Strasbourg Observers

View posts from: Minority Rights

Behar and Budinova v. Bulgaria: The Rights of Others in Cases of Othering – Anti-victim bias in ECHR hate speech law?

April 15, 2021

By Margarita S. Ilieva, a strategic equality and human rights litigator with extensive experience in hate speech. She litigated Behar,  Budinova and Panayotova and Others v. Bulgaria, and other landmark cases like Yordanova v. Bulgaria and Karaahmed v. Bulgaria. The author was the architect of the cases discussed below, having brought them domestically in 2005 and lodged them with the […]

Tasev v North- Macedonia: (blurry) dimensions and boundaries of the right to free self-identification

August 01, 2019

By Kristin Henrard, Professor of Fundamental Rights, Erasmus Law School, Rotterdam On 16 May 2019 the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR or the Court) delivered its judgement in Tasev v North Macedonia regarding the refusal of the authorities to change the ethnic affiliation of a judge in the electoral roll of judges. The Court […]

S.A.S. v. France: Missed Opportunity to Do Full Justice to Women Wearing a Face Veil

July 03, 2014

By Saïla Ouald Chaib and Lourdes Peroni This week, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights published its long-expected judgment in S.A.S. v. France. The case concerns a ban on the wearing of face veils in the public space. Although the outcome of such highly debated cases is always unpredictable, we hoped […]

A missed opportunity: how the Court’s judgment is commendable for seeking to protect religious minorities but nevertheless wide of the mark

May 19, 2014

This guest post was written by Lieselot Verdonck. Lieselot is a Ph.D. Candidate at the Human Rights Centre, Faculty of Law of Ghent University. More information on the author can be found here. The relationship between State and Church has always drawn much interest. It constitutes an inherently sensitive and political issue, which touches upon […]

S.A.S. v. France: A short summary of an interesting hearing

November 29, 2013

On Wednesday, our research team attended the Grand Chamber hearing at the European Court of Human Rights in the case of S.A.S. v. France, in which we submitted a third party intervention on behalf of the Ghent University Human Rights Centre. The case concerns the French law banning the face veil, a highly debated piece […]

Winterstein v France: the third-party perspective

November 25, 2013

This guest post was written by Judit Geller* and Adam Weiss** One month ago, the European Court condemned France under Article 8 for violating the rights of travellers (gens du voyage) by ordering their eviction (see the judgment here). The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) made written submissions as a third-party intervener four and a […]

Mann Singh wins turban case in Geneva after losing in Strasbourg

November 19, 2013

The name Mann Singh will probably ring a bell with those who are familiar with the case law of the European Court of Human Rights. In Mann Singh v. France (ECHR, 13/11/2008/, no 4479/07), the Strasbourg Court was confronted with the question whether the French obligation to appear bareheaded on photographs on identity documents was […]

Freedom of Religion in Public Schools: Strasbourg Court v. UN Human Rights Committee

February 14, 2013

In a recent decision, the Human Rights Committee of the UN found a violation of the right to freedom of religion in a case concerning the famous and highly debated French law of 2004 that prohibits the wearing of religious garment in public schools. Accordingly the UN Committee called upon France to revisit its legislation. […]

Francesco Sessa v. Italy: A Dilemma Majority Religion Members Will Probably Not Face

April 05, 2012

This post was co-authored by Saïla Ouald Chaib and Lourdes Peroni This week, in a 4-3 judgment, the Court ruled against a violation of the freedom of religion of Mr. Sessa, a lawyer and member of the Jewish faith, unable to attend a court hearing scheduled on Yom Kippur. The case is Francesco Sessa v. […]

French Roma policy violates European Social Charter

December 06, 2011

In a decision of 28 June (COHRE v. France, no. 63/2010), which was only recently made public, the European Committee of Social Rights has found the French zero tolerance policy towards East European Roma living in illegal camps to be in violation of the European Social Charter. The case, which was lodged by the NGO […]

“Living Together” and Diversity in Europe

May 19, 2011

The Council of Europe recently released a report on diversity in Europe, entitled “Living together: Combining diversity and freedom in 21st-century Europe”, drawn up by the ‘Group of Eminent Persons of the Council of Europe’. The report aims to  negotiate “the challenges arising from the resurgence of intolerance and discrimination in Europe”. It “assesses the […]

Gypsy Way of Life “By Birth” or “By Choice”

February 22, 2011

This post is co-authored by Lourdes Peroni and Alexandra Timmer In an inadmissibility decision that might have gone unnoticed by many, the Court has recently ruled in an interesting case, Horie v UK. The case involves a “New Age Traveler” who complained of an impediment on her ability to pursue a nomadic way of life. […]

Konstantin Markin: One more applause to the Court. This time from a perspective of religious minority rights

October 27, 2010

The case Konstantin Markin v. Russia was already discussed in a previous post written by my colleague Alexandra who, from a gender perspective, found it a very interesting case, worth applauding on several points. I want to add an additional point from the perspective of religious minority rights. When reading the case I was surprised […]

In a school ALL pupils should be king! An example of segregation in a Belgian school.

September 17, 2010

From a minority perspective, this week was not a good week in Belgium. On Wednesday, a television broadcast proved that employment agencies cooperate actively with employers who don’t want to hire people with a foreign background (in Belgium the so-called “allochtonen”). An undercover journalist who posed as an employer searching for new employees, asked the […]

Expulsion or mustard grass, the message is the same: “Roma, you are not welcome”

September 15, 2010

We have all read about the utterly unacceptable treatment of Roma by Sarkozy’s government. And while France holds firm to its “return policy”, thankfully the EU has not turned a blind eye to this discriminatory practice, violating both the freedom of movement within the EU and the prohibition of collective expulsions. First, the European Parliament […]

Judge ≠ mathematician

April 12, 2010

Note: following a helpful comment, this post has been edited to correct a mistake on my behalf. In this blog entry I would like to focus on the Court’s interpretation of the concept ’statistically relevant’. In Oršuš and others v. Croatia, the Court held the following regarding the statistical evidence adduced by the applicants: “These […]

Is a more inclusive wind blowing through the Court?

April 12, 2010

Recently the European Court of Human Rights issued an interesting judgment in a case concerning a Roma Marriage. (Muñoz Diaz v. Spain, 8 December 2009) Muñoz Diaz and M.D. married in 1971 according to Roma traditions. This marriage was recognized by the Roma community. When her husband died, Muñoz Diaz applied for a survivor’s pension, […]

“What’s in a – Kurdish – name?”

April 12, 2010

One of the consequences of Kemal Attaturk’s reforms was that Kurdish people in Turkey were not able to speak their own language and consequently they were not able to carry own Kurdish names. Recently this changed. However, the Kurds still face problems with the registration of their names, as they are bound to the Turkish […]