Marangopoulos Foundation for Human Rights

Item 8. Follow-up and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and

Programme of Action

The effective application of paragraph 5, chapter I and paragraph 28, chapter II of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action

I refer to our written statement A/HRC/15/NGO/43. The Marangopoulos Foundation for Human Rights and others have already called attention to the adverse implications of Council resolution 12/21 which, contrary to obligations undertaken in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of action, aligned the Council in favour of a re-examination of the relation between traditional values and practices and human rights.

Laudable exceptions to this dangerous tendency, are the laws prohibiting the full-face veil in public places passed in France and Belgium; and placing certain restrictions on the practice in Morocco, Syria, Turkey and several other Muslim countries.

We regret that In June 2010 the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe declared its position against a general ban of full veiling.

Is the full-face veil religious attire? Neither the Koran nor any other religious work requires it. Nor does it comprise part of a religious ritual or manifestation as does the cassock worn by priests.

The covering of a woman's face is to deny her the ability to communicate her personality, rendering her in effect invisible. It is a grave violation of a human right -- equality for all without discrimination. In practice it violates: the right of the woman to freely develop her personality, the right to work outside the home, the right to choose one's spouse freely, the right to exercise political rights including running for public office, the right to good health, and the right of the child to an education directed to belief in equality of the sexes and equal respect for both parents.

We reaffirm the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action as well as paragraph 230 (g) of the Bejing Platform for Action on the predominance of human rights over traditional values and practices. All traditions and laws imposing the full-face veil are contrary to the universality of human rights and should be abolished in every country in the world so as to render to every woman the visibility of her personality, her freedom and her equality.

September 28, 2010