08/30/2016 08:04 EDT | Updated 08/30/2016 08:59 EDT

France Burkini Ban A 'Stupid Reaction' To Extremism: UN

The U.N. human rights agency wants local officials to "immediately" lift the bans

GENEVA — The U.N. human rights office says local bans in France on burkini swimwear amount to "a grave and illegal breach of fundamental freedoms" and a "stupid reaction" to recent extremist attacks.

OHCHR spokesman Rupert Colville says the rights agency wants local officials to "immediately" lift the bans, saying they don't increase security.

A French high court has struck down on French town's ban on the burkini, effectively invalidating such bans in about 30 towns, though many remain.

Colville says such bans "fuel religious intolerance and the stigmatization of Muslims," and "have only succeeded in increasing tensions."

He said people who wear burkinis — body-covering beachwear worn by some Muslim women — or any another clothing "cannot be blamed for the violent or hostile reactions of others."