The United Nations says the ruling ‘violates human rights’
In a landmark decision, the United Nations has ruled that the niqab ban in France is a human rights violation. The announcement follows the case of two women, who were prosecuted under the country’s strict face concealment laws in 2016. Women in the country are fined 150 euros (approximately AED 632) if caught wearing the niqab.
The 18-person committee investigating the two cases concluded that it risked “confining them to their homes” and “impeded their access to public services and marginalised them”.
Nearly a decade after France enforced a ban on the niqab in the country, the intergovernmental organisation condemned the law which impacts a minority of Muslim women in the country.
“The Committee was not persuaded by France’s claim that a ban on face covering was necessary and proportionate from a security standpoint or for attaining the goal of ‘living together’ in society,” a UN spokesperson said.
The law was first announced in September 2010, when it was estimated that it would affect around 2,000 niqab-wearing women out of the total of France’s 3.5 million Muslim population.
“The decisions represented the position of the committee that a general criminal ban did not allow for a reasonable balance between public interests and individual rights,” committee chair Yuval Shany said.
France will now have 180 days to prove to the United Nations that it has taken the ruling into consideration, and to compensate the two women who brought their prosecution cases to the intergovernmental organisation.