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2010

  • 11 October 2010 : Promulgation of the law banning wearing of the full veil in public

Law No. 2010-1192 (in French) of 11 October 2010 banning concealment of the face in public has been published in the Official Journal.
Following the work of the fact-finding mission on the practice of wearing the full veil on national territory (see Current debates Automn 2009), this law aimed to ban the full veil in all public places (public roads, places open to the public and places assigned to a public service).
Failure to comply with this ban will be punished by a fine of up to 150 euros, which can be supplemented or replaced by the obligation to undertake a citizenship course.
The law also punishes anyone imposing on one or more other persons “that they conceal their face because of their gender, whether by using threats, violence, coercion, abuse of authority or power”. They risk one year imprisonment and a fine of 30,000 euros.

  • 16 July 2010 : Mobilisation of Christian associations against a new immigration bill

46 organisations, movements, associations, Christian services or those of Christian inspiration were mobilised alongside other members of civil society against a draft bill on immigration, integration and nationality being debated in the National Assembly. This collective of Christian associations and organisations initiated by ACAT-France, CCFD-Terre Solidaire, FEP (Federation of Protestant Mutual Aid), Cimade (an Ecumenical mutual aid service), Catholic relief services and the SNPM (National Service for the Pastoral Care of migrants) considered that the new bill introduced by the Minister for Immigration, Integration, National Identity and Solidarity-based Development would, if passed in its current form, seriously infringe the rights of foreigners in France.
An appeal was broadcast, accompanied by the message : "Let us not weaken foreigners’ rights".
Pastor Claude Baty, President of the Protestant Federation of France, also provided his support for the campaign. As for the Catholic Church, the bishops of the Commission for the Universal Mission of the Church also issued a déclaration, listing five points that "question the conscience" of the bishops who had signed it.

  • 6 July 2010 : Bill forbidding the concealment of the face in public

A bill banning the concealment of the face in public space has been under discussion at the National Assembly since 6 July 2010. Following the work of the fact-finding mission on the practice of the wearing of the full veil on the national territory (see current debates Autumn 2009), this bill aims to ban the full veil in all public spaces (streets, places open to the public and places assigned to a public service).
Failure to comply with this ban will be sanctioned by a fine of up to 150 Euros, which can be supplemented or replaced by the requirement to take a course in citizenship.
The bill also punishes, for infringements of human dignity, compelling a person on account of gender to cover his or her face (one year imprisonment and fine of 15,000 Euros).

  • 30 March 2010 : Study on the legal options for a ban on the wearing of the full veil

In his letter of 29 January 2010, the Prime Minister entrusted the Council of State with the mission of studying "legal solutions enabling the implementation of a ban on the wearing of the full veil", which was to be "the broadest and most effective [ban] possible".
The Council of State submitted its study to the Prime Minister on Tuesday, 30 March 2010 :
- Firstly, it considered that any absolute, blanket ban on wearing the full veil as such would be open to legal challenge, being without unquestionable legal foundation.
- It also examined the possibility of a ban on concealing the face, regardless of the dress adopted. Even in this broader perspective, a ban in all public areas would still face serious legal obstacles in view of rights and freedoms guaranteed in the constitution and conventions.
- On the other hand, the Council of State believed that public safety and the fight against fraud, reinforced by the requirements of certain public services, would be enough to justify the requirements of keeping one’s face uncovered, whether in certain places or to perform certain procedures.

The Minister of the Interior, Brice Hortefeux, said it was necessary to go "as far as possible towards a general ban on the full veil, while respecting general principles of law" and specified that the government "will introduce a bill which is as proactive as possible".

For further information : read the summary and full text of the report on the website of the Council of State.

  • 26 January 2010 : Wearing the full veil and republican values

Created in July 2009, the parliamentary fact-finding mission on the practice of wearing the full veil on the national territory submitted its report on 26 January 2010.
The report recommends the passing of a resolution by the National Assembly reaffirming republican values and condemning as contrary to these values the practice of wearing the full veil. In order to "strengthen public servants", it recommends "giving a legal basis to the requirement for faces not to be concealed throughout the whole of public services and public transport".
Regarding a general ban in law, "the mission can only state that, as much within itself as within the political parties represented in Parliament, there is no unanimity - at least for now - in favour of the adoption in law of a general, blanket ban of the full veil in public".

So as to quickly submit to Parliament a bill on this issue, the Prime Minister, François Fillon, asked the Council of State to study "the legal solutions for achieving a ban on wearing the full veil that [he] wants to be the broadest and most effective possible".

Eric Besson, Minister of Immigration, Integration, National Identity and Solidarity Development also indicated on Tuesday 2 February that he had countersigned and transmitted to the Prime Minister a draft decree denying the acquisition of French nationality to a man who, according to the release, "imposed on his wife the wearing of the full veil" - a measure that "deprives the freedom to come and go with face uncovered and rejects the principles of secularity and equality between men and women". The Prime Minister said he would sign the decree following advice from the Council of State.

For further information, see :
- The rapport of the parliamentary fact-finding mission on the practice of wearing the full veil on the national territory
- The letter du premier ministre demandant au Conseil d’Etat d’étudier les solutions juridiques pour interdir le port du voile intégral
- The press release from the Minister of Immigration on the denial of naturalisation

15 novembre 2010