ECHR fines Russia over treatment of HIV-positive foreigners

ECHR fines Russia over treatment of HIV-positive foreigners

ECHR fines Russia over treatment of HIV-positive foreigners

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The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled on March 15 that Russia had violated the rights of five HIV-positive individuals of non-Russian citizenship by not granting them Russian residency permits. 

In the Novruk and Others v. Russia case, the ECHR ruled that Russian migration authorities’ refusal of five non-Russian individuals’ residence permit applications on grounds of relevant legislation preventing HIV-positive foreign nationals from obtaining residence permits was a violation of Article 14 on the prohibition of discrimination, adding that it should be read together with Article 8, which is the right to private life and family. 

The court also ruled there was no violation of Article 34 of the European Convention, which is the right of individual petition.

“In sum, the court found that, in the light of the overwhelming European and international consensus geared towards abolishing the outstanding restrictions on entry, stay and residence of HIV-positive non-nationals, Russia had not advanced compelling reasons or any objective justification for their differential treatment for health reasons,” read a part of the ruling. 

The ruling stated that the current legislation could generate further repetitive applications.

“The court also found that the defective legislation which gave rise to the proceedings in the applicants’ case amounted to a structural problem which could generate further repetitive applications,” it said. “Noting, however, that legislative reform was currently under way in Russia, the court decided at this stage not to formulate any general measures about the proper implementation of its present judgment.”

The court held that Russia was to pay each of the five applicants 15,000 euros in respect of non-pecuniary damage. It also awarded an extra 9,270 euros to the applicants for costs and expenses.