European court of human rights upholds Belgium's ban on full-face veils

    By: Clair Fuller on Jul 16, 2017

    Colin Dwyer writes, "The European Court of Human Rights announced Tuesday that it has upheld a Belgian ban on wearing the full-face veil in public. The law, passed nationwide in June 2011, had come under fire for allegedly violating a series of protections set out by the European Convention on Human Rights.

    The unanimous decision held that the ban — which, in the court's words, specifically barred "the wearing in public of clothing that partly or totally covers the face" — aimed to "guarantee the conditions of 'living together' and the 'protection of the rights and freedoms of others.' "

    The court also determined that the ban was "necessary in a democratic society."

    The case in question, Belcacemi and Oussar v. Belgium, was brought by a Belgian national and a Moroccan national who said the ban violated — among other things — their rights to privacy and freedom of religion. As Muslims who choose to wear niqabs, full black veils that cover the face everywhere but the eyes, they alleged the Belgian law kept them from expressing their religious convictions.

    Their complaint states the law also kept one of the women at home, fearful of potential repercussions from wearing her veil in public. The other woman removed her veil in public, according to the court.

    But Belgian politicians have argued the ban, which carries potential punishments that range from fines to jail time, does not restrict the freedoms of Muslim women."

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    Released: July 16, 2017, 11:04 am | Updated: July 16, 2017, 11:51 am
    Keywords: NAWL News


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