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Human needs and human rights.

These are issues that regularly come up with people and often people are not aware of these needs especially when they haven’t been nurtured as a child, and their needs were not being met, and as the case may be their rights not being honoured. Until we know about a better way this lack of nurturing often goes on into adulthood in the way we treat ourselves and the experiences we can have with others, and it can cause a viscous circle encompassing lots of problems. So I thought it would be helpful to put a post up about it. 

Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a motivational theory in psychology comprising originally of a five-tier model of human needs, often depicted as hierarchical levels within a pyramid.

Maslow stated that people are motivated to achieve certain needs and that some needs take precedence over others. Our most basic need is for physical survival, and this will be the first thing that motivates our behaviour. Once that level is fulfilled the next level up is what motivates us, and so on.

It is important to note that Maslow's (1943, 1954) five-stage model has been expanded to include cognitive and aesthetic needs (Maslow, 1970a) and later transcendence needs (Maslow, 1970b).

Changes to the original five-stage model are highlighted and include a seven-stage model and an eight-stage model; both developed during the 1960's and 1970s.

1. Biological and physiological needs - air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep, etc.

2. Safety needs - protection from elements, security, order, law, stability, etc.

3. Love and belongingness needs - friendship, intimacy, trust, and acceptance, receiving and giving affection and love. Affiliating, being part of a group (family, friends, work).

4. Esteem needs - which Maslow classified into two categories: (i) esteem for oneself (dignity, achievement, mastery, independence) and (ii) the desire for reputation or respect from others (e.g., status, prestige).

5. Cognitive needs - knowledge and understanding, curiosity, exploration, need for meaning and predictability.

6. Aesthetic needs - appreciation and search for beauty, balance, form, etc.

7. Self-actualisation needs - realising personal potential, self fulfillment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences.

8. Transcendence needs - A person is motivated by values which transcend beyond the personal self (e.g., mystical experiences and certain experiences with nature, aesthetic experiences, sexual experiences, service to others, the pursuit of science, religious faith, etc.)

The Human Rights Act 1998 sets out the fundamental rights and freedoms that everyone in the UK is entitled to. It incorporates the rights set out in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) into domestic British law. The Human Rights Act came into force in the UK in October 2000.

What human rights are covered by the Act?

The Act sets out your human rights in a series of ‘Articles’. Each Article deals with a different right. These are all taken from the ECHR and are commonly known as ‘the Convention Rights’:

  • 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 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

Articles 1 and 13 of the ECHR do not feature in the Act. This is because, by creating the Human Rights Act, the UK has fulfilled these rights. For example, Article 1 says that states must secure the rights of the Convention in their own jurisdiction. The Human Rights Act is the main way of doing this for the UK.

Article 13 makes sure that if people’s rights are violated they are able to access effective remedy. This means they can take their case to court to seek a judgment. The Human Rights Act is designed to make sure this happens.

What does the Act do?

The Act has three main effects:

1. You can seek justice in a British court

It incorporates the rights set out in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) into domestic British law. This means that if your human rights have been breached, you can take your case to a British court rather than having to seek justice from the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.

2. Public bodies must respect your rights

It requires all public bodies like courts, police, local authorities, hospitals and publicly funded schools and other bodies carrying out public functions to respect and protect your human rights.

3. New laws are compatible with Convention rights

In practice it means that Parliament will nearly always make sure that new laws are compatible with the rights set out in the European Convention on Human Rights (although ultimately Parliament is sovereign and can pass laws which are incompatible). The courts will also, where possible, interpret laws in a way which is compatible with Convention rights.

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