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Behar and Gudman v. Bulgaria, No. 29335/13, ECtHR (Fourth Section), 16 February 2021


Failure of domestic courts to discharge positive obligation to afford redress to Jewish and Roma individuals for discriminatory public statements made by politician.

Normative references

Art. 14 ECHR
Art. 8 ECHR
Art. 10 ECHR


1. A discriminatory statement made in public, in order to be considered capable of affecting the sense of identity of an ethnic or social group, to the point of triggering the applicability of Article 8 ECHR, must reach a certain level, which changes from case to case.

2. The Bulgarian courts, in assessing the case before them, did not carry out the necessary balancing exercise between the rights of the parties. Moreover, by refusing to award the applicants compensation for discriminatory statements made by a politician, they failed to comply with their positive obligation to respond adequately to discrimination based on the applicants' ethnic origin and to ensure respect for their "private lives".
(The applicants, members of the Jewish and Roma communities, alleged that a politician had made public statements that constituted an incitement to discrimination against their community).