France's Face Veil Ban Goes Into Effect Today

April 11, 2011

Advocates for the ban say full-face veils are contrary to French Republican values.

Women in France no longer have complete control over what they put on in the morning as the controversial full-face veil ban goes into effect today.

The first in Europe, anyone wearning the niqab or burqa in public could now face a fine of up to €150 ($216).

Already, several people have been detained, including two women wearing the full-face veil, who were protesting against the law. Police said the people were detained for joining an unauthorised protest in central Paris. Amnesty International condemns these detentions.

John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Programme Director at Amnesty International said of the ban:

“Women in France have the right to freedom of religion and expression. They must also be free to protest when this right is violated. This law puts France to shame – a country that prides itself on the human rights it claims to promote and protect, freedom of expression included.”

The law prevents women in France from expressing their values, beliefs and identity and should be scrapped.