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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Tuesday, 23.07.2019, 06:20

Estonian parlt committee discusses ban on face covering in public space

BC, Tallinn, 06.02.2017.Print version
The Legal Affairs Committee of the Estonian parliament that discussed on Monday a ban on wearing in public space clothing which conceals the face deemed it necessary to continue to look for a legal solution to such a ban in the interest of public safety and security, informs LETA/BNS.

"The experts who attended the committee meeting stressed that prohibition to wear face covering clothing in public places would not restrict religious freedom and human rights but would help increase the people's sense of security and reduce security risks," committee chairman Jaanus Karilaid was quoted as saying by the press service of the Riigikogu. Karilaid noted that several European countries have put in place bans of different scopes on face covering.

The committee also considered amendments to the Law Enforcement Act submitted by the parliamentary group of the Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE) with the aim of prohibiting the wearing of the full face veils burqa and niqab in public places.

"Wearers of the burqa prompt in European people a fear that is justified, because one cannot be certain whether the veil conceals a woman or a suicide terrorist with evil intentions and equipped with a bomb belt," the initiators of the bill said in the accompanying note. "By banning face covering veils and headscarves, the society signals that certain special customs of immigrants arriving in Estonia cannot have supremacy over local customs, good practices and laws."

According to Karilaid, the prevailing opinion in the committee was that a change of law targeting solely face coverings of Arab cultures was not right. "The EKRE group agreed to withdraw the bill, but it was agreed that Justice Minister Urmas Reinsalu would within one month or so submit his proposals for solving the issue of face coverings and the committee would revisit the topic thereafter," he said.

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