Capacities to be Enjoyed by Non-Governmental Organizations

Association X v Sweden (decision), 6 July 1977 [ECtHR]

Case no 6094/73


51. The applicant association has complained that the decision of the Government of . . . October 1972 renders useless its right under Art. 11 of the Convention to promote the interests of its members in view of the fact that it has not been accorded the same status as "A. Studentk8r" .

52. Art 11(1) of the Convention provides that "everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and join trade unions for the protection of his interests". This Article does not give any specific contents to freedom of association except, to a certain extent, as regards trade unions. The applicant association is not a trade union as this term is traditionally understood, but this does not mean that it is without any specific protection under Art. 11. Freedom of association is a general capacity for the citizens to join without interference by the State in associations in order to attain various ends. However, a right to the successful attainment of such ends is not guaranteed by Art. 11. This is especially so in the circumstances of the present case when the applicant is asking to be afforded the special status of a "studentk8r", which in the Commission's view is the same thing as asking for a separate share of the participation in the administration of the University .

53. The Commission can consequently establish that the members of the applicant association have not been denied the right to form and join their association. They have been able to strive for the protection of their interests without interference.

54. An examination of this complaint as it has been submitted does not therefore disclose any appearance of a violation of Art. 11 of the Convention.


55. In this context the Commission notes that the applicant association has also complained that the refusal of its claim was discriminatory in violation of Art. 14 of the Convention, which guarantees that "the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground..." .

56. It is true that the applicant association is being treated differently to the A. Studentk8r, which has the desired status. However, the Commission finds reasonable justification for the differential treatment to exist in the interests of a proper administration of the University. The aim to concentrate students in one association is not unreasonable and the choice of the A. Studentk8r discloses no disproportionality having regard to the lack of representativeness of the applicant association.

57. An examination of these complaints as they have been submitted do not therefore disclose any appearance of a violation of Art. 14 of the Convention. (...)

60. It follows that this part of the application is manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Art. 27 (2) of the Convention.

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