Rules of the European Court of Human Rights v. Switzerland in the case of discrimination in widows’ pensions

Paris, October 11 The European Court of Human Rights, based in Strasbourg, France, ruled today against Switzerland in a case alleging discrimination in the rights to widows’ pensions for men, compared to women.

The case examined a lawsuit brought by Swiss citizen Max Beiler, whose right to a pension was cut off in 2010 when his children reached the age of majority, which does not happen in the case of widows.

After Beller appealed his case to the Swiss judiciary without success, he went to the European Court of Human Rights claiming a violation of the principle of non-discrimination, contained in the European Convention on Human Rights.

For their part, the Swiss authorities defended this measure under the “justified assumption” that it is the husband who provides economic support to families, especially in the case of those with children, and therefore it is legitimate to provide a higher standard. to protect widows.

“Although the plaintiff was in a similar situation (to widows) in terms of his living needs, he was not treated in the same way as a woman/widow. He was therefore subjected to unequal treatment,” the statement read. The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (the highest instance of the court, to which there is no appeal) in its final judgment.

For the European Court, the Swiss government “cannot rely on the assumption that the husband financially supports his wife” to justify a difference in treatment that puts widows at a disadvantage.

The court concluded that “the legislation in question contributed rather to perpetuating prejudices and stereotypes about the nature of women’s role in society and was unfavorable to both women’s careers and men’s family life,” the ruling detailed.

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The European Court of Human Rights had heard the case in 2020 and had already received a unanimous ruling that described the legislation as discriminatory, but in 2021 the Swiss government requested that the case be referred to the Grand Chamber of the European Court. EFE

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