By Chris King •
Updated: 26 Sep 2023 • 20:19
Image of Iranian athlete wearing a hijab during Rio Olympics in 2016.
Credit: Javid Nikpour/Creative Commons Attribution 4.0
DUE to the principle of secularism, French athletes will not be permitted to wear Islamic veils during the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Last Sunday, September 24, appearing as a guest on the France 3 show ‘Sunday in Politics’, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, the Minister of Sports, explained the government’s commitment: ‘to a strict secular regime, strictly applied in the field of sport’.
She continued: ‘What does that mean? It means a ban on all forms of pro-sectarianism, it means the absolute neutrality of the public service, which means that the representatives of our delegations, in our French teams, will not wear the veil’.
Oudéa-Castéra said that after deliberating with French PM Elisabeth Borne, officials were seeking ‘absolute neutrality’ at the Games in the country’s capital.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) allows athletes to wear an Islamic headscarf during their activities. ‘The IOC, which governs these rules of participation, is following a logic which consists of understanding the wearing of the veil not as a religious factor, but as a cultural factor’, commented Oudéa-Castéra.
She recalled that the French position was based on a decision handed down by the Council of State, the French supreme administrative judge.
On June 29, the Council of State maintained the ban on the wearing of the hijab in women’s football matches. The wearing of religious symbols in public spaces is a recurring subject of debate in France.
As a result, the Council of State ruled that the French Football Federation (FFF) could apply the rules it considered necessary to allow the ‘smooth running’ of the matches. This was justified by prohibiting the wearing of the hijab on the pitches, reported marianne.net.
Reacting to the French ban, the UN reiterated this Tuesday 26, its opposition in principle to imposing on women what they should or should not wear.
In response to a question during the regular UN press briefing in Geneva, Marta Hurtado, the OHCHR spokesperson spokesperson said: ‘In general, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights believes that no one should dictate to a woman what she should or should not wear’, reported lefigaro.fr.
She pointed out that the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women required all parties – in this case France – to take: ‘All appropriate measures necessary to modify any social or cultural model based on the idea of inferiority or superiority of one or the other sex’.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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