Croatia: Judges to rule on ‘gay discrimination’ human rights dispute

Tomorrow, Strasbourg judges will announce their decision on a complaint against Croatia, brought by a woman, who claims that her residency request was blocked due to her sexual orientation.

The Tuesday 23 February judgement in the case Pajić v. Croatia (application no. 68453/13), follows an application from Danka Pajić, a national of Bosnia and Herzegovina who was born in 1973 and lives in Brčko (Bosnia and Herzegovina). She claims she was discriminated against on the ground of her sexual orientation, when applying for a residence permit in Croatia.

In December 2011, Pajić lodged a request for a residence permit in Croatia, on the grounds of family reunification with her partner, Ms D.B., who was living in Sisak (Croatia). Her request was dismissed by the Sisak police department, indicating that the relevant requirements under the Aliens Act had not been met.

Pajić’s appeal to the Ministry of the Interior was rejected.

She then lodged an action with the Zagreb Administrative Court, arguing that she had been discriminated against, in comparison with different-sex couples who had a possibility to seek family reunification under the Aliens Act.

The Administrative Court dismissed her action, finding in particular that, given the limited legal effects of a same-sex union, the possible existence of such a union did not represent a basis for family reunification.

In May 2013, the Constitutional Court rejected Ms Pajić’s constitutional complaint against that decision.

Relying on 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, Pajić complains that she was discriminated against on the ground of her sexual orientation.

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