PARIS (CBSMiami/AP) — Human rights group Amnesty International is praising a French court decision against bans of burkini swimsuits, calling such decrees invasive and discriminatory.
John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe Director, said in a statement Friday: “By overturning a discriminatory ban that is fueled by and is fueling prejudice and intolerance, today’s decision has drawn an important line in the sand.”
Several French towns banned the burkini, a full-body swimsuit designed for Muslim women, for reasons including security and fears of public disorder.
France’s Council of State ruled Friday that a burkini ban in one Riviera town is not justified and violates several fundamental rights.
Many human rights groups denounced the bans, which caused shock outside French borders.
“Invasive and discriminatory measures such as these restrict women’s choices and are an assault on their freedoms,” Dalhuisen said. “The enforcement of these bans leads to abuses and the degrading treatment of Muslim women and girls.”
Lawyer Patrice Spinosi, representing the Human Rights League, told reporters that other mayors who have banned burkinis must conform to Friday’s decision regarding the town of Villeneuve-Loubet. He also said women who have already received fines can protest them based on Friday’s decision.
“It is a decision that is meant to set legal precedent,” he said. “Today all the ordinances taken should conform to the decision of the Council of State. Logically the mayors should withdraw these ordinances. If not legal actions could be taken” against those towns.
“Today the state of law is that these ordinances are not justified. They violate fundamental liberties and they should be withdrawn.”
Human Rights League was among the groups that brought the lawsuit against the town of Villeneuve-Loubet, saying the orders infringe basic freedoms.
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