Headscarf ban: once again, the UN condemns France reminding it the law of 2004 undermines religious freedom

CCIE
door 3 augustus 2022

Le Comité des droits de l’Homme de l’ONU vient de rendre une décision importante dans un dossier géré par le CCIF depuis 2010. Ce dossier, qui a suivi un cheminement similaire à l’affaire Babyloup, porte sur une discrimination visant une étudiante interdite de participer à une formation parce qu’elle porte un foulard. 
Saisi en 2016, après que tous les recours internes aient été rejetés, le Comité de l’ONU a déclaré ce 3 août 2022 que la France est en violation du Pacte international relatif aux droits civils et politiques. Il ajoute que cette discrimination constitue « une restriction portant atteinte à sa liberté de religion » et rappelle les réserves qu’il avait déjà exprimées en 2012 quant à la loi de 2004 sur les signes religieux dans les écoles publiques françaises.

“This law [on religious symbols in public schools] violates the freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs and […] particularly affects people of certain religions and girls.”

Observations conducted by the Committee (August 3, 2022)

It is in these terms that the stance of the UN is further clarified, since it no longer merely expresses concerns at the marginalizing effects of the 2004 law. It now clearly qualifies it as an attack on freedom. The UN has told a truth for which French organizations, who proved it in the past, were dissolved.

The findings of the UN Committee also show (as have many reports on Islamophobia) that those most affected by the 2004 law are Muslim women wearing the headscarf (article 8.14) and that we are currently facing what several sociological studies have called an “intersectional discrimination based on gender and religion.” The differential treatment resulting from this discrimination violates article 26 of the International Covenant.
France, who is a signatory to this Covenant, is now required to correct the injustice committed and to inform the Human Rights Committee of the measures it has taken within six months..Irrespectively, as was already the case in the Babyloup affair, the French government remains deaf to international studies and is unable to honor the commitment it made by signing the Covenant relating to civil and political rights. By disrespecting this international Covenant, the French government has, once again, displayed its contempt for the rule of law and fundamental freedoms under the gaze of international observers.

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