A reader here at Brock has approached me with the suggestion of instigating a Human Rights Complaint at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). This reader was aware of my involvement with the United Nations Human Rights Complaint against the United States and its policy of citizenship-based taxation which was filed in August 2014. That Complaint is still awaiting discussion at the UN but I am of the firm belief that our issue must be driven home in every possible forum available to us.
In Europe the ECHR is such a forum. The process by which one makes an “application” (the ECHR term for “complaint”) is described in English in a video tutorial available at the right hand side of the web page. The video can also be viewed in other languages.
The process is daunting and not for the faint-of-heart. The United Nations process was a cakewalk in comparison. However, the matter we face as an international community is of the gravest concern and there may be Brockers who reside in EU-member countries who may wish to take this fight to their governments.
Firstly, as the video states, it is necessary to take the matter to the courts of human rights in your individual European country. If your application succeeds then you have no need of further action. If it does not succeed and you wish to take it to the ECHR you must file all documentation concerning your case with your ECHR application.
Having said that, it is possible that the unique international situation created by FATCA may allow a formal complaint to be laid directly with the ECHR. The reader who has instigated the idea of an ECHR human rights action has this to say:
“This is not about all the EU Member Countries […] each on their own initiative having simultaneously embraced American FATCA — but rather a case of the United States having systematically forced it upon the entire world, under threat of punitive sanctions which only a superpower can get away with.
“On that note, I think that somebody with good professional familiarity of EU functioning could make a viable case that [a] FATCA Human Rights Complaint should be immediately and directly taken up by the European Union on behalf of all its Member Countries and their Citizens who are suffering oppression from their respective Governments — whose only reason for doing it is the unjustified and illegal pressure by the USA on the entire Globe.”
I think this is a very reasonable possibility and should serve as encouragement to those who wish to pursue this. In fact, as our reader also points out, there is already a very outspoken anti-FATCA member of the European Parliament in the person of Sophie int’Veld of the Netherlands. She would be an excellent person with whom to be in contact before initiating the complaint process. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her website (in Dutch) is http://www.sophieintveld.eu.
Another excellent contact would be Frédéric Lefebvre, a member of the French Assemblée Nationale . He has a FATCA-dedicated webpage. From his position in the French government he may be able to help bring pressure to bear on the ECHR to take action on a human rights issue directly in this case. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Not being a resident or citizen of the EU I am unable to file an application in the EU but I am certainly happy to lend a hand in whatever way I am able if any of us in Europe want to give this process a try. For starters, I am able to offer a look at our UN Complaint to any European seriously interested in pursuing this. Our document may give you valuable ideas about ways to construct your own.
To read the Complaint please email: firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions. (If the link doesn’t operate correctly please type the address in full.) Please do not ask to read the Complaint if you are not truly interested in pursuing this course of action.
All names of the signatories and all information pertaining to the sender of the document have been removed to ensure their privacy. Because our Complaint is still “before the court” I must ask that those who access the Complaint do so with the understanding that it is solely for their own use and is not to be shared.
There is urgent need for action against FATCA in Europe. Indeed, many of the worst cases of FATCA-engendered financial abuse have come out of Europe. Just today we have had disturbing news from Sweden. I’m sure that all of us here at Brock would be delighted to see a major push-back mounted by Europeans. A human rights complaint would be a great way to go.