G.D. and S.F. v. France



The authors are two French women who are unmarried and have no children. Both authors were automatically given their father’s last name pursuant to a customary rule in force at the time of their birth.

Although the authors were abandoned by their fathers by an early age, raised exclusively by their mothers, and used their mother’s family name unofficially, they continue to be officially registered under their father’s family name. On 26 May 2006, after unsuccessfully pursuing a number of administrative procedures at the domestic level, the authors appealed to the Committee under Article 16(1), which requires non-discrimination between the rights of husband and wife, including the right to choose a family name and to transmit the family name to children.

The Committee, while acknowledging the hardship encountered by the authors, held the communication inadmissible because the authors did not qualify as victims under the meaning of Article 2 of the Optional Protocol. Since both women were unmarried, did not live in husband-and-wife relationships, and did not have children, they could not assert their rights under Article 16 of the Convention, whose beneficiaries are only married women, women living in de facto union, or mothers.

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Last updated on 07/08/2015