Discotheque Case

Concerning B.J., a Danish engineer of Iranian origin (represented by legal counsel) vs Denmark for violation of articles 2 and 5 of CERD.

The author went to a discotheque in Odense with his brother and a group of friends. Two of them were of Danish origin and four were not. The doorman of the discotheque, Mr. M.R.S., refused to let them in. When the author asked the reason Mr. M.R.S. replied that it was because they were “foreigners”. The author filed a written complaint that was rejected by the police. The Public Prosecutor brought the case before the District Court of Odense. The Court ruled that Mr. M.R.S. was to be fined DKK 1,000 for racial discrimination.

The author had also requested the Public Prosecutor to file a claim for compensation. In that respect the court decided that the violation to which the author had been subjected was not of such a grave or humiliating character as to justify the granting of pecuniary compensation. Thus a complaint was sent to CERD.

The committee considers that, being refused access to a place of service intended for the use of the general public solely on the ground of a person’s national or ethnic background is a humiliating experience. In the opinion of the Committee, such an experience may merit economic compensation and cannot always be adequately repaired or satisfied by merely imposing a criminal sanction on the perpetrator.  The Committee recommends that the State party take the measures necessary to ensure that the victims of racial discrimination seeking just and adequate reparation or satisfaction including economic compensation, will have their claims considered with due respect for situations where the discrimination has not resulted in any physical damage but humiliation or similar suffering.

24. March 2020

CERD 17/1999
  • Decision: 8. May 2000
  • Comm: Race