A Dutch ban on the wearing of face-covering garments such as the burqa which came into place in August has “no place” in a tolerant society, a U.N. representative said Monday.
Tendayi Achiume, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on racism, said the ban reflected a wider “consolidation of Islamophobia” in the Netherlands.
As Breitbart News reported, the Dutch ban took effect in August, 14 years after it was first mooted by Dutch populist Geert Wilders. The new legislation makes it illegal to wear face coverings in public buildings and on transport.
“From now on the wearing of clothing which covers the face is banned in educational facilities, public institutions and buildings, as well as hospitals and public transport,” the Dutch interior ministry said in a statement reported by AFP. Failure to abide by the law could result in a fine of €150 (£137/$167).
Denmark banned the burqa outright in 2018, while Austria banned it in 2017, Bulgaria and Latvia in 2016, and Belgium in 2011. There are also partial and regional bans in Italy, Norway, Switzerland, and Spain as part of a wider pan-European pushback against the restrictive garment.
Austria, France, Denmark, and More: Europe Rejects the Islamic Burqa https://t.co/RZdi5Zsq0o
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 1, 2018
Despite the burqa being more and more widely banned, the Netherlands has now been singled out for special mention by the U.N.’s representative.
“This law has no place in a society that prides itself in promoting gender equality,” Achiume said in a report on Monday after a week-long fact-finding trip to the Netherlands.
“The political debate surrounding the adoption of this law makes plain its intended targeting of Muslim women, and even if this targeting was not the intent, it has certainly been the effect.”