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ADF Intl defends right to life of unborn before European Court

Georgian woman lost child after mistreatment by Russian authorities
ADF defends Chinese Christian seeking asylum in the U.S.

STRASBOURG, France – ADF International filed a brief with the European Court of Human Rights Thursday that makes legal arguments in defense of unborn children. The court granted ADF International permission to intervene in the case of Lia Shioshvili, a Georgian national who gave birth to a stillborn child after Russian authorities mistreated her.

“Every innocent life deserves to be protected, and as our brief makes clear, a wealth of international law affirms that,” said ADF International Legal Counsel Robert Clarke. “Human life has value before birth as well as after birth. The ECHR now has the opportunity to affirm this, in line with so much international law that recognizes the life of the unborn.”

Shioshvili moved to Russia with her four children in April 2003. In November 2006, when she was eight months pregnant with her fifth child, Russian authorities decided to expel her from the country.

Over a period of several weeks, Shioshvili attempted to travel back to Georgia with her children. She experienced numerous problems at the hands of migration officers, who left her in the cold for prolonged periods of time, failed to offer her food and water, and refused to let her take a seat as she waited for hours to have her documents checked. As a result, Shioshvili’s health worsened. She suffered cold, fever, depression, and repeated asthma attacks. Days later she experienced severe abdominal pain and gave birth to a stillborn child.

In its brief in Shioshvili v. Russia, ADF International submitted that protections afforded to the unborn child both at the national level in member states and in international treaties demonstrates that the ECHR should recognize and protect unborn human life.

In support of its argument, the brief cites international law, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966), the Geneva Convention (1949), and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989).

“Given the clear references within international and regional human rights treaties, there is good reason to suggest that the international legal framework can, and should, be understood as protecting unborn life,” explained Deputy Director of ADF International Roger Kiska. “We hope that the ECHR will agree for the benefit of Lia, her lost child, and all women and children like them throughout Europe.”

  • Pronunciation guide: Kiska (KISH’-kuh)

ADF International is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.


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