Communication No. 48/2010

UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

The author, an LGBT activist filed a complaint against a deputy of the Saint Petersburg Legislative Assembly on the grounds that he was offensive and discriminatory against LGBT persons at a QueerFest Festival. National judicial efforts failed. The Committee found the case inadmissible as it held that it could not be a decider of fact. 

Link: https://juris.ohchr.org/Search/Details/2653

Theme(s): LGBT

Date: 25 February 2019

Description of applicant(s): Citizen/Activist

Brief description of facts: The author is an activist for LGBT rights. At the QueerFest festival, a deputy of the Saint Petersburg Legislative Assembly instructed the police to ask for the lease documents for the venue. The author intervened to clarify the legal aspects. At that moment the deputy interrupted her and threatened and insulted visitors and volunteers. With regard to women, he used the phrases “cut your hair, animal” and “beast”, and he called one woman the “husband” of another woman. He called the author “stukachka” and “kovyryalka”, when, seeing one of Mr. Milonov’s men trying to use violence against an event participant, she had asked police officers to intervene. However, the police officers took no action in response to the offensive conduct against the author. On 30 September 2013, the author filed a request to initiate proceedings against Mr. Milonov for insult and discrimination. All court efforts failed.

(Alleged) target(s) of speech: LGBT persons

 The Committee’s assessment of the impugned speech: The Committee found the case inadmissible for the below reasons.

Important paragraph(s) from the decision:

8.6… The Committee considers that it is generally for the courts of the States parties to the Convention to evaluate the facts and evidence and the application of national law in a particular case, unless it can be established that such evaluation was biased or based on harmful gender stereotypes that constitute discrimination against women, was clearly arbitrary or amounted to a denial of justice. In that connection, the Committee notes that nothing in the material before it suggests elements likely to demonstrate that the examination by the courts of the author’s case, whether regarding her claims of insult or discrimination, suffered from any such defects. The Committee observes that both sides of the lawsuit were able to put forward their specialists’ opinions on the meaning of the words used towards the author, some of which had several meanings, including offensive, and that the courts determined that the author’s claims of discrimination and humiliation due to her sexual orientation were not corroborated by sufficient evidence. In the light of the foregoing, and in the absence of any other pertinent information on file, the Committee considers that the communication is insufficiently substantiated for the purposes of admissibility and that it is therefore inadmissible under article 4 (2) (c) of the Optional Protocol.

CEDAW Article: 5

 Decision: Inadmissible