UN opposes hijab ban for French athletes

By Le Figaro with AFP

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American saber fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad during the world fencing championships in Paris in 2010. Gwendoline Le Goff / PanoramiC / Gwendoline Le Goff / Panoramic

In the name of secularism, the wearing of the Islamic veil at the Paris Olympic Games is prohibited. The UN believes that “no one should dictate to a woman what she should or should not wear.”

The UN reiterated on Tuesday its opposition in principle to imposing on women what they should or should not wear, reacting to the ban on French athletes wearing the Islamic veil at the Olympic Games in France in the name of secularism.

In general, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights believes that no one should dictate to a woman what she should or should not wear.“, declared the spokesperson of the High Commission, Marta Hurtado, in response to a question during the regular press briefing of the UN in Geneva, on the statements Sunday of the French Minister of Sports, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra.

The representatives of our delegations, in our French teams, will not wear the veil.

Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, Minister of Sports.

The minister explained on Sunday in the program “Sunday in politics» on France 3 the attachment of the government «to a regime of strict secularism, strictly applied in the field of sport. What does it mean ? This means the prohibition of any form of proselytism, it means the absolute neutrality of the public service, therefore that the representatives of our delegations, in our French teams, will not wear the veil.»

Ms. Hurtado recalled that the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women requires all parties – in this case France – to take “all appropriate measures necessary to modify any social or cultural model based on the idea of ​​inferiority or superiority of one or the other sex.»

“Discriminatory practices”

But these discriminatory practices can have harmful consequences“, underlined Marta Hurtado, which is why “under international human rights standards, restrictions on the expression of religions or beliefs, such as choice of clothing, are only acceptable in very specific circumstances that proportionally and necessary address legitimate concerns in matters of public security, public order, public health or morality.»

The International Olympic Committee (IOC)is based on a logic which consists of understanding the wearing of the veil not as a religious factor but as a cultural factor», recognized the French minister, who recalled that the French position was based on a decision of the Council of State, the supreme French administrative judge.

The Council of State had maintained at the end of June the ban on wearing the hijab in women’s football.

In a judicial epilogue to a new case linked to religious symbols in public spaces, a recurring subject of debate in France, the Council of State ruled that the French Football Federation (FFF) could enact the rules it considers necessary At “the good proceedings» matches and was, as such, justified in prohibiting the wearing of the hijab on the pitches.

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