Group work

1.    In small groups or class round up, list what you think are the most important human rights covered by the European Convention on Human Rights

These might include: freedom from torture and from slavery, right to a fair trial, right to life, freedom from discrimination, right to privacy, freedom of assembly and expression, freedom of conscience and religion.

2.    What examples of can the class suggest of where these rights may be in conflict with each other or where they may not be protected in the UK?
This might be extended to a search via newspaper cuttings and the internet.

Check out the case brought by S and Mr Marper questioning the right of the UK authorities to keep fingerprints and DNA samples with no time limit

Or the case brought against her employers by Sharon Coleman over flexible working.

Issue: Prisoners’ Voting Rights

Debate/discussion: Should people in prison be allowed the vote?

Points to consider:

Should no prisoner be allowed to vote, or should some be allowed depending on the crime they committed or the length of sentence.

How many currently in prison regularly voted before they were sentenced?

Might being in prison bring about a change of mind and behaviour about voting in future?

After the discussion the class can explore, via websites to the press, how this issue was reported and finally draw up their recommendations to the government for the necessary changes in the law.

Case history

In November 2010, the European Court of Human Rights awarded two UK prisoners £4,350 in costs and expenses for their loss of voting rights, which amounted to a breach of their human rights.

The UK government appealed against the judgement.

In February 2011 MPs overwhelmingly backed a motion calling for the maintenance of a blanket ban on all prisoners.

In April 2011 the UK government loses its final appeal against the European Court of Human Rights ruling.

The UK was given six months to draw up proposals to end the blanket ban on prisoners’ voting.