Human Rights in Wales – What are they?

Human rights in Wales date back to 945 when the laws of Hywel Dda were published. The laws were just and good, championing compassion rather than punishment and a sense of respect towards women.

Human rights principles are based on dignity, fairness, equality, respect and autonomy. They are relevant to your day-to-day life and protect your freedom to control your own life.

Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms that belong to every person in the world, from birth until death. They apply regardless of where you are from, what you believe or how you choose to live your life. They can never be taken away, although they can sometimes be restricted – for example if a person breaks the law, or in the interests of national security.

They help you to flourish and fulfil your potential through:

  • being safe and protected from harm,
  • being treated fairly and with dignity,
  • living the life you choose, and
  • taking an active part in your community and wider society.

Enshrined within the Human Rights Act, they offer fundamental rights and protections to us all. The protections enshrined in the Act are as follows:

  • Article 2 Right to life
  • Article 3 Freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment
  • Article 4 Freedom from slavery and forced labour
  • Article 5 Right to liberty and security
  • Article 6 Right to a fair trial
  • Article 7 No punishment without law
  • Article 8 Respect for your private and family life, home and correspondence
  • Article 9 Freedom of thought, belief and religion
  • Article 10 Freedom of expression
  • Article 11 Freedom of assembly and association
  • Article 12 Right to marry and start a family
  • Article 13 Right to an effective remedy in case of violation
  • Article 14 Protection from discrimination in respect of these rights and freedoms
  • Protocol 1, Article 1 Right to peaceful enjoyment of your property
  • Protocol 1, Article 2 Right to education
  • Protocol 1, Article 3 Right to participate in free elections
  • Protocol 13, Article 1 Abolition of the death penalty

Further information

Our Research Service recently published a blog article entitled The state of human rights and equality that looks at the standing and future of equality and human rights in Wales.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has a wealth of information about human rights including a video to answer the question What are human rights?, as well as information on how rights are protected and some stories about human rights in action. Their report Is Wales fairer? provides an update on equality and human rights in Wales in 2015.

The Rights Info website has a lot of information on human rights and has produced a short animation explaining human rights.

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