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Application no. 4066/20
Chrysoula POMONI and Others
against Greece

The European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting on 14 March 2023 as a Committee composed of:

Yonko Grozev, President,
Peeter Roosma,
Ioannis Ktistakis, judges,
and Olga Chernishova, Deputy Section Registrar,

Having regard to:

the application (no. 4066/20) against the Hellenic Republic lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) on 13 January 2020 by the three applicants listed in the appended table (“the applicants”), who were represented by the Greek Helsinki Monitor, a non-governmental organisation practising in Glyka Nera, following the decision of the President of the Section on 27 January 2021 to grant leave to that organisation to represent the applicants;

the decision to give notice of the application to the Greek Government (“the Government”), represented by their Agent’s delegate, Mrs A. Dimitrakopoulou, Senior Adviser at the State Legal Council;

the parties’ observations;

Having deliberated, decides as follows:


1. The first applicant is the mother of the second and third applicants, who are twins. On 5 November 2019 she went to the Greek consulate in Berlin to declare the birth of her children. She filled in a pre-printed form and, on the basis of her declaration, a consulate employee registered their birth. The preprinted form included a space in which to enter the religion of the children’s parents and a separate section for christening details. The first applicant declared her religion and that of the father, and left the space for christening details blank. She signed the two birth registration acts and received copies.

2. Under Article 9 of the Convention, the applicants complained that the structure of the children’s birth registration acts and the requirement to provide certain data had violated their right to freedom of religion. In particular, the first applicant complained about the requirement under Article 22 (e) of Law no. 344/1976 to declare her religious beliefs when registering the birth of her children. All three applicants complained about the section of the pre-printed form reserved for christening details. They further complained that they had had no effective remedy at their disposal to complain of a violation of their right to freedom of religion.


3. The Government maintained that the application should be rejected for lack of victim status of the applicants, as the first applicant had voluntarily declared her religion, whereas the christening section had not been filled in. They also put forward an objection of non-exhaustion of domestic remedies, arguing that the applicants could have requested the correction of the birth registration acts, could have lodged an application for annulment, or could have requested compensation for the damage sustained. Furthermore, according to the Government, the facts of the present case disclosed no violation of Articles 9 and 13 of the Convention. The applicants disagreed and reaffirmed their complaint.

4. The Court notes that in its decision in Papanikolaou v. Greece ((dec.) no. 45794/19, 13 December 2022) concerning the inclusion of the parents’ religion in the birth registration act of their child, it concluded that the applicants had failed to exhaust domestic remedies because they had not lodged an application for annulment of the birth registration act with the Supreme Administrative Court.

5. The Court observes that the same circumstances obtain in the present case, as the applicants did not lodge an application for annulment of the children’s birth registration acts on the basis that the registration requirements were in breach of Article 13 of the Constitution and Article 9 of the Convention. There is therefore currently no indication that this remedy is either inadequate or ineffective. The Court does not find any exceptional circumstances releasing the applicants from the obligation to avail themselves of the above remedy.

6. It follows that the applicants’ complaint under Article 9 of the Convention is inadmissible under Article 35 § 1 of the Convention for nonexhaustion of domestic remedies and must be rejected pursuant to Article 35 § 4 thereof.

7. In view of this conclusion, the Court finds the complaint under Article 13 of the Convention inadmissible as manifestly ill-founded pursuant to Article 35 §§ 3 (a) and 4 of the Convention.

For these reasons, the Court, unanimously,

Declares the application inadmissible.

Done in English and notified in writing on 6 April 2023.

Olga Chernishova Yonko Grozev
Deputy Registrar President


List of applicants


Applicant’s Name

Year of birth


Place of residence


Chrysoula POMONI





Charalampos POMONIS





Vasileios POMONIS