UN Human Rights Committee – Opinion on the law of October 11, 2010 (23 October 2018)

The UN Human Rights Committee, which brings together experts responsible for overseeing the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, issued an opinion today on the law of October 11, 2010, forbidding the concealment of the face in public spaces, concluding that it violated the freedom of religion and the principle of non-discrimination.

As a reminder, the law of 2010 prohibits the concealment of the face in public spaces insofar as it is deemed incompatible with the principle of fraternity and the basic core values of a democratic, open society. Everyone is free to appear in public wearing clothing that expresses a religious conviction, so long as it allows the face to be seen.

France notes that the Constitutional Court determined that the law was in compliance with the Constitution. In its decision of July 1, 2014, the European Court of Human Rights itself ruled that this law did not infringe upon either the freedom of conscience or the freedom of religion and that it is not discriminatory.

France therefore emphasizes the total legitimacy of a law whose goal is to uphold the conditions for living together harmoniously while fully exercising one’s civil and political rights, to which it is committed and which it promotes in its international actions. It will underscore its views in the follow-up report that it will convey to the UN Human Rights Committee as part of its dialogue with that body.

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