Baby-Loup: UN points to "religious discrimination"

For the UN, the dismissal of Fatima Afif in 2008 constitutes "discrimination … on the basis of sex and religion".

A new episode in this sounding case about secularism. On 10 August the UN Human Rights Committee formulated its conclusions, in which France was challenged about religious discrimination after the resignation, ten years ago, of a veiled employee of the private cradle Baby-Loup. This report has been revealed by the Obsand AFP could consult it.

This case dates from 2008. Fatima Afif, a Moroccan employee in the crèche, located in Chanteloup-les-Vignes (Yvelines), is fired for serious misconduct after she refused to put her veil to work on her return to parental leave. This day nursery emphasizes the prohibition on wearing religious symbols in the name of neutrality.

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The employee, who is claiming for justice, is twice dismissed by the court. More than five years of judicial turns and debates between advocates of secularism and defenders of religious freedom followed.

In a judgment of March 2013, strongly criticized, the social chamber of the Court of Cassation gives reason to the employee, saying that "in the case of a private nursery", the resignation constitutes "discrimination because of religious beliefs". But his resignation is then confirmed in 2014 by the Court of Cassation.

"Restricting the freedom of religion" of the employee

Since 2004 it has been forbidden in France to wear "flashy religious symbols" (sailing, kippa …) at school and since 2011 to "hide his face", namely to wear the complete veil in the school. public space. But a new direction in the matter: the UN Human Rights Committee – which is dependent on the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights – today believes that the dismissal constitutes "discrimination" on the basis of gender and religion ".

In his conclusions of 10 August, the Committee notes that "the prohibition on wearing headscarves in the workplace is an obstacle to the exercise of his right to freedom to manifest his religion".

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The committee – which gives advice but does not have the power to vote – also considers that France has "given insufficient justification" to conclude that "wearing a headscarf by an educator of the nursery door" violates the fundamental rights and freedoms of children and parents attending it ".

It concludes that the obligation imposed on Fatima Afif to remove her headscarf while in nursery constitutes a "restriction on the freedom of religion" of the worker, "in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights".

France "among other things to compensate"

France is now "obliged to adequately compensate, inter alia, Fatima Afif" and to take appropriate satisfaction measures, including compensation for loss of employment without compensation and reimbursement of legal costs. "The Committee would like the French authorities to provide information within 180 days on the measures taken.

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"In this case they have done the analysis again and it is the same from the beginning", says Michel Michel Michel, Fatima Afif's lawyer. "It can stimulate debate on all sides," he said. "The state will be obliged to propose compensation and corrective measures," he added, adding that it would be the State Council to condemn the state "if it makes no proposal within 180 days".

Richard Malka, who defended Baby-Loup Crèche, considered it a "no event": "The decisions of the Human Rights Committee have no legally binding value," he said.

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