French Bill No.2520 of 2010 on burqas and niqabs

Here is the full-text (in French) of the May 19th, 2010 bill passed by the French National Assembly on July 13th that prohibits covering one’s face in public.

Projet de loi 2520: Interdisant la dissimulation du visage dans l’espace public. 19 mai 2010

Le présent projet de loi interdisant la dissimulation du visage dans l’espace public, délibéré en conseil des ministres après avis du Conseil d’État, sera présenté à l’Assemblée nationale par la ministre d’État, garde des sceaux, ministre de la justice et des libertés, qui sera chargée d’en exposer les motifs et d’en soutenir la discussion.

Article 1er

Nul ne peut, dans l’espace public, porter une tenue destinée à dissimuler son visage.

Article 2

I. – Pour l’application de l’article 1er, l’espace public est constitué des voies publiques ainsi que des lieux ouverts au public ou affectés à un service public.

II. – L’interdiction édictée à l’article 1er ne s’applique pas si la tenue est prescrite par une loi ou un règlement, si elle est autorisée pour protéger l’anonymat de l’intéressé, si elle est justifiée par des raisons médicales ou des motifs professionnels, ou si elle s’inscrit dans le cadre de fêtes ou de manifestations artistiques ou traditionnelles.

Article 3

La méconnaissance de l’interdiction édictée à l’article 1er est punie de l’amende prévue pour les contraventions de la deuxième classe.

L’obligation d’accomplir le stage de citoyenneté mentionné au 8° de l’article 131-16 du code pénal peut être prononcée en même temps ou à la place de la peine d’amende.

Article 4

Au chapitre V (« Des atteintes à la dignité de la personne ») du titre II du livre II du code pénal, il est créé une section 1 ter ainsi rédigée :

« Section 1 ter

« De l’instigation à dissimuler son visage

« Art. 225-4-10. – Le fait, par menace, violence ou contrainte, abus de pouvoir ou abus d’autorité, d’imposer à une personne, en raison de son sexe, de dissimuler son visage est puni d’un an d’emprisonnement et de 15 000 € d’amende.

Article 5

Les dispositions des articles 1er à 3 entrent en vigueur à l’expiration d’un délai de six mois suivant la promulgation de la présente loi.

Article 6

La présente loi s’applique sur l’ensemble du territoire de la République.

Article 7

Le Gouvernement remettra au Parlement un rapport sur l’application de la présente loi dix-huit mois après sa publication. Ce rapport présentera les mesures d’accompagnement mises en œuvre par les pouvoirs publics ainsi que les difficultés rencontrées.

Text of the bill is available online at:

Legislative reports and other legislative history documents available at:

FAO Gender and Land Rights Database

In February the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) launched the Gender and Land Rights Database.

hat tip to Don Ford.

From the FAO press release:

The Gender and Land Rights Database produced in consultation with national statistics authorities, universities, civil society organizations and other sources worldwide, offers up-to-date information on how men and women in 78 countries differ in their legal rights and access to land. It can be searched by both country and thematic issues, including national and international legal frameworks, customary law, land tenure institutions, civil society institutions and land-related statistics.

In most of the world, women lag well behind men in ownership of agricultural land and access to income from land, even though women are major producers of food crops and play crucial roles in providing and caring for their households.

“Disparity in land access is one of the major causes for social and economic inequalities between males and females in rural areas. It jeopardizes food security at the household and community levels, and has an impact on national food security and development. It is vital information for policy makers. But until now, finding information on this phenomenon in one place has been difficult to come by,” Marcela Villarreal, Director, FAO Gender, Equity and Rural Employment Division said as the new database was placed online.

The new information tool, available to anyone with access to the Internet, provides policymakers and other users with a better picture of the major social, economic, political and cultural factors which affect access to land and enforcement of women’s land rights.

The database covers both national and customary laws governing land use; property rights and inheritance; international treaties and conventions; land tenure and related institutions; civil society organizations that work on land issues, and other related statistics.

By searching country profiles, users can find out the answers to specific questions on topics like the total number of land holders, the total number of women land holders and the number of rural households headed by women. They can also call up comparisons on a given topic between two or more countries.

“Decision-makers at all levels now have, on the one hand, a comprehensive source of information on the more relevant factors affecting the equality of land rights in their countries and, on the other hand, the possibility to make comparisons between trends and situations in their own and other countries,” FAO Gender and Development Research Officer Zoraida Garcia said.

“They can then use this information to tailor their own decisions and strategies, but also to have a clearer idea of the possible impacts which those strategies might have on the real economic empowerment of women, and on the well-being of rural communities,” she added.

“FAO had so many requests on a regular basis from member states and others in the international community who wanted to understand how gender disparities affected and were impacted by the land tenure situation. That’s why we developed this tool, to help provide a comprehensive view of the issue,” Garcia explained.

Documentary on women judges in South Africa

Courting Justice (2008)

Director: Jane Thandi Lipman

A bit expensive at $295.

Elsie Bonthuys’ article, “The Personal and the Judicial,” in volume 24, Part 2 (2008) of the South African Jounal on Human Rights discusses the film. see pages 242-243. 

Description from the distributor’s Web site:

Courting Justice takes viewers behind the gowns and gavels to reveal the women who make up 18 percent of South Africa’s male-dominated judiciary. Hailing from diverse backgrounds and entrusted with enormous responsibilities, these pioneering women share with candor, and unexpected humor, accounts of their country’s transformation since apartheid, and the evolving demands of balancing their courts, country, and families.

Online draft of Promoting Women’s Human Rights: A Resources Guide for Litigating International Law in Domestic Courts

Global Rights, a human rights NGO, has posted a draft version of their resource guide – “Promoting Women’s Human Rights: A Resources Guide for Litigating International Law in Domestic Courts.”  This would be useful for international human rights courses and clinics.

From the book’s introduction:

Promoting Women’s Rights: A Resource Guide for Litigating

International Law in Domestic Courts was designed as a practical

tool to help lawyers and other legal advocates use international

law to advance the promotion and protection of women’s human

rights in their daily lives. This guide considers how lawyers can

integrate international human rights standards into domestic

litigation and legal policy advocacy involving women’s rights; seeks

to encourage lawyers to undertake such advocacy; and provides

practical strategies on how lawyers might go about doing this.

Promoting Women’s Human Rights: A Resources Guide for Litigating International Law in Domestic Courts