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Port de signes religieux

Following the report by the Committee for Reflection on the Application of the Principle of Secularity in the Republic (“Stasi Report”), Parliament passed the Act of 15 March 2004 governing the wearing of signs or clothing denoting religious affiliation in state primary and secondary schools. A Circular of 18 May 2004 specifies the conditions for its implementation (on this, see the topic Religion and Society).

Following up on the work undertaken by the Fact-finding Mission on the Practice of Wearing the Full Veil on French Territory (see Current Debates – October 2010), Law no. 2010-1192 of 11 October 2010, banning concealment of the face in public, aims to ban the full veil in all public places (on public streets, places open to the public and those assigned to a public service, Article 2). Failing to observe this ban is sanctioned by a fine of maximum 150 euros ; this can be supplemented or substituted by the obligation to undertake a citizenship course (Article 3). In addition, the law punishes the act of any person imposing on one or more other people, due to their gender, concealment of their face using threat, violence, force, abuse of authority or abuse of power (one year imprisonment and 30,000 euros fine, Article 4).

The Circular of 2 March 2011 specifies the conditions of application of this ban (scope of application of the law, conduct to uphold in public service and information for the public).

In its decision no. 2010-613 DC of 7 October 2010, the Constitutional Council considered that “the legislator assessed that such practices [concealment of the face] can constitute a danger for public safety and ignore the minimal requirements for life in society ; [it] also considered that women concealing their face, voluntarily or not, are being placed in a position of exclusion and inferiority that is obviously incompatible with the constitutional principles of freedom and equality”. It determines that this law enacts a conciliation which is "not patently disproportionate" between safeguarding public order and guaranteeing constitutionally protected rights. (See also, on the first judgments of the Court of Cassation on the wearing of a full veil, the section Current Debates, March 2013).

D 12 octobre 2022    AFrançoise Curtit

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