Dutch lawmakers approve partial ban on burqa wearing in public

Dutch lawmakers approve partial ban on burqa wearing in public
Tuesday's decision by Dutch senators means The Netherlands will join a growing list of European countries to ban full-face Islamic veils.
2 min read
26 June, 2018
Women wearing niqab visit the Hague amid a debate about the ban [Getty]

A majority of Dutch senators voted on Tuesday to ban the Islamic full-face burqa from some public places.

"The Senate has agreed with the bill," the upper house of parliament said in a statement on its website.

"The bill proposes a legal ban on wearing clothing that completely covers the face or only shows the eyes, in educational institutions, on public transport, in government institutions and hospitals," it said.

Forty-four senators voted for the bill in the 75-seat Senate as it crossed the final hurdle before becoming law. 

Three of the four political parties in Prime Minister Mark Rutte's ruling coalition supported the controversial burqa ban. Only the social-liberal D66 party voted against. 

Dutch Internal Affairs Minister Kajsa Ollongren - who is herself a D66 member - will now talk to government bodies about how to implement the ban which carries a fine of some £350 (400 euros).

The Dutch cabinet approved the plan in mid-2015 but then decided not to go as far as banning burqas on the country's streets.  

The Netherlands joins a growing list of European countries that have banned the Islamic burqa, as anti-Muslim sentiment and right-wing populism grows on the continent.  

France was the first European country to ban the full-face veil in public spaces in April 2011. 

The European Court of Human Rights upheld that burqa ban in 2014, rejecting arguments that outlawing full-face veils breached religious freedom. 

The law has resulted in some 1,600 arrests since it came into force and violations can result in fines of up to 150 euros.

In May, Denmark passed a law banning full-face veils. 

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