PARIS, (Pakistan Point News - APP -26th Augst,2016) : France's highest administrative court will decide Friday whether to overturn bans on wearing the full-body burkini swimsuit which have sparked controversy at home and abroad. The State Council has heard arguments from the Human Rights League and an anti-Islamophobia group which are seeking to reverse a decision by the southern town of Villeneuve-Loubet to ban the Islamic garment. The ruling, due at 3:00 pm (1300 GMT), is likely to set a precedent for around 30 French towns which have banned the burkini, mostly along the southeast coast.
A court in the Riviera resort of Nice upheld the Villeneuve-Loubet ban this week. The burkini bans have triggered a fierce debate about the wearing of the full-body swimsuit, women's rights and the French state's strictly-guarded secularism. President Francois Hollande said Thursday that life in France "supposes that everyone sticks to the rules and that there is neither provocation nor stigmatisation". The court's ruling will be watched closely abroad as well.
John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International's Europe director, said the French justice system should overturn "a discriminatory ban that is fuelled by and is fuelling prejudice and intolerance". "French authorities should drop the pretence that these measures do anything to protect the rights of women," he said. Anger over the issue was further inflamed this week when photographs in the British media showed police surrounding a woman in a headscarf on a beach in Nice as she removed a long-sleeved top. The office of Nice's mayor denied that the woman had been forced to remove clothing, telling AFP she was showing police the swimsuit she was wearing under her top, over a pair of leggings, when the picture was taken. The police fined her and she left the beach, the officials added.