HC Deb 19 March 1999 vol 327 cc862-3W
Mr. Key

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many(a) male and (b) female service personnel were discharged or dismissed on grounds of homosexuality in each of the past 10 years; how many of these, in each year, have challenged the decision at the European Court of Human Rights and at what cost to public funds, under the European Convention's (i) Article 3 (inhuman or degrading treatment), (ii) Article 8 (right to privacy), (iii) Article 10 (freedom of expression), (iv) Article 14 (freedom from discrimination) and (v) other Articles. [76955]

Mr. Doug Henderson

Based on the latest available figures, the numbers of those discharged or dismissed since 1989 are:

Six personnel are currently challenging their dismissals at the European Court of Human Rights. To the best of our knowledge, there have been no other cases in the last 10 years.

All six of the applicants have claimed violation of their rights under: Article 8—right to respect for private and family life. Article 14—discrimination on any ground "such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.". of the Convention.

Two of the applicants have also claimed violations of their rights under: Article 3—torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Article 5—liberty and security of person. Article 10—freedom of expression.

The Court, however, declared their complaint under Article 5 alone, and in conjunction with Article 14, inadmissible.

The costs to public funds which can be separately identified are, to date, approximately £11,000, including VAT. There are also internal staff costs associated with defending these cases: these could not be separately identified.