University of Minnesota

O. W. (name deleted) v. Jamaica, Communication No. 227/1987,
CCPR/C/33/D/227/1987 (1988).


Communication No. 228/1987

Submitted by: C. L. D. [name deleted)

Alleged victim: The author

State party concerned: France

Date of communication: 16 May 1987 (date of initial letter)

The Human Rights Committee, established under article 28 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Meeting on 18 July 1988

adopts the following:

Decision on admissibility

1. The author of the communication (initial letter dated 16 May 1987; further letters dated 23 June,, 21 July, 2 and 23 August, 30 October, 2
December 1987, 18 January, 10 February, 8 and 4 18 April, and 10 May, 6, 8, 27 and 30 June 1988)is C. L. D. , a French citizen born in 1956 at Lannejen, France. He claims to be a victim of violations by the Government of France of articles 2 (l-3), 19 (2), 26 and 27 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

2.1 In his initial submission, the author states that the French Postal :' Administration (PTT) has refused to issue him postal cheques printed in the Breton language, which he asserts is his mother tongue. Many persons in his district of residence are said to be proficient in Breton and numerous employees of the local postal administration process letters addressed in Breton. He observes in this connection that other countries have adjusted to multiple language correspondence. In a subsequent letter of 21 July 1987, the author claims that the refusal by the French fiscal authorities to acknowledge the text of his address written in Breton also violates the above-mentioned articles of the Covenant. He further alleges that the fact that the fiscal authorities have refused to take into consideration information provided by him in Breton has resulted in his being asked to pay taxes which do not take into account tax-deductible professional expenses.
2.2 With respect to the requirement of exhaustion of domestic remedies, the author states that he has sought the annulment of a decision of the Regional Chief of the Postal Administration in Rennes, dated 27 August 1985, rejecting his request to have his postal cheques printed in Breton. The author states that on 28 October 1985 he filed an action against the PTT with the Administrative Tribunal of Rennes with a view to having the above decision reversed. With respect to the second complaint, directed against the Ministry of the Economy and Finance, he states that he filed a complaint with the Administrative Tribunal of Rennes on 21 July 1986, requesting the annulment of which he refers to as the implicit rejection of his complaint by the fiscal authorities". A further complaint submitted to the same tribunal asking for annulment of a request by the Regional Head Office of Fiscal Services (Finistère) to submit an account of his professional expenses for 1984, in French rather than in Breton, was rejected by judgement of 13 May 1987.

By decision dated 1 July 1987, addressed to the author only, the Working Group of the Human Rights Committee requested further clarifications from the author as to steps taken by him to exhaust domestic remedies after his petition of 28 October 1985 to the Administrative Tribunal.

4.1 By letter dated 30 October 1987, the author replied to the questions posed by the Working Group. He states that he has taken no steps to exhaust domestic remedies after petitioning the Administrative Tribunal on 28 October 1985. With respect to his action against the Ministry of the Economy and Finance (address in Breton and statements of professional expenditures), the author claims that there have been no new developments since his earlier submissions to the Committee.

4.2 Under cover of a letter dated 6 June 1988, the author forwards the texts of two judgements rendered by the Administrative Tribunal on 26 May 1988, dismissing his actions against the PTT and against the Ministry of the Economy and Finance. The Tribunal endorsed the conclusions of the representatives of the PTT and of the Ministry of the Economy and Finance, copies of which the author forwarded under cover of a letter dated 27 June 1988. The author argues that he does not intend to appeal against these judgments to the Conseil d'Etat, since this would cause "considerable delays" and because he is convinced that-the result would, in any case, not be, favourable to him.

5.1 Before considering any claims contained in a communication, the Human Rights Committee must, in accordance with rule 87 of its provisional rules of procedure, decide whether or not it is admissible under the Optional Protocol to the Covenant.

5.2 The Committee has ascertained, as it is required to do under article S(2)(a)of the Optional Protocol, that the same matter is not being examined under another procedure of international investigation or settlement.

5.3 With respect to the requirement of exhaustion of domestic remedies under article 5(2)(b)of the Optional Protocol, the Committee notes that the author does
not intend to appeal the judgments of the Administrative Tribunal of Rennes of 26 May 1988 to the Conseil d'Etat, given the delays that an appeal would entail and because of his belief that such an appeal would be dismissed. The Committee finds, however, that, in the particular circumstances disclosed by the communication, the author's contentions did not absolve him from the obligation to pursue remedies available to him. It concludes that the further pursuit of the author's case could not be deemed a priori futile and observes that mere doubts about the success of a remedy do not render it ineffective and cannot be admitted as a justification for non-compliance. Unable to find that the application of domestic remedies in this case has been unreasonably prolonged, the Committee concludes that the requirement of article S(2)(b)of the Optional Protocol has not been met.

6. The Human Rights Committee therefore decides:

1. That the communication is inadmissible

2. That this decision be communicated to the author and, for information, to the State party.

Home || Treaties || Search || Links