European rights, court, Belgian, ban, veil

European rights court upholds Belgian ban on full-face veil [Photo: France 24]
European rights court upholds Belgian ban on full-face veil [Photo: France 24]

The European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday upheld a Belgian law and by-laws prohibiting the wearing of clothing that hides all or most of the face.

The court rejected arguments by three Muslim women who had worn the niqab, a veil covering the face except for the eyes, that their rights to privacy and freedom of conscience had been unjustifiably infringed.

The court held that bans were a proportionate measure to guarantee social conditions of “living together,” and

it was legitimate for society to choose to enact them.

The decision was in line with a 2014 judgement by the Strasbourg-based court upholding a similar French law.

In 2011, Belgium introduced a law providing for fines and up to seven days’ imprisonment for anyone covering their face in a public place to the extent that they could not be identified.

The Belgian Constitutional Court upheld the law in 2012.

The court acknowledged that the ban could have a particular impact on the freedom of some Muslim women but said that that was not disproportionate taking into account the law’s objectives.

Full-face veils are common in several mainly Muslim countries and are also adopted by some particularly conservative Islamic circles elsewhere.

(dpa/NAN)


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  • Frank Bassey

    This is a welcome development. Those who want to practise this hypocritical display of religious insincerity should relocate to Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Iran and the likes. European countries must not allow this gradual infiltration of toxic culture into their social system. It is as corrosive as it is deadly.

    • aisha ani

      I don’t agree with everything you wrote but I do feel we need to be able to see who we are dealing with, for security reasons.