Just a few days after France’s sports minister prohibited its use for the athletes from the host nation, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced on Friday that competitors competing in the Olympic Games in Paris in 2024 were free to don the hijab in the athletes’ village.
Amelie Oudea-Castera, France’s minister of sport, stated earlier this week that athletes from France were expected to uphold the nation’s secularist beliefs, prohibiting female athletes from donning the hijab during the Paris Olympics.
France, which hosts one of Europe’s largest Muslim communities, has implemented laws designed to adhere to the country’s 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 President Emmanuel Macron saying the government was opposed to any display of religious symbols during games.
The IOC guidelines are in effect for the Olympic Village, according to an IOC official. The hijab and other religious or cultural clothing can be worn without restriction.
The majority of the 10,000 athletes competing in the Olympic Games live in flats in the Olympic Village and share communal areas including dining rooms and recreation rooms.
The IOC spokeswoman stated, “The rules established by the relevant International Federation (IF) apply when it comes to competitions.”
Individual international sports federations are in charge of planning and directing the Olympic sporting events. The Paris Olympics schedule included 32 sports.
“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.
Hurtado told reporters in Geneva that “no one should impose on a woman what she needs to wear or not wear.”
“Restrictions on expressions of religions or beliefs, such as attire choices, are only acceptable under really specific circumstances,” she said, pointing out that requiring the Muslim athletes to adhere to the dress code promoted under the “laicite” secular principle amounted to “discriminatory practice.”