Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Human rights are a powerful tool for social change - but their potential is yet to be realised in the UK

31.10.2007
Asserting and claiming our human rights will help secure improved public services while forging stronger ties between people.

A new booklet, entitled ‘Human rights, a tool for change’, published today by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) examines the role that human rights should be playing in the lives of all in the UK. It was produced following the sixth, and last, in a series of special seminars entitled ‘Engaging Citizens’, organised by the ESRC in collaboration with the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO).

The publication is intended to make a positive contribution to the debate about social justice, and the role of human rights in improving public services in the UK. It sets out the case for everyone to be aware of their human rights and to actively use them in their lives. In addition, the case is made by Professor Stuart Weir, director of Democratic Audit, to include social, economic and cultural rights in a Bill of Rights, along with the civil and political rights that are protected by the Human Rights Act 1998.

‘Human rights, a tool for change’ draws on presentations at a recent seminar given jointly by Katie Ghose, director of the British Institute of Human Rights, and Professor Weir. Their work is helping people and organisations in the UK realise that human rights are not granted, but must be claimed and used to bring about changes in society that will ensure social justice.

Katie Ghose believes human rights should play a role in the lives of everybody in the UK, and that this will enable them to lead their lives to the full. Currently, the potential for using human rights as a means for improving public services, increasing participation, reviving democracy and promoting social cohesion has yet to be achieved in the UK. Human rights, she urges, should be used as a tool for tackling social injustice, enhancing public services and empowering people to participate fully in society.

She says, “A ‘culture of respect for human rights’ has not yet taken root in the UK, despite recent plain English guidance from the Government. Service providers continue to lack confidence in human rights, and front line staff and managers continue to push such issues straight to the legal department. Nor have human rights been mainstreamed in the work of voluntary and community organisations, as campaigners or service providers, despite an eagerness to learn more.”

However, Katie Ghose points to ‘green shoots’ that are appearing. In projects carried out by the British Institute of Human Rights and other organisations, individuals and groups are beginning to harness the inbuilt participative nature of human rights to bring about social change.

Stuart Weir suggests that powerlessness is the source of the unsatisfactory quality of many of our public services. He also underlines that: poverty, poor education, unemployment, low pay, homelessness and social isolation all violate basic human rights. He warns that they either preclude, or hinder, people from using their civil and political rights to improve their lives and from participating effectively in democratic processes. To address these inadequacies in society, he maintains there is a way forward.

He says, “If the UK is fully to protect the human rights of its citizens, it has to introduce economic, social and cultural rights into British law. For the fact is that civil and political, and economic, social and cultural rights, are interdependent; and we require both sets of human rights if we are to give citizens in this country the human dignity and self-confidence necessary to lead full and fulfilled lives.”

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION OR A COPY OF THE BOOKLET, CONTACT:
Amanda Williams at the ESRC on Tel: 01793 413126 or amanda.williams@esrc.ac.uk

Danielle Moore | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esrc.ac.uk
http://www.esrcsocietytoday.ac.uk

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht New measure for the wellbeing of populations could replace Human Development Index
07.11.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht Because not only arguments count
30.10.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Mathematik in den Naturwissenschaften (MPIMIS)

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Epoxy compound gets a graphene bump

14.11.2018 | Materials Sciences

Microgel powder fights infection and helps wounds heal

14.11.2018 | Health and Medicine

How algae and carbon fibers could sustainably reduce the athmospheric carbon dioxide concentration

14.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>