ADF International


Shioshvili v. Russia

Date of most recent action: 20 Mar 2017

ECHR affirms the right to prenatal maternal care under Article 3

What’s at Stake:

Right to life of unborn children


Lia Shioshvili, a Georgian national who moved to Russia with her four children in 2003, could not have known that her fifth pregnancy would end so tragically.

Lia had lived in Russia with her family for over three years when, in November 2006, Russian authorities decided to expel her from the country. She was pregnant with her fifth child at the time. Over a period of several weeks, Lia 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, Lia’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. This would not have happened had the Russian authorities treated Lia with the level of care appropriate for a pregnant woman.

ADF International was granted permission by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to intervene in Lia’s case, and filed a brief with the court in April 2015 that made legal arguments in defence of unborn children. Innocent life deserves to be protected, and the brief made clear that there is a wealth of international law that affirms this. The brief cited the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Geneva Convention, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child in support of its argument.

In December 2016 the court ruled in Lia’s favour and therefore affirmed that human lives have value before birth as well as after birth. This decision does not bring back the child that Lea lost, but it does prevent the likelihood of such a tragic loss from occurring again.

Our Role in the Case

ADF International was granted permission to intervene in the case of Lia Shioshvili by the European Court of Human Rights and filed a brief with the court that makes legal arguments in defence of unborn children.

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Faith-based legal advocacy organization that protects fundamental freedoms and promotes the inherent dignity of all people.