Wed, 10 Apr 2013
S. Chelvan of No5 Chambers, instructed by Diana Baxter of Wesley Gryk Solicitors LLP, has drafted on behalf of three international Non-Governmental Organisations, based in Paris, Geneva and Brussels respectively, written comments for the forthcoming case of M. E. v Sweden (App no. 71398/12). The case will provide the European Court of Human Rights an opportunity to revisit earlier decisions last made in 2004 to decide whether expelling a Libyan man, married to a Swedish man, would violate his rights not to suffer treatment contrary to article 3 of the ECHR.
“This case requires the European Court of Human Rights to consider for the first time the question of whether a Council of Europe member State may expel a man who is genuinely married to another man (or a woman married to another woman) if the expelled individual would face a real risk of treatment violating Article 3 in his (or her) country of origin if he (or she) were to speak publicly about his sexual orientation and same-sex marriage.”
Out of the 47 Council of Europe Members, 34 currently have some recognition of asylum claims based on sexual identity. If the written comments are adopted by the Court, then all 47 member states will have to approach claims on the basis of the 2010 UK Supreme Court landmark judgment in HJ (Iran) and HT (Cameroon) v SSHD  UKSC 31;  1 AC 596.
The 3 interveners are:
1. FIDH (Fédération Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l’Homme)
FIDH (http://www.fidh.org) was founded in 1922, and is an international human rights non-governmental organisation with its headquarters in Paris, France. It brings together 164 national human rights organisations from all regions in the world. FIDH mandate is to defend all human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and notably covers the right to be free from discrimination. FIDH is involved in strategic litigation before domestic jurisdictions (France, Guinea Conakri, Ivory Coast, etc), regional courts and bodies (African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights and African Court on Human Rights, Inter-American Court on Human Rights, Committee of the European Social Charter, European Court of Human Rights) and international jurisdictions (International Criminal Court, Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia). As regards discrimination based on sexual orientation, FIDH is engaged in several proceedings before the ECHR.
2. ICJ (International Commission of Jurists)
ICJ (http://www.icj.org), founded in 1952, is composed of sixty eminent jurists who are representatives of the different legal systems of the world. The aims and objectives of the commission are realised by the ICJ’s International Secretariat, based in Geneva, which in turn benefits from a network of autonomous national sections and affiliated organisations located in all continents. The ICJ provides legal expertise at both the international and national levels to ensure that developments in international law adhere to human rights principles and the international standards that are implemented at the national level.
ILGA-Europe (http://www.ilga-europe.org), founded in 1996 and based in Brussels, seeks to defend at European level the human rights of those who face discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. It was granted consultative status with the Council of Europe in 1998 and with the United Nations Economic and Social Council in 2006. Its membership consists of around 300 non-governmental organisations across the Council of Europe countries, whose members are mainly lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or intersex individuals.