ECtHR condemns France for filing an application of an alleged homosexual as a candidate for blood donation

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) on Thursday condemned France for violating the right to privacy after retaining the details of an allegedly homosexual Frenchman who was repeatedly denied blood donations.

If the collection and storage of personal data collected by the French Blood Establishment (EFS) in the context of the selection of candidates for blood donation contributes to “guaranteeing the safety of transfusion”, “it is especially important that confidential data (…) be accurate, up-to-date, adequate, up-to-date and not excessive in relation to the goals pursued, and that their storage period does not exceed the necessary,” the ECtHR insists in a press release.

During a first donation attempt in 2004, Laurent Drelon, a Frenchman born in 1970, refused to answer during a preliminary medical interview when asked if he had ever had sexual intercourse with a man. He was then listed as “homosexual” on his donor file and subsequently systematically excluded from donating blood.

Given the applicant’s refusal to answer, “the data collected, based on mere assumptions, were not based on any proven factual basis,” said the Council of Europe’s judicial body.

In addition, the excessive period of storage of these data “made it possible to reuse them against the applicant,” the court adds.

The ECtHR’s decision “is a great victory that, in retrospect, demonstrates the serious discrimination that allegedly homosexual people who sought to donate their blood have suffered for decades,” Patrice Spinosi, the applicant’s lawyer, responded.

Since 1983, homosexual men have been banned from donating blood because of the risk of AIDS transmission. Since 2016, this ban has been lifted, but subject, in particular, to abstinence for one year.

This period was reduced to four months in 2019 and then completely abolished last March with no mention of sexual orientation on pre-donation questionnaires.

Despite this change in the situation, “France’s condemnation highlights that (…) homosexuals have been illegally registered and discriminated against by the French government for nearly twenty years,” Mé Spinosi believes.

The ECtHR ordered France to pay Mr Drelon 3,000 euros for “moral damages” and 9,000 euros “for costs and expenses”.

On the other hand, the Strasbourg court declared inadmissible another request from 2018 concerning more general measures to exclude gifts taken in 2004 and 2006, considering the complaint belated.

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