Human Rights in Practice

Time to read page:

By The End Of This Section You Will Know:

  • The human rights that carry responsibilities for the NICS
  • The rights that could be affected when working on a range of key issues for NICS departments
  • To understand how human rights are engaged when working on complex issues
  • To have an overview of some of the responsibilities related to these rights

Applying Human Rights in the NICS

Human rights are indivisible, interdependent and interrelated and many areas of NICS work engage a range of human rights. The rights engaged will depend on the subject matter at issue and the groups of individuals that could be affected.

Within each topic option appearing above you will find lists of human rights (domestic, regional and international) that the NICS can carry responsibility for. 

There are 4 general rules relating to how human rights are applied in practice:

1. Absolute rights should never be interfered with, limited or balanced against other considerations. They must be fully guaranteed in all circumstances. 


2. Where the rights of children are affected by an issue or piece of work, the ‘best interest of the child’ is paramount and decisions should be made taking this into account 


3. All rights should be enjoyed equally by everyone without discrimination. This means particular attention should be given to the different groups of people that may be affected by NICS work and positive action taken to ensure that all can access their human rights on an equal basis 


4. Most human rights can be limited or qualified in order to address competing interests. The NICS has a responsibility to ensure that a fair balance is struck in accordance with the law and that restriction on rights is necessary and proportionate

The below abbreviations are used throughout this section:


ICCPR                    International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

ICESCR                  International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

ICERD                    International Covenant for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

UNCEDAW             UN Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women

UNCAT                   UN Convention against Torture, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

UNCRC                  UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

UNCRPD                UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

ECHR                     European Convention on Human Rights

HRA                       Human Rights Act