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European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) upholds French full veil ban

In 2010 France introduced a law making it illegal for anyone to cover their face in a public place.  This case was brought by a French woman who argued that the ban on wearing the Muslim full-face veil, known as the Niqab, violated Article 8 ECHR (respect for private and family life), Article 9 (freedom of thought, conscience and religion) and Article 14 (prohibition on discrimination).

The French Government argued that the ban was put in place to ensure respect for the minimum set of values of an open democratic society. This included respect for gender equality, respect for human dignity and respect for the minimum requirements of life in society, or “living together”.

The ECHR ruled that the ban ‘was not expressly based on the religious connotation of the clothing in question but solely on the fact that it concealed the face.’  It found that the ban was proportionate to the preservation of the notion of “living together”.

To read further commentary from the UK Human Rights Blog please click here.  The reaction from the barrister who represented the applicant can be found here.

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