The United Nations (UN) has welcomed a decision by a top French court to suspend a controversial ban on Muslim women’s full-body swimwear, known as burkini, saying such bans fuel religious intolerance in the country.
Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the UN rights office, made the remarks on Tuesday after France’s highest administrative court ruled the ban on burkinis is “seriously and clearly illegal.”
“These decrees do not improve the security situation but rather fuel religious intolerance and the stigmatization of Muslims in France, especially women,” Colville said.
The law had come into force in about 30 French coastal resorts this summer.
Despite the court ruling, as many as 28 French mayors still defiantly uphold the ban, and right-wing politicians have pledged to pass legislation at a central government level to maintain the law.
Local authorities in the city of Nice have also pledged to “continue to fine” anyone caught wearing burkinis.
For breaking the burkini ban, one will face fines of €38 ($42), the mayor of the French city of Cannes has said.
France has a history in banning Islamic wearing for women. In April 2011, it became the first European country to ban public wearing of the full-face Islamic veil, called burqa.