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Human rights complaints nearly double

A near doubling in the number of cases from Switzerland is part of a rising tide of complaints brought to the European Court of Human Rights.

The president of the court, Jean-Paul Costa, on Thursday said that it had received 57,100 complaints last year, a 15 per cent increase from 2008. The number of pending cases has grown to 119,000.

The 471 of cases submitted from Switzerland in 2009 represented less than one per cent of the total cases brought forth to the Strasbourg court.

Relative to its population, the figure is just under the average for countries making up the 47-nation court.

Nearly 30 per cent of last year’s cases originated from Russia and were primarily related to rights violations in Chechnya. Turkey ranked second with more than 13,000 complaints, mostly relating to violence and abductions in the country’s Kurdish areas.

Ukraine and Romania place third and fourth, with just under 10,000 complaints each. Combined, those four countries accounted for 56 per cent of complaints.

Four petitions from Switzerland were submitted disputing the country’s vote to ban minarets, the court said.

Established 50 years ago, the European Court of Human Rights is the last resort for the more than 800 million people living in countries that make up the Council of Europe. and agencies


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