Arenz v Germany (decision), 24 March 2004 [HRC]

Case no 1138/2002

4.1 The authors allege violations of their rights under articles 2, paragraph 1, 18, 19, 22, 25, 26 and 27 of the Covenant, as a result of their expulsion from the CDU, based on their affiliation with Scientology, and as a result of the German courts’ decisions confirming these actions. In the authors’ view, they were deprived of their right to take part in their communities’ political affairs, as article 25 of the Covenant protected the right of “every citizen”, meaning that “[n]o distinctions are permitted between citizens in the enjoyment of these rights on the grounds of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status”. Their expulsion from the CDU amounted to an unreasonable restriction of that right, in the absence of any reference to a right of party autonomy in article 25. (...)

8.5 With regard to the State party’s argument that it cannot be held responsible for the authors’ exclusion from the CDU, this being the decision not of one of its organs but of a private association, the Committee recalls that under article 2, paragraph 1, of the Covenant, the State party is under an obligation not only to respect but also to ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction all the rights recognized in the Covenant, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Where, as in the present case, the domestic law regulates political parties, such law must be applied without consideration. Furthermore, States parties are thus under an obligation to protect the practices of all religions or beliefs from infringement  and to ensure that political parties, in their internal management, respect the applicable provisions of article 25 of the Covenant.

8.6 The Committee notes that although the authors have made some references to the hardship they have more generally experienced due to their membership in the Church of Scientology, and to the responsibility of the State party to ensure their rights under the Covenant, their actual claims before the Committee merely relate to their exclusion from the CDU, an issue in respect of which they also have exhausted domestic remedies in the meaning of article 5, paragraph 2 (b), of the Optional Protocol. Consequently, the Committee need not address the broader issue of what legislative and administrative measures a State party must take in order to secure that all citizens may meaningfully exercise their right of political participation under article 25 of the Covenant. The issue before the Committee is whether the State party violated the authors’ rights under the Covenant in that its courts gave priority to the principle of party autonomy, over their wish to be members in a political party that did not accept them due to their membership in another organization of ideological nature. The Committee recalls its constant jurisprudence that it is not a fourth instance competent to re-evaluate findings of fact or re-evaluate the application of domestic legislation, unless it can be ascertained that the proceedings before the domestic courts were arbitrary or amounted to a denial of justice. The Committee considers that the authors have failed to substantiate, for purposes of admissibility, that the conduct of the courts of the State party would have amounted to arbitrariness or a denial of justice. Therefore, the communication is inadmissible under article 2 of the Optional Protocol.

 9. The Human Rights Committee therefore decides:

 (a) That the communication is inadmissible under article 2 of the Optional Protocol;

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