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Denmark: Face veil ban a discriminatory violation of women's rights

Denmark has voted to ban the wearing of full-face coverings in public
Denmark has voted to ban the wearing of full-face coverings in public © Getty Images

Following today’s vote by Denmark’s parliament to ban the wearing of full-face coverings in public, Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International’s Europe Director, said:

“All women should be free to dress as they please and to wear clothing that expresses their identity or beliefs. This ban will have a particularly negative impact on Muslim women who choose to wear the niqab or burqa. 

“Whilst some specific restrictions on the wearing of full-face veils for the purposes of public safety may be legitimate, this blanket ban is neither necessary nor proportionate and violates the rights to freedom of expression and religion.

“If the intention of this law was to protect women’s rights it fails abjectly. Instead, the law criminalises women for their choice of clothing and in so doing flies in the face of those freedoms Denmark purports to uphold.”

Full-face veil ban

The Danish ban follows similar recent bans on full-face veils in Belgium, France, Bulgaria and parts of Switzerland. 

The new Danish ban on covering the face in public places includes the niqab and burka as well as false beards, masks and other ways of obscuring the face. Key arguments from proponents of the new law centred on an alleged need to ensure that no Muslim women or girls are being forced to cover their faces. Proponents maintained that this ban would help ensure better integration of asylum-seekers and migrants into Danish society.

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