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Assenov v Bulgaria

28 October 1998

Facts: Police arrested a teenage boy, Anton Assenov, for gambling in the town square. He was taken to a nearby bus station, where his father later arrived. The boy and his father were taken to the police station and detained for two hours before they were released. During this time the police allegedly beat the boy with truncheons and pummeled him in the stomach. Throughout the following two years, the family filed complaints with various criminal investigatory agencies without success.

Article 3 (right to be free from inhuman treatment and adequacy of the investigation): violation

The Court considered that the medical evidence, Mr Assenov's testimony, the fact that he was detained for two hours, the lack of witness of Mr Ivanov beating his son to cause the reported bruising, raised a reasonable suspicion that these injuries might have been caused by the police.

The Court considered that where an individual raises an arguable claim that he had been seriously ill-treated by State agents in breach of Article 3, that provision, read together with the State's Article 1 duty to "secure to everyone within their jurisdiction the rights and freedoms in [the] Convention", implicitly required an effective official investigation, capable of leading to the identification and punishment of those responsible. The Court assessed the investigation in the light of the above criteria finding that it was insufficient and ineffective for the purposes of Article 3.

Article 13 (right to an effective remedy): violation

The Court found a violation of this Article for the same reasons it found a breach of Article 3.

  • The full text of the judgment is available here.
  • The ERRC’s third-party intervention can be found here.

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ERRC submission to UN HRC on Hungary (February 2018)

14 February 2018

Written Comments of the European Roma Rights Centre concerning Hungary to the UN Human Rights Committee for consideration at its 122nd session (12 Narch - 6 April 2018).

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The Fragility of Professional Competence: A Preliminary Account of Child Protection Practice with Romani and Traveller Children in England

24 January 2018

Romani and Traveller children in England are much more likely to be taken into state care than the majority population, and the numbers are rising. Between 2009 and 2016 the number of Irish Travellers in care has risen by 400% and the number of Romani children has risen 933%. The increases are not consistent with national trends, and when compared to population data, suggest that Romani and Traveller children living in the UK could be 3 times more likely be taken into public care than any other child. 

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Families Divided: Romani and Egyptian Children in Albanian Institutions

21 November 2017

There’s a high percentage of Romani and Egyptian children in children’s homes in Albania – a disproportionate number. These children are often put into institutions because of poverty, and then find it impossible ever to return to their families. Because of centuries of discrimination Roma and Egyptians in Albania are less likely to live in adequate housing, less likely to be employed and more likely to feel the effects of extreme poverty.

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