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Report No. 267

Homophobia:

4.19 Discrimination based on sexual orientation has also led to decisions that protect sexual minorities. In Vejdeland v. Sweden,60 ECtHR upheld the decision of the Sweden Supreme Court wherein the applicants were found guilty of spreading homophobic statement. It remarked that even though offending remarks are protected under the ambit of hate speech, 'the real problem of homophobic and transphobic bullying and discrimination in educational settings may justify a restriction of freedom of expression'.61

4.20 The Supreme Court of Sweden acknowledged the applicants' right to express their ideas while at the same time stressing that along with freedoms and rights people also have obligations; one such obligation being, as far as possible, to avoid statements that are unwarrantably offensive to others, constituting an assault on their rights. The Supreme Court thereafter found that the statements in the leaflets had been unnecessarily offensive.



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