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UN panel adopts findings on individual complaints of human rights violations

UN panel adopts findings on individual complaints of human rights violations

Having heard cases brought by individuals against States parties to an international treaty on civil and political rights, a United Nations panel has found violations in seven cases while determining no breaches of the accord in three others, including one involving a complaint against a court ban in France on dwarf tossing.

After meeting in July to hear cases involving the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Geneva-based Human Rights Committee released summaries of its findings last week.

In addition to the 10 cases in which it determined whether violations occurred, the Committee also declared seven cases inadmissible and one other admissible.

Under the Covenant's First Optional Protocol, the Committed can examine complaints from individuals who claim to be victims of violations of the rights contained in the accord and who have exhausted domestic procedures of redress.

In the dwarf tossing case, the complainant, a dwarf employed in discotheques in France, claimed that he was unable to continue his employment because French courts had banned the practice.

The Committee upheld the ban, saying that it was satisfied that the prohibition on dwarf tossing was not abusive but "necessary in order to protect public order…including considerations of human dignity which are compatible with the aims of the Covenant."

The other two cases in which the Committee found no violations concerned the ability to participate in self-determination processes and the absence of any Covenant provision applicable to homosexual marriages. One case in which a violation was found involved a father who could not exercise visiting rights with his son following separation from his wife.