After years of discussion, Switzerland had a referendum whether or not to ban Muslim women from wearing the burqa in public places, and it was voted to ban them from wearing the headwear in public places, following in the footsteps of France, Belgium, and Austria.
People in Switzerland will no longer be permitted to cover their faces while out in public, whether at a shopping mall or out in the open. The only exceptions for this rule are places of worship and ‘native customs’, such as carnivals.
Expectedly, face coverings worn for health and safety purposes would also be exempt from this legislation, which means face masks worn to protect against the spread of the coronavirus will still be permitted.
The proposal doesn’t explicitly mention burqa or niqab, it’s more than clear that the ban is aimed at Muslim women.
The ban was supported by the Swiss People’s Party, a right-win populist party that’s the leading faction in parliament.
The Swiss parliament argues that full facial veils represent a ‘fringe phenomenon’, and they’re against the referendum proposal.
They have instead proposed an initiative where people would be forced to lift their facial coverings when confirming their identity to officials.