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Burkini ban is an attack on individual freedom

September 18, 2016 10:26 AM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats have denounced moves in France to ban the burkini, stressing that people must be free to wear what they want.

France's highest court ruled in August that beach bans on burkinis imposed in a number of towns across the country violated basic freedoms, but several bans remain in place including in Corsica. French presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy has now vowed to change the constitution and impose a national ban on burkinis if elected.

In an amendment passed today by members at the Liberal Democrat Autumn Conference, the party has said it stands "shoulder to shoulder with France" in the wake of recent terrorist attacks, but that it "deplores" moves to ban the burkini as people must be free to wear what they want.

It forms part of a motion on combating racism, which also condemns the use of anti-immigrant rhetoric during the EU referendum campaign and rise in racist attacks.

Liberal Democrat equalities spokesperson Meral Hussein-Ece said:

"The image of a policeman ordering a woman to remove her clothing on a beach was truly chilling sight for all of us who see France as a bastion of freedom and equality."

"The burkini ban has been rightly overturned in court, now French politicians must take note and stop stoking division for political gain."

"One of the core principles of a free and liberal society is that individuals should be allowed to wear what they want and not be dictated to by the state."

"The UK government must also do more to combat the appalling rise in hate crimes and racist abuse we have seen in this country since the EU referendum, including ensuring victims are given the support they need to come forward."

You can read the full motion, as passed by our conference here.