The UN on Tuesday reiterated its opposition in principle to imposing on women what they should wear or not, 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 impose on a woman what she should or should not wear," OHCHR spokeswoman Marta Hurtado said in response to a question at the regular UN press briefing in Geneva about Sunday's statements by the French sports minister. Amélie Oudéa-Castéra.
Oudéa-Castéra wants to fight against "all forms of proselytism"
The minister had explained 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 that mean? It means the prohibition of any form of proselytism, it means the absolute neutrality of the public service, so that the representatives of our delegations, in our teams of France, will not wear the veil, "she said.
Ms. Hurtado recalled that the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women obliges all parties - in this case the France - to take "all appropriate measures necessary to modify any social or cultural model based on the idea of inferiority or superiority of either sex."
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"But these discriminatory practices can have harmful consequences," she stressed, which is why "according to international human rights standards, restrictions on the expression of religion or belief, such as the choice of clothing, are acceptable only in very specific circumstances that respond proportionately and necessarily to legitimate public security concerns. of public order, public health or morality. »
The Council of State had maintained the ban in football
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) "is on a logic that consists in understanding the wearing of the veil not as a cultic factor but as a cultural factor," acknowledged the French minister, who recalled that the French position was based on a decision of the Council of State, the supreme French administrative judge. At the end of June, the Council of State upheld the ban on wearing the hijab in women's football.
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In a judicial epilogue to a new case related 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 for the "smooth running" of matches and was, as such, justified in prohibiting the wearing of the hijab on the field.