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The Human Rights Act, is the Act of Parliament which makes the European Convention on Human Rights part of UK National Law. The government, which includes local authorities have to make sure that they protect these human rights and don't break them. If someone thinks that the government (or a part of it) has broken or failed to protect one or more of these rights then they can appeal in UK Courts and even to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg (France).

What's in it?

Lots of rights, like the ones in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, but these rights are for all people - not only children.

Some rights are: the right to life, the right to freedom from torture or slavery, the right to freedom of expression, the right to a fair trial, and to private and family life.

How has it helped children in the UK?

  • January 2010 - the European Court of Human Rights says that unlimited police stop and search powers, introduced under counter-terrorism laws, are unlawful. Between 2007 and 2009, nearly 310,000 children aged 10 to 17 were stopped and searched by the police; 40% of these were Black children.
  • July 2008 - the Court of Appeal said that the restraint rules brought in by the government for children in secure training centres were to be undone because they breached human rights.
  • November 2004 - the European Court of Human Rights says that an 11 year old boy didn't get a fair trial because he wasn't able to really understand what was going on and the consequences of the punishment. The psychologist said that the boy was thinking more like a 6 to 8 year old.

If you want to read the rights in the Human Rights Act, here they are: