Protection from arbitrary eviction for Roma community in Bulgaria

Naidenova et al v Bulgaria, UN Doc CCPR/C/106/D/2073/2011 (27 November 2012) 

A Roma community that had lived for over 70 years in an informal settlement on municipal land in Bulgaria was issued with an eviction order on the basis that the buildings were constructed without the proper permits on municipal property. The UN Human Rights Committee considered that, in light of all the circumstances, the execution of the eviction order would violate the right of the Roma community to not be arbitrarily evicted from their homes under article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights unless satisfactory replacement housing was made available to them beforehand.

Read More

No protection for donor offspring

Pratten v British Columbia (Attorney General) 2012 BCCA 480 (27 November 2012)

The Court of Appeal for British Columbia (Court of Appeal) recently held that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter) does not create a positive right for donor conceived individuals to know their biological origins. In this case, the plaintiff argued that by enacting legislation only for the benefit of adoptees, the legislature discriminated against adults conceived from anonymous donors. The plaintiff also argued that the Charter created a positive right for donor offspring to access information about their biological origins. The Court of Appeal rejected these claims, overturning a decision of the Supreme Court of British Columbia (Supreme Court).

Read More

Forcing journalists to reveal sources would have “chilling effect” on freedom of expression

Telegraaf Media Nederland Landelijke Media BV and Others v The Netherlands [2012] ECHR, Application no. 39315/06 (22 November 2012) 

The European Court of Human Rights upheld journalists’ right to protect their sources based on the freedom of expression in the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The Court stressed the importance of weighing up the national interest against the need to protect journalistic sources, finding that an independent review process is of paramount importance in maintaining the right to freedom of expression under the Convention.

Read More

Life without parole and the prohibition on inhuman or degrading treatment

Oakes and Others v R [2012] EWCACrim 2434 (21 November 2012) 

The England and Wales Court of Appeal has held that the discretionary imposition of life sentences with no possibility of parole does not necessarily violate the European Convention on Human Rights’ prohibition on inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment. The decision comes a week before the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights hears a case addressing similar questions.

Read More

Human Rights Committee finds discrimination in conjunction with violation of freedom of expression

Irina Fedotova v Russian Federation, UN Doc CCPR/C/106/D/1932/2010, 19 November 2012

The Human Rights Committee found the Russian Federation to have acted in violation of Articles 19 (Freedom of Expression) and 26 (Prohibition of Discrimination) of the ICCPR. The case concerned the treatment of LGBT human rights activist Irina Fedotova, who was arrested by the police and fined by a Russian Administrative Court on grounds that she breached legislation on “public actions aimed at the propaganda of homosexuality among minors” after having displayed posters promoting tolerance towards homosexuality near a local school.

Read More

Forced sterilisation of Roma women is inhuman and degrading but not discriminatory

IG & Ors v Slovakia [2012] ECHR 1910 (13 November 2012) 

The European Court of Human Rights has again declined to rule on whether the forced sterilisation of Roma women in Slovakia constitutes discrimination under article 14 of the European Human Rights Convention. This is the third such forced sterilisation case to come before the Court. The Court held that the sterilisation of two Roma women constituted inhuman and degrading treatment, and that Slovakia had violated the women’s right to respect for private and family life. The Court awarded damages and costs to the applicants. The claim of a third woman was struck out due to her death. The Court denied her children’s standing to continue the application on her behalf.

Read More

Scope of the obligation to protect life

Van Colle v United Kingdom [2012] ECHR, Application No 7678/09 (13 November 2012)

This decision of the European Court of Human Rights considered the scope of a state's obligation to protect life, which is contained in the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

The Court re-stated that authorities have a positive obligation to take action where they know, or ought to know, that there is a “real and immediate risk” to the life of an identified individual from the criminal acts of another. However, in this case, the Court found that the circumstances did not establish such an obligation.

Read More

Absence of legislation no excuse for failure to protect against domestic servitude

CN v United Kingdom [2012] ECHR 1911 (13 November 2012)

The European Court of Human Rights found against the Government of the United Kingdom where authorities failed to adequately investigate allegations of forced domestic servitude because at the time of the offence there was a lacuna in the law.

Read More