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Croatia: Court backs woman over gay discrimination complaint

Human rights judges agreed today that Croatia’s decision to make it impossible for a partner in a same-sex relationship to obtain a residence permit for family reunification was discriminatory.

In today’s chamber judgment in the case of Pajić v. Croatia (application no. 68453/13) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:

a violation of Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) taken in conjunction with Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The case concerned the complaint by Danka Pajić, a national of Bosnia and Herzegovina, who is in a stable samesex relationship with a woman living in Croatia, of having been discriminated against on the grounds of her sexual orientation when applying for a residence permit in Croatia.

The court found in particular that Pajić had been affected by a difference in treatment between different-sex couples and same-sex couples introduced by the Aliens Act, which reserved the possibility of applying for a residence permit for family reunification to different-sex couples.

The Croatian Government had not shown that that difference in treatment was necessary to achieve a legitimate aim or that it was justified by any other convincing reason.

As Just satisfaction (Article 41), the Court held that Croatia was to pay Pajić 10,000 euros (EUR) in respect of non-pecuniary damage and EUR 5,690 in respect of costs and expenses.

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