GENEVA — Kuwait called on France to reconsider its ban on wearing Islamic face veils in public during a speech at the UN Human Rights Council, Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) reported Tuesday.
The adviser of the permanent Kuwaiti delegation at the United Nations, Malik Al-Wazzan, said in a speech in Geneva that the French government should reconsider the ban and “protect the human rights in discrimination and inequalities toward foreigners and those with different beliefs,” KUNA reported.
France’s ban on full face veils, a first in Europe, came into force on April 2011, and anyone wearing the Muslim hijab or burqa in public faces a fine of €150 ($216), or lessons in French citizenship.
The French government, which passed the law in October, has rolled out a public relations campaign to explain the ban and the rules of its application that includes posters, pamphlets and a government-hosted website.
Guidelines spelled out in the pamphlet forbid police from asking women to remove their burqa or full-face veil in the street. They will instead be escorted to a police station and asked to remove the veil there for identification.
Widely criticized by Muslims abroad as impinging on their religious freedom, the law has provoked a limited backlash in France where a strict separation of church and state is seen as central to maintaining a peaceful civil society.
In September, France also banned praying in the street and later that month the Dutch government followed suit and banned Muslim women from wearing face-covering veils. — Agencies