Geneva - A United Nations committee rejected a Frenchman's appeal of his country's ban on dwarf tossing on the grounds it violated his human rights.

The 18-member UN Human Rights Committee, which oversees implementation of a 1976 treaty on civil and political rights, backed the French government contention that the law against dwarf tossing was necessary to protect human dignity and public order.

Manuel Wackenheim - a 1,17-metre stuntman known as "Mr Skyman" - said he was a victim of discrimination and that French authorities were violating his personal freedom, failing to respect his privacy and preventing him from making a living.

The real basis of human dignity, he said, was being able to work, adding that jobs for dwarves were scarce in France.

"The ban applies only to dwarves," the committee said in announcing its ruling on Friday. "The reason simply is that they are the only individuals likely to be tossed.

"The distinction between those to whom the ban applies and those who are excluded... is based on an objective judgment and is not discriminatory."

Dwarf tossing, a barroom activity which originated in Australia, involves patrons paying to throw a dwarf - who wears a harness with handles, a crash helmet and padding - onto a mattress. The longest toss wins.

Wackenheim, 35, started his act in July 1991. But he ran into trouble with the French Interior Ministry, which ordered local authorities to clamp down on dwarf tossing several months later.

After a legal battle which saw the ban upheld by France's highest court, Wackenheim turned to the European Human Rights Commission. The commission refused to hear his case in 1996. Wackenheim took his complaint to the UN committee in 1999. - Sapa-AP