Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Hiroshima's Healing Hug

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Uganda Terror Trial: Five jailed for life for 2010 Al-Shabaab World Cup Bombings

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Obama in Hiroshima and Austria's close call (part 1)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

French labour strikes, raids on Google and McDonald's (part 2)

Read more

REPORTERS

Ukraine: Searching for missing people in Donbass

Read more

REVISITED

Video: What remains of the Gezi movement in Turkey?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Euro 2016: France readies for kick off

Read more

ENCORE!

Anne A-R : The people beyond the numbers: A photographic manifesto from the migrant trail

Read more

ENCORE!

Video: Ken Loach wins his second Palme d'Or in Cannes

Read more

France

Kouchner expects international backlash over burqa ban

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-05-19

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said Sunday that France will likely be severely criticised for banning of the face-covering Islamic veil. Kouchner stated that several countries would consider the ban an infringement on religious freedom.

AFP - Governments worldwide will probably point a disapproving finger at France for banning the full Islamic veil, Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said Sunday.

President Nicolas Sarkozy's government is drafting a bill that would make it illegal to wear the face-covering veil, making France the second European country after Belgium to move toward a ban of the garment, known as the burqa.

"There will of course be European countries that will protest," Kouchner told Europe 1 radio, citing Denmark and the Netherlands who see the ban as an infringement on religious freedoms.

"The United States are keen to defend religious freedom and there will be many NGOs and foundations that will want to show that we are mistaken," he added.

Kouchner also singled out Pakistan and Turkey as countries "where we will be criticised" and noted that Saudi Arabia will seize on the legislation to justify its repressive laws against women.

"Saudi Arabia will say "fine, you have the right to do what you want in your country and I also have the right to do what I want, for example, not allow women to drive," Kouchner said.

The minister, who earned a reputation as a humanitarian and outspoken rights defender before he joined Sarkozy's government in 2007, said he had raised all of these "obstacles" during a recent cabinet meeting.

Sarkozy decided last month to forge ahead with a total ban on the burqa despite warnings from the State Council, the top administrative body, that the law could be struck down as unconstitutional.

'These bans will not help women who are forced to wear the veil.' - J. Sunderland, Human Rights Watch, Milan
Kouchner argued that banning the burqa was not a matter of religious freedom, but of women's rights.

"I am in favour of supporting a woman's right to dignity," said the foreign minister, adding that women should not be "locked up" by wearing the head-to-toe veil.

The government is set to approve a draft bill on May 19 that would then go to parliament in July.
 

Date created : 2010-05-03

  • FRANCE

    Proposed burqa ban will also be imposed on tourists

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Legislation under way to ban full-face veil from public places

    Read more

  • ART

    Franco-Moroccan visual artist Majida Khattari unveils her burqas

    Read more

COMMENT(S)