Switzerland considers new law that would force people to show their face when asked by officials after rejecting burka ban
- Switzerland’s government has rejected calls for a nationwide burqa ban
- New law could force people to show their face when asked by certain officials
- Cantons of Ticino and St Gallen have already introduced bans on face coverings
Switzerland is considering a new law that would force people to show their face when asked by officials after the government rejected a burka ban.
The cantons of Ticino and St Gallen have already introduced bans on face coverings – but other areas such as Solothurn and Zurich have not.
The government said that imposing a nationwide ban would raise the prospect of powerful cantons not being able to make their own rules. It gave an example of cantons no longer being able to determine how they would like to deal with burka-wearing tourists from Arab nations.
Instead, a counter proposal suggests making it illegal for people to decline to uncover their face when requested to do so by certain officials.
Switzerland is considering a new law that would force people to show their face when asked by officials after the government rejected a burka ban (file picture)
According to The Local, the proposal would mean anyone repeatedly refusing to show their face to officials in sectors like customs, aviation and migration could face a fine.
The plan, which must first be discussed by MPs, comes after a proposal was put forward for a nationwide ban on face coverings in public areas.
It was suggested by the Egerkingen committee, which is said to have links to the county’s right-wing Swiss People’s Party.
The government rejected the idea and instead has called for ‘targeted action’ in a draft law.
In September, voters in St. Gallen approved by a two-thirds majority a ban on facial coverings, becoming the second Swiss canton to do so.
Full-face coverings such as niqabs and burkas are a polarising issue across Europe, with some arguing that they symbolise discrimination against women and should be outlawed. The clothing has already been banned in France and Denmark.
Under the Swiss system of direct democracy, voters in the northeastern canton demanded tightening the law to punish those who cover their faces in public and thus ‘threaten or endanger public security or religious or social peace’.
Two-thirds of Switzerland’s 8.5 million residents identify as Christians. But its Muslim population has risen to 5 percent, largely because of immigrants from former Yugoslavia.
One Swiss canton, Italian-speaking Ticino, already has a similar ban, while two others have rejected it.