Greece - District Court of Mytilene 136/2018, 31 December 2018,

Country of Decision:
Country of Applicant:
Date of Decision:
31-12-2018
Court Name:
District Court of Mytilene
Relevant Legislative Provisions:
International Law > 1951 Refugee Convention > Art 25.1
International Law
International Law > 1951 Refugee Convention
National / Other Legislative Provisions:
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights> Article 25
Greek Civil Code > Article 58 ΑΚ
131 ΑΚ
Greek Penal Code > Article 415 ΠΚ
Law 344/1976 on Civil Registration Acts > Article 13§1
14 N. 344/1976 as amended by Article 7§1 N. 4491/2017
Greek Constitution > Article 2§1
5§1
Law 4491/2017 on legal gender recognition > Article 1§1
2§§1
2
3§§1
4§1
Greek Code of Civil Procedure > Article 748§2
782§§1
3 ΚπολΔ
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Headnote: 

The recognition of gender identity is a matter of respect towards the individual’s personality, protected under Greek and international law and applicable by analogy to refugees. Refugees must be able to request assistance from the authorities of the host-country, as refugeehood entails severed ties with the country of origin making it impossible for recognised refugees to request official actions from their governments.

 

Facts: 

This case concerned a transgender Bangladeshi national, who had been recognised as a refugee. She filed an application with the District Court of Mytilene, Greece, requesting the correction of her personal data in the decision that recognised her refugee status, as well the residence permit and the travel document. The applicant asked for the change of her gender and the respective modification of both the first name and surname.  

 

Decision & Reasoning: 

The Court held the application admissible recognising the applicant’s right to respect for her personality and gender identity. The Court noted that the requested amendment should normally be the responsibility of the authorities of the country of origin. However, the fact that the applicant is a refugee means that she has severed any ties with her country of origin. Consequently, according to Article 25(1) of the 1951 Refugee Convention the applicant must be able to request the assistance of the host country’s authorities in order to exercise her right.

Furthermore, the Court noted that the principle of equality, as enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the constitutional protection of human dignity must be interpreted as requiring that any special procedure on gender-based name change is applied to asylum applicants and refugees by analogy. The Court went on to explain that, under national law, in the event of difference between the registered gender & gender identity the individual is entitled to ask for the correction of the registered gender in accordance with their perception, as long as the legal age prescribed by the law has been attained or the rules governing exceptional circumstances are met.

Moreover, the Court considered the correction of the applicant’s identity data as absolutely necessary in order to ensure the promotion and protection of the applicant’s health as well as the quality of her social and personal life.

 

Outcome: 

Application successful. The amendments requested by the applicant in regard to her name and gender were approved.

 

Observations/Comments: 

This summary was completed by Odyssefs Platonas, LLM student at Queen Mary University. Many thanks to Vassilis Kerasiotis, lawyer and Country Director for HIAS Greece, for providing us with the text of the decision.

Other sources cited: 

Domestic case law

Single Member First Instance Court of Athens ΜπρΑθ 6843/2007

Supreme Court of Greece ΑΠ 1321/1992

Administrative Court of Appeal of Athens EA 4971/1993

Single Member First Instance Court of Thessaloniki 20438/2010

District Court of Florina ΕιρΦλωρ 3/2018

 

Other sources

Vathrakokoilis Interpretative Jurisprudential Analysis no. 13 page 506 /Βαθρακοκοίλη Ερμηνευτική Νομολογιακή Ανάλυση κατ’ άρθρον αρ. 13 σελ. 506

Greece – Official Gazette issue A’51/13-10-2017

Foundedaki K. Draft by the Legislative Bill Drafting Committee of the Hellenic Ministry of Justice on the recognition of gender identity page 58/ Φουντεδάκη Κ. το Σχέδιο Νόμου της Νομοπαρασκευαστικής Επιτροπής του Υπουργείου Δικαιοσύνης για την αναγνώριση της ταυτότητας φύλου σελ. 58.