The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), based in Strasbourg, has ruled that the ban on the niqab does not violate the right to respect for private life and religious beliefs. The ban is in force in Belgium, particularly in the municipality of Dison (Verviers), and prohibits women from wearing the niqab, a veil covering the entire face except the eyes. Two niqab-wearing women asserted that the law of 1 June 2011, that prohibits the wearing of any item of clothing that completely conceals the face, and the police regulations of the municipality of Dison, forbidding “clothing that conceals the faces of people”, violated their right to respect for private life, their right to freedom of religion and, according to one of them, their right to freedom of expression.
The Court did not agree. As in previous judgments, it has held that the prohibition of clothing that hides the face is in accordance with the aim pursued, namely the preservation of the ability to “live together”, and can therefore be considered necessary in a democratic society.