The Olympic rings are seen in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, September 2017. (File photo by Reuters)
Olympics officials have overruled the French governmentís ban on Muslims wearing hijab headscarves during the 2024 Paris Games.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) declared on Friday that athletes participating in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games were free to wear a headscarf known as a hijab in the athletesí village, just days after Franceís sports minister banned it for the host countryís athletes.
French Sports Minister Amelie Oudea-Castera said earlier this week that French athletes were required to abide by the countryís principles of secularism, thus banning female athletes from wearing hijab during the Paris Olympics.
France, which hosts one of Europeís largest Muslim communities, has implemented laws designed to adhere to the countryís principle of secularism, known as "laicite". On Sunday, Oudea-Castera echoed the secular principle insisted by French President Emmanuel Macron, saying the government was opposed to any display of religious symbols during games.
On Sunday, Oudea-Castera echoed the secular principle insisted by French Presein Emmanuel Macron saying the government was opposed to any display of religious symbols during games.
"For the Olympic Village, the IOC rules apply," an IOC spokesperson said. "There are no restrictions on wearing the hijab or any other religious or cultural attire."
The vast majority of the approximately 10,000 athletes at the Olympic Games reside in apartments in the Olympic Village and share common spaces, including dining halls and recreational areas.
"When it comes to competitions, the regulations set by the relevant International Federation (IF) apply," the IOC spokesperson said.
The sports competitions at the Olympics are organized and overseen by individual international sports federations. There are 32 sports in the program of the Paris Olympics.
"Since this French regulation relates to the members of the French team only, we are in contact with the CNOSF [French Olympic Committee] to further understand the situation regarding the French athletes," the spokesperson said.
United Nations rights office spokeswoman Marta Hurtado rebuked the French government for the ban on hijab.
"No one should impose on a woman what she needs to wear or not wear," Hurtado told reporters in Geneva.
"Restrictions on expressions of religions or beliefs, such as attire choices, are only acceptable under really specific circumstances," she said, pointing out that forcing the Muslim athletes to observe the dress code advocated under "laicite" secular principle was tantamount to "discriminatory practice."