Two Muslim women who choose to wear the full-face veil have lost their challenge to a ban imposed in Belgium in 2011.
The European Court of Human Rights dismissed their claims that their rights to a private life, freedom of religion and expression had been breached.
Judges concluded that the nationwide prohibition of burqas, that came to power in 2011, did not violate women’s rights and freedom of religion.
They also found that the country has the right to ensure the principles of “living together” and the “protection of the rights and freedoms of others”.
The abstract from the ruling says: ‘to a practice that it considered to be incompatible, in Belgian society, with social communication and more generally the establishment of human relations, which were indispensable for life in society…essential to ensure the functioning of a democratic society’.
The cases were brought by three women Samia Belcacem, Yamina Oussar and Fouzia Dakir over prohibition of full-face veils. Belcacem and Oussar were faced with fines for wearing their veils in public. Their fines were later paid by a French businessman Rachid Nekkaz. Belcacem chose later to remove her veil, fearing she might be jailed or fined again, while Oussar opted to stay at home most of the time.
Defending her niqab, Dakir referred to the European Convention on Human Rights as she was offered to pay €800 by the Belgium government. All the three women subsequently lost their cases.
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