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French court has overturned the controversial burkini ban

26th August 2016

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After global shock and outrage, France’s top administrative court has overturned the controversial burkini ban in one town. The ban meant that some Muslim women were ordered to remove body-concealing garments on French Riviera beaches.

The ruling by the Council of State specifically concerns a ban in the Riviera town of Villeneuve-Loubet, but the binding decision is expected to set a legal precedent for the 30 or so French resort municipalities that have issued similar decrees.

Lawyers for two human rights groups challenged the legality of the ban, saying the orders infringe basic freedoms and that mayors have overstepped their powers by telling women what to wear on beaches.

Mayors had cited concern about public order after deadly Islamic extremist attacks this summer, and many officials have argued that burkinis oppress women.

Lawyer Patrice Spinosi, representing the Human Rights League, told reporters that the decision should set a precedent, and that other mayors should conform to it.

He also said women who have already received fines can protest against them based on today’s decision.

Yesterday in London, activists protested against the ban outside the French embassy.

(Frank Augstein/AP)
(Frank Augstein/AP)

After all the outrage around the ban, the reaction to this news has largely been of one of relief as human rights are seen to have been restored.

As you can see, although many are relieved at this outcome, the ban itself has left something of a sour taste.

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