French court strikes out local 'burkini ban'

Lille court overturns local mayor's decision to maintain controversial ban on concealing swimwear

French court strikes out local 'burkini ban'


By Hajer M'tiri


A French court suspended Friday a so-called “burkini ban” maintained by a local mayor in defiance of a French Council of State decision to overturn it.

Lille Administrative Court struck out the ordinance by the mayor of Le Touquet -- a district in the Pas-de-Calais department of northern France -- to persist with the ban on the concealing swimwear mainly worn by Muslim women.

A decision on Aug. 26 by France’s Council of State -- the country’s top court -- ruled that the ban “brought a serious and manifestly illegal violation of fundamental freedoms such as freedom to come and go, freedom of conscience and personal freedoms".

That ruling, which applied to the ban imposed by the southeastern town of Villeneuve-Loubet, canceled orders issued by lower-court judges in Nice and represented an immediate suspension of the restriction which was operating in 26 separate localities.

However, several French mayors defied the ruling and police continued to fine women on some public beaches and in resort towns.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Rupert Colville said the ban was “highly discriminatory” and urged the seaside towns at the heart of the dispute to repeal their restrictions on the garment.

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