I also think that the rushed way in which measures have been communicated, the confusion as to what is law and what is guidance in government communications, the lack of clarity in the legislation and the lack of end date for many of the measures in place is dodgy from a human rights and rule of law perspective.

Slothsarecreepy Sun 07-Jun-20 12:49:57

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://ukhumanrightsblog.com/2020/04/30/the-coronavirus-lockdown-does-not-breach-human-rights-part-one-leo-davidson/amp/&ved=2ahUKEwi-uvWV0e_pAhWWShUIHZKFCDsQFjAAegQIAxAB&usg=AOvVaw394kTKLImeRKJgUvkU4yGu&cf=1

From Humanrightsblog The Coronavirus lockdown does not breach human rights

PaddlingPoolAgain Sun 07-Jun-20 13:32:06

That article is so depressing. They mention that uninhibited effects of the virus would be discriminatory (ie. elderly, disabled, BAME more at risk) which is of course true. But the discriminatory effects of lockdown are not mentioned. It goes on to say that decisions should be debated in the political sphere, not in the courts. What use is the human rights act then? How are we to challenge the areas where lockdown rules should be different for certain groups to avoid disproportionate suffering?

OP’s posts: |
Weepinggreenwillow Sun 07-Jun-20 13:35:09

I agree actually OP. The other thread about edication is mine but I agree that the principle applies to many areas.
chessie that is an interesting post form someone with a legal background, thanks.

PaddlingPoolAgain Sun 07-Jun-20 13:47:30

This is interesting, from the same blog. Legal challenge to lockdown.

"They challenge the lawfulness of the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (England) Regulations 2020 (as amended) on the following grounds:

1. They are ultra vires s45C of the Public Health (Control of Diseases) Act 1984, in that they are disproportionate and unlawfully fettered the government’s discretion to consider less draconian measures. The government also failed to take into account relevant factors such as the uncertainty of the science, the impact on the economy, as well as the effect of the restrictions on public health, including deaths, particularly from untreated or undiscovered cancer and heart disease, and the aggravation of mental health problems and domestic violence as a result of the measures.

2. They are also unlawful under the Human Rights Act in that the restrictions constitute a disproportionate breach of fundamental rights and freedoms in the European Convention. In particular they erode the rights protected by Articles 5 (right to liberty), 8 (right to autonomy and respect for privacy and family life), 9 (right to religious freedoms and the implied right to worship), 11 (right to assembly) and 14 (right to enjoy Convention freedoms without discrimination: women, for example, are disproportionately affected by the domestic violence that has more than doubled during the ‘lockdown’). The measures also breach Articles 1 (right to not to be deprived of property including business interests) and 2 of Protocol 1 (right to education) of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

OP’s posts: |
PowerslidePanda Sun 07-Jun-20 13:52:26

Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be deprived of his liberty save in the following cases and in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law:
...
(e)the lawful detention of persons for the prevention of the spreading of infectious diseases, of persons of unsound mind, alcoholics or drug addicts or vagrants;

Doesn't seem like a violation to me.

Too many people are in the mindset that their own best interests should trump the best interests of society as a whole. And in a lot of cases, the alternative wouldn't actually serve them any better anyway.

StealthPolarBear Sun 07-Jun-20 13:53:20

Op I agree this is an interesting question. I don't know what the answer is.
On other threads I've argued the daily briefings should continue and it's in recognition of the fact our rights and freedoms are being curtailed. While that is the case the government should talk with us daily.

PaddlingPoolAgain Sun 07-Jun-20 14:06:17

PowerslidePanda Too many people are in the mindset that their own best interests should trump the best interests of society as a whole. And in a lot of cases, the alternative wouldn't actually serve them any better anyway.

But isn't the same true for the people who would be disproportionately affected by the virus running rampant?

FWIW I don't disagre with lockdown overall. However, I do think some of the rules should be different for certain groups, who are disproportionately affected, and this should be considered when making changes to restictions.

OP’s posts: |
lljkk Sun 07-Jun-20 14:07:24

Yup. Govts have handed selves dramatic powers to infringe many civil liberties. You only just noticed (?). Note some folk insisting that right to peaceful assembly & protest should also be superseded.

Weepinggreenwillow Sun 07-Jun-20 14:20:32

just shared this on another thread and thought it would be appropriate here too.
A quote from The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Attwood:

“That was when they suspended the Constitution. They said it would be temporary. There wasn’t even any rioting in the streets. People stayed at home at night, watching television.”

Scary!

Gwenhwyfar Sun 07-Jun-20 14:23:34

What about the right to life and to health? More important than the rights you mention I think.

Moondust001 Sun 07-Jun-20 14:28:28

What is most scary about this thread is that there were huge breaches of human rights before the pandemic and nobody gave a damn because they didn't affect them, or they didn't think they need to know about them. Now that the majority are seeing what life had been like for some people for a long time, it's suddenly relevant. I suspect "human rights" will become the new "clapping" - a novel pastime in the short term, provided it requires people to do nothing about the underlying problems.

PowerslidePanda Sun 07-Jun-20 14:31:48

But isn't the same true for the people who would be disproportionately affected by the virus running rampant?

I'm not sure I understand... My point was that the virus running rampant isn't in most peoples' interests - even those who don't fear the virus and are opposed to lockdown.

PowerslidePanda Sun 07-Jun-20 14:34:26

What is most scary about this thread is that there were huge breaches of human rights before the pandemic and nobody gave a damn because they didn't affect them, or they didn't think they need to know about them. Now that the majority are seeing what life had been like for some people for a long time, it's suddenly relevant. I suspect "human rights" will become the new "clapping" - a novel pastime in the short term, provided it requires people to do nothing about the underlying problems.

It's also scary that people think that briefly suspending state-provided education (during which time, educational materials are provided remotely instead) is equivalent to violating the human right to education. It makes a mockery of the people whose human rights genuinely are being violated.

cathyandclare Sun 07-Jun-20 14:35:56

Weepinggreenwillow

What an appropriate quote. It does feel like we're living in some sort of dystopian fantasy novel at the moment.

BamboozledandBefuddled Sun 07-Jun-20 16:51:14

Gwenhwyfar

What about the right to life and to health? More important than the rights you mention I think.

The right to life means that no one can intentionally deprive you of your life. Even then, there are exceptions. It's nothing to do with stopping you becoming ill and dying. And right to health is actually about accessing health care, health policy, etc. There isn't actually a human right to 'be healthy'. Maybe you should learn more about human rights before deciding which ones are most important.

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