A UN committee says France's ban on full-face veils in public spaces violates women's human rights.
In 2010, France was the first European country to institute a ban on face coverings. Its law prohibits "any article of clothing intended to conceal the face."
Two women who were fined and convicted under that law filed complaints with the UN Human Rights Committee. They wore a niqab, a full body covering that leaves a slit for the eyes.
The committee ruled France didn't adequately explain why the law was necessary, calling the country's ban too "sweeping." The UNHRC said the law could marginalize veiled women, effectively confining them to their homes.
France has 180 days to review the committee's concerns, including possibly amending the law and compensating the two women.
This is the first ruling from the UN Human Rights Committee on laws that effectively ban full Islamic veils. It's unclear how this decision will affect similar laws in other countries.