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Social Policy: Social Welfare Student - Essay Example

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Social Policy Everyone needs equitable treatment from the government, civil society and other people around them in the society. The European Commission on Human Rights was established to ensure that equality was assured to all people regardless of age, gender, social status and economic ability among other factors…
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Download file to see previous pages The United Kingdom parliament passed the Human Rights Act of 1998 to entrench the convention and its provisions in the country, and have human rights breach cases tried locally without having to take them to Strasbourg. The law came to effect on October 2, 2000 but was received with mixed feelings and widespread criticism. In its provisions, the law stipulated that every public body should uphold the rights of all individuals, failure to which courts should try those cases in accordance to the convention. The aim of this essay is to analyse the law from a social perspective, describe and criticize the extent to which the Act succeeds in protecting and upholding the right of vulnerable groups, and give appropriate recommendations (British Institute of Human Rights 2008, p. 14). Description Human Rights The Human Rights Act of 1998 was passed as an extension to the pre-existing European Commission on Human Rights; therefore, all the human rights stipulated by the commission also apply for the law. These include basic human rights, for instance, the rights to education, life, liberty, fair trial, privacy, thought, religion, expression, marriage and security, and freedoms from torture and slavery among others. However, the most relevant of all freedoms in a social setting is the freedom from discrimination. This implies that a person’s race, age, gender or any other factor should not be used against a person to deny him or her opportunities or infringe into others rights and freedoms (Dean 2007, p. 8). The Act stipulates that all suspected cases of human rights violation by public bodies on individuals should be tried in local courts, and the courts should base all judgements on the stipulations of the convention. This means that no court in the United Kingdom can override the decisions arrived at the European court for human rights in Strasbourg. However, the Act allows the courts to make decisions in contravention with the convention on condition of incompatibility, but that does not mean that the case will be nullified. The incompatibility clause gives the accused a better chance of succeeding in an appeal at Strasbourg and gives the public and civil society the strength to pressurize the government for amendments (White, Broadbent and Brown 2009, p. 51). Equal Opportunities The Act enables equal opportunities for all in terms of education and other rights, without much consideration of the differences in the social hierarchy given by society according to various real and perceived differences. In fact, the Act gives the accused equal rights as those given to victims, enabling courts to reach a judgment without presuming an accused person to be guilty before trial. In addition, any person seeking the services of a government agency or office suspects that a certain factor is causing the agency to give better treatment to others, then the person can go to court and accuse the firm or office holders of not allowing equal opportunities. This is more so in the case of vulnerable groups of the population including the aged, children, women and girls, those suffering from terminal diseases, and persons with disabilities among others. The law stipulates that due to the propensity of institutions to discriminate against these people, the courts should be keen and stern when dealing with such cases (Bagilhole 2009, p. 56). Anti-discriminatory Concepts The clause on ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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