France’s Highest Courts Suspend Burkini Ban

Court says ban illegally breaches fundamental freedoms

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The battle for France’s beaches has taken an unexpected turn with France’s highest administrative courts suspending a ban on the full body burkini swimsuit.

The ban was introduced to Villeneuve-Loubet, a town on the Mediterranean coast. According to the court the ban “seriously and clearly illegally breached fundamental freedoms to come and go, freedom of beliefs and individual freedom.”

They said that local authorities do not have the right to restrict individual liberties, such as swimwear, unless there is a proven risk to public order.

The court is to make final official decision on the status of burkinis later this year.

After the burkini ban was imposed in a number of French towns, including Nice which is still reeling from a recent terror attack that killed 84, social media exploded with anger both for and against the burkini with French beaches and muslim women’s swimwear now a harsh ideological battleground.

Those for the ban cite Islamic extremism and women’s liberty. Those against the ban cite religious freedom, ironically, also women’s liberty.

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Multiple images rose online of male police officers surrounding women on the beach and forcing them to strip. They’re harrowing images, regardless of both sides of the fence.

John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe director, said “French authorities must now drop the pretence that these measures do anything to protect the rights of women…These bans do nothing to increase public safety but do a lot to promote public humiliation.”

France’s Prime Minister and even former President have been in staunch support of the burkini ban. Prime Minister Manuel Valls said “For me the burkini is a symbol of the enslavement of women.”

Former president Francois Holland said “The burkini is a political act, a militant act, a provocation. Women who wear it are testing the Republic.”

 

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