East African Asians v United Kingdom: ECHR 1973

(Commission) A group of Asian men, United Kingdom citizens, complained that, among other things, their Article 8 rights to respect for family life were infringed when they were refused permission to enter the United Kingdom to join their wives. The commission considered the meaning of degrading treatment in Article 3: ‘As a general definition of the term ‘degrading treatment’ the applicants submit that the treatment of a person is degrading ‘if it lowers him in rank, position, reputation or character, whether in his own eyes or in the eyes of other people.’ The Commission finds this broad interpretation of the ordinary meaning useful when defining the term ‘degrading treatment’ in Article 3 of the Convention. In view of the particular context in which the term is used in Article 3, the Commission considers, however, that the above interpretation must be narrowed. Article 3 states that no one shall be subjected to ‘torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’. The term ‘degrading treatment’ in this context indicates that the general purpose of the provision is to prevent interferences with the dignity of man of a particularly serious nature. It follows that an action, which lowers a person in rank, position, reputation or character, can only be regarded as ‘degrading treatment, in the sense of Article 3, where it reaches a certain level of severity.’ and ‘treatment of an individual may be said to be ‘degrading’ in the sense of Article 3 ‘if it grossly humiliates him before others or drives him to act against his will or conscience.’ This definition is similar to the interpretation reached above; in particular, the word ‘grossly’ indicates that Article 3 is only concerned with ‘degrading treatment’ which reaches a certain level of severity.’


[1973] 3 EHRR 76


European Convention on Human Rights 3 8

Cited by:

CitedRegina (T) v the Secretary of State for the Home Department; similar CA 23-Sep-2003
The claimant asylum seeker had been refused benefits having failed to declare his application on entry. The Secretary now appealed a finding that the decision was flawed. Was the treatment of the applicant inhuman or degrading?
Held: No simple . .
CitedRegina on the Application of B and others v Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office CA 18-Oct-2004
The applicant children had been detained in immigration camps in Australia. They escaped and sought refuge in the British High Commission in Melbourne and claimed diplomatic asylum. They claimed in damages after being returned to the authorities in . .
CitedAdam, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department; Limbuela v Same; Tesema v Same HL 3-Nov-2005
The applicants had each entered the UK with a view to seeking asylum, but having failed to seek asylum immediately, they had been refused any assistance, were not allowed to work and so had been left destitute. Each had claimed asylum on the day . .
CitedMoldovan And Others v Romania (No. 1) ECHR 12-Jul-2005
In 1993 a pogrom had taken place in a Roma village, resulting in a number of deaths and widespread destruction of property. The State, in the form of the local police, was alleged to have been implicated. Romania acceded to the Convention on 20 June . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Human Rights

Updated: 29 April 2022; Ref: scu.186463