Rights, equality and responsibilities: HumanRights a) Human rights – The rights and freedoms to which everyone is entitled to Equality before the law – a person’s right to fair and equal treatment and protection under the law Freedom of religion – a person’s right to follow/not to follow a religion Freedom of opinion – a person’s right to hold any opinion they choose Freedom of speech – a right to express any opinion with censorship or restraint In 1998, the Government passed the Human Rights Act to give UK citizens the fundamental rights and freedoms contained in the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights Your human rights are: ● The right to life – this means that the law must protect you from being killed. This right is claimed by asylum seekers who will be killed if they return to their native country. ●● Freedom from torture and degraded treatment – this means that no one can be tortured in the UK or by anyone acting on behalf of UK authorities, e.g. British soldiers ●● Freedom from slavery and forced labour – no UK citizen can be involved in either of these because it is the right of all citizens not to be enslaved or made to work ●● The right to liberty – this means that people are free to do anything that is not against the law and can only be detained according to the law. The length of time a citizen can be detained without being charged and brought before the court is set down by law ●● The right to a fair trial ●● The right not to be punished for something that wasn’t a crime you did ●● The right to respect for private and family life – the right to private life means that no one has the right to enter your home without the law’s permission and no one has the right to publish information about your private life unless it can be shown to be in the “public interest” (e.g. celebrities) ●● Freedom of thought, conscience and religion – this means that no one can be persecuted for their ideas and beliefs ●● Freedom of expression – this means people can say what they think and publish their ideas but only as long as they do not break other laws (respect for privacy, national security, racial and religious tolerance, etc.) ●● Freedom of assembly and association – this means people have the right to meet with others to discuss public demonstrations to publicize their views (e.g. anti-war protests) ●● The right to marry or form a civil partnership and start a family – this right is mainly used when parents try to prevent their child marrying someone they do not like, or a religion tries to prevent an inter-faith marriage. ●● The right not to be discriminated against in respect of these rights and freedoms ●
● The right to own property ●● The right to an education ●● The right to participate in free elections – this includes the right to vote, the right to stand as a candidate and the right to a secret ballot Examples of non-religious people supporting human rights: Non-religious people support human rights by setting up organizations to promote human rights. Oxfam Organizations such as Oxfam believe in ending poverty and injustice as part of a global movement for change: Education ● Oxfam works with teachers and children in schools, as well as communities to support children in demanding their right to education ● Oxfam is an active member of the Global Campaign for Education and also works with other from the local to global level to call for more funding for education, and to get more girls into school Gender discrimination ● Campaigning for legal reforms in countries with laws that disadvantage women ● Raising the income of some of the world’s poorest families through community finance programs targeted as women Amnesty International A global organization, working in 150 countries campaigning to end abuse of human rights and achieve equality through human rights across the globe. They have 3 million members and supporters. Examples of religious people supporting human rights Religious people also set up organizations to promote human rights. Christian Aid Christian Aid is a perfect example; it is a Christian organization with a vision to end poverty, believing that vision can become a reality. Their essential purpose is to: ● Expose the scandal of poverty ● To help in practical ways to root it out from the world ● To challenge and change structures and systems that favour the rich and powerful over the poor and marginalized Christian Aid is an agency of churches in Britain and Ireland are mandated to work on relief, development and advocacy for poverty eradication. Christian Aid’s work is founded on Christian faith, inspired by hope and acts to change an unjust world through charity – a practical love and care for our neighbors CAFOD CAFOD is the official Catholic aid agency for England and Wales. They work to bring hope, compassion, and solidarity to poor communities, standing side by side with them to end poverty and injustice. They work with people of all faiths and none. CAFOD works with more than 500 partners overseas, and with partners in the UK – all working to reduce poverty. They are also inspired by Scripture and Catholic Social Teaching – they work for a safe, sustainable and peaceful world. CAFOD funds work to ensure women and men in developing countries can make a decent living, access markets, and meet their families’ needs long term.
● Increasing access to clean water, education and healthcare ● Ensuring the private sector adopts fair working practices and conditions ● Helping partners to set up effective programmes and services in their communities ● Lobbying the UK government and EU to implement policies which help developing countries Are there reasons sometimes for limiting any basic human rights? This is especially related to Christians and the problems they face with human rights . Such as: “If Christians believed in human rights they would treat homosexuals equally” Against Civil partnerships ● Some Christians, especially Roman Catholics and Evangelical Protestants are against the right for civil partnerships. They are against this because homosexuality is against God’s will, and it is also unnatural, as well as condemned in the Bible. ● They also believe that marriage is between one man and one woman – and the book of Leviticus from the Bible supports their beliefs –> “No man is to have any sexual relations with another man” ● Some discriminate civil-partnerships by refusing to give blessings from the Church ● Some church also oppose adoption laws that make it illegal for adoption agencies, including Christian ones, to discriminate against homosexual couples when approving couples for adoption. They oppose the law against the right of homosexuals raising a family , because they strongly believe that children should be brought up by a mother and a father. Inter-faith marriages ● Most Roman Catholics and Evangelical Protestants are against Christians marrying someone from a different faith. This is the belief that Christians should marry Christians, so that the children are brought up as Christians (the right way). ● Some discriminate against inter-faith couples by refusing to allow them to marry in Church For Civil partnerships ● Many Christians such as Quakers and Liberal Protestants believe in human rights and treating homosexuals equally. They believe this because they strongly regard this as an issue of religious freedom , and certainly not something to be imposed. ● The Prime Minister, David Cameron, supports the idea of churches conducting same-sexmarriage ceremonies, as he did not want homosexuals to be “excluded from a great institution” as he calls it. ● The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement demonstrates their beliefs in the freedom (right) in belief and opinion on civil-partnerships ● Liberal Protestants may even provide blessings to civil partnerships because they look into the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats in the book of Matthew, as a guide to treat everyone equally and with respect. ● Other problems: If a Catholic woman who wanted to be a priest used human right laws against the Catholic Church, or if a Catholic priest used human rights laws to demand theright to marry
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Understanding Human Rights, Equality, and Responsibilities