The origins and implications of diversity and the changing nature of society in the UK, including the perspectives and values that are shared or common, and the impact of migration and integration on identities, groups and communities.
Political, legal and human rights and freedoms in a range of contexts, from local to global.
The development of, and struggle for, different kinds of rights and freedoms in the UK
The rights and responsibilities of consumers, employers and employees.
Diversity in the UK
A community is a group of individuals who live or work together and have shared interests.
Many communities in Britain are multicultural communities – the community has citizens from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Sometimes these citizens are integrated (live and work together successfully), but sometimes different ethnic groups are separate .
If the different groups within a community merge together well and get on successfully then there is community cohesion .
One reason why there is diversity in the UK is that there has been migration. People emigrate (move out of a place) for many different reasons:
Push factors: reasons for leaving a place (e.g. no jobs)
Pull factors: reasons for going to a new place (e.g. better housing).
There are different types of migrants:
Economic migrant : someone who moves to a new place for financial reasons (e.g. to get a new job).
Asylum Seeker: someone who moves to a new place seeking safety and protection from persecution or danger (e.g. if there was a war in their country)
Refugee: someone who has been given legal permission to stay in another place to be protected from danger (they would once have been asylum seekers).
What are rights ?
Rights are the things that we are entitled to, responsibilities describe the ways we should behave.
Human rights: the most basic things that all citizens are entitled to, including education and voting. These rights are listed in documents such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights .
Political rights: these are the rights people have that allow them to participate politically in their country (e.g. freedom of speech, the right to vote, the right to protest).
Moral rights: these are the rights people have that are based on values or conscience – your sense of right or wrong. For example, it is not illegal to lie, but we have the moral right to be told the truth.
Legal rights: when a right is protected by a law, it is known as a legal right. Rights that are built into the laws of a country are called legal rights. For example, the Sex Discrimination Act is a law that aims to stop sexism, giving people the legal right to be treated equally.
Sometimes people's human rights are not respected or are abused (for example if someone is put in prison unfairly). This is more likely to happen if the law does not protect human rights. Amnesty International is a charity that works to stop human rights abuses around the world by, for example, putting pressure on governments to respect citizens' right to free speech.
Human Rights Documents
There are a number of documents that set out what the basic human rights are:
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)– this was created by the United Nations (UN) in 1948, three years after the end of World War II. Following the Holocaust the UN wanted to ensure that humans' basic rights were not abused in such a horrific way again, so wrote the UDHR.
European Convention on Human Rights – this was created in 1950 to set out the basic human rights of citizens in Europe. This means that cases of suspected human rights abuse can be taken tot he European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
The Human Rights Act (HRA) was passed in 1998 and put the European Convention of Human Rights into UK law. The HRA applies to the UK only, and states that all other UK laws must not go against the rights set out in the HRA. The HRA has meant that since 2000 cases of suspected human rights abuse can be dealt with mostly in UK courts, with the European Court being a last resort.
What are responsibilities ?
Remember, with rights come responsibilities .
Every right has an obligation or a responsibility attached to it. We should behave in a certain way.
For example, if you have passed your driving test you have the right to drive, but you have the responsibility to drive safely.
The right to vote comes with the responsibility to vote sensibly.
The right to be treated fairly comes the responsibility to treat others fairly.
Acting responsibly will protect others' rights. If we all follow our responsibilities it will ensure that others' rights are not abused.
When using a business a customer has rights that should be protected.
For example, the customer has the right to a refund if the product purchased turned out to be faulty. If a product was so faulty that it caused injury the customer could sue the business for damages.
There are lots of laws that protect customers' rights, here are some examples:
Food Safety Act : all food sold must be safe.
Trade Descriptions Act : it is illegal to make misleading claims or descriptions about products (e.g. saying 'cheapest in Reading' if it is not the cheapest in Reading).
Consumer Protection Act : if you are injured as a result of a faulty product you have the right to compensation.
If a customer thinks that their rights have been abused the can complain to the manager and have the right to an exchange or refund. If this does not happen they can go to the Citizens Advice Bureau for help, and possibly take the business to the Small Claims Court . Paying on credit card often gives customers more protection against problems such as fraud.
Rights in the Workplace
Employers (the boss/organisation) and employees (the workers) all have various rights and responsibilities.
All employees are entitled to a contract of employment setting out details such as their pay and holidays. Also, employees have the right to be given a verbal warning and a written warning before dismissal (being fired). If an employee believes that have been unfairly dismissed they can take their employer to an Employment Tribunal (a court that deals with employment issues).
An employer can only fire someone if they have behaved badly. However, sometimes businesses have to make people redundant if they are no longer required. People who are made redundant have rights, such as the right to redundancy pay.
There are a number of laws that protect the rights of employees:
Sex Discrimination Act : makes it illegal to treat an employee differently because of their sex or gender.
Equal Pay Act : two people doing the same job should be paid the same regardless of age, race, sex etc.
National Minimum Wage : people should be paid above a set amount.
Disability Discrimination Act : reasonable adjustments should be made by employers to help workers who are differently abled.
Health and Safety at Work Act : an employer must ensure that the workplace is safe
All employees have the right to be members of trade unions. A trade union is a group of workers who will work together to make sure that workers are treated fairly. If they feel they are not paid enough they might take action like striking.