France’s highest administrative court has ruled that a town’s controversial ban on burkinis must be suspended.
The Council of State’s ruling specifically concerns the ban in the town of Villeneuve-Loubet, however the binding decision will set a legal precedent for the other areas that have imposed bans, reports SkyNews.
But not everyone is happy with the decision with the mayors of several towns – including Nice, the scene of last months’s horrific attack which left 86 people dead – insisting they will flout the court in defiance of the ruling.
The bans drew increased attention after images emerged of Muslim women being ordered to remove body-concealing garments – not burkinis – on beaches.
One woman – who gave her name as Siam – told SkyNews she was horrified when police ordered her to remove her headscarf while she was on the beach in Cannes.
She claims she was given a verbal warning when she refused to remove the garment.
This woman was at a beach in France when the police came & forced her to remove her burkini.
No difference than ISIS pic.twitter.com/LuPHfbYSZd
— Yasmine (@cinephileyas) August 24, 2016
Lawyers representing two human rights groups and a Muslim collective challenged the legality of the ban, stating it ignores basic freedoms and also that mayors don’t have the authority to tell women what they can and can’t wear.
The Council of State ruled:
The emotion and concerns arising from the terrorist attacks, notably the one perpetrated in Nice on 14 July, cannot suffice to justify in law the contested prohibition measure.
The court also stated that the burkini ban cannot be justified by ‘proven risks of disruptions to public order nor, moreover, on reasons of hygiene or decency’.
— National Post (@nationalpost) August 19, 2016
The ruling agreed that the ban represents an ‘illegal infringement on basic freedoms such as freedom to come and go, freedom of conscience and personal freedom’.
However, at least one mayor has said they will ignore the judgement and keep the ban in place.
Ange-Pierre Vivoni, mayor of Sisco, Corsica, told BFM-TV:
Here the tension is very, very, very strong and I won’t withdraw it.
It really doesn’t sound like this debate is done with just yet.