The UN criticizes France for banning headscarves in schools
France violated an international human rights treaty when it banned a woman from wearing a headscarf while attending school, a United Nations committee has ruled.
The UN Human Rights Committee said that in this case France has violated the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The decision follows a complaint filed in 2016 by a French citizen born in 1977, whose lawyer said she did not want her name published.
This woman had been attending a vocational course for adults in 2010 and had passed the interview and entrance test.
But the headmaster of the Langevin Wallon high school, located on the outskirts of Paris, had refused to let him enter the school because of a ban on the wearing of religious symbols in public educational institutions.
The UN committee said that “the ban imposed on her to participate in the course because of the headscarf constitutes a restriction of her religious freedom and is contrary to the treaty”.
This decision of the committee was approved in March, but only on August 3 was it delivered to the complainant’s lawyer.
“This is an important decision that shows that France has work to do in terms of human rights and in this particular case in respect of religious minorities, especially the Muslim community,” Sefen Guez, the lawyer of the woman who was banned from attending the course because of her headscarf. /REL