Burqas and Niqābs as Protected Expression: “This is My Face”

Kerstin Carlson, Jacob Livingstone Slosser

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Across Europe, nations have banned burqas and niqabs in what could be argued as Islamaphobic assertions of security or empty endorsements of western democratic values over the expression of individual rights. While scholars, NGOs, and IGOs have protested these discriminatory laws, Europe’s highest human rights court has upheld them in cases involving France (2014) and Belgium (2017), essentially giving states carte blanche with regards to banning burqas. Judicial rights discourse has so far centered on freedom of religion, protected under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights, or alternately attaching discrimination to Article 9 using the protection offered under Article 14. This chapter argues that an alternative and perhaps stronger argument in favor of individual rights to wear the veil is available under Article 10 protecting the freedom of expression. The chapter examines how Article 10 can be invoked to combat the rights violating policies that would ban burkas and niqabs.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLaw, Cultural Studies and the "Burqa Ban" Trend : An Interdisciplinary Handbook
EditorsAnja Matwijkiw, Anna Oriolo
Publication date1 Jul 2021
ISBN (Print)9781839700583
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes

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