- Case note: Grondwettelijk Hof van België (Het verbod op gezichtsbedekkende kleding: getoetst door het Grondwettelijk Hof van België)
- Case date
- 6 December 2012
- Tijdschrift voor Religie, Recht en Beleid: 1879-7784
- Volume | Edition (Serie)
- 2013 | 1
- Document type
- Case note
- Faculty of Law (FdR)
- Page from: 87
Page to: 96
The Court recognizes the appeal to the freedom of religion, as laid down in Article 10 European Convention of Human Rights. This freedom is not illimitable, however. According to the Court, the prohibition of wearing face-covering clothes is legitimate and the aims of public security, equality of men and women, and the wish to express a specific viewpoint on ‘living together in society’, are in conformity with the limitation clause of Article 10 ECHR. The Court considers the law proportionate and ‘necessary in a democratic society’ with a view to the aims of the law, with the caveat that the law is not applicable in places of worship open to the public.
In the annotation, the parliamentary debate leading to the adoption of the law is analyzed. The law is a clear expression of a specific stance towards society in general and the position of men and women in particular. As it is a choice by the democratic institutions, the Court takes an attitude of restraint in this matter. All the same, the question is raised whether the term ‘in publicly accessible places’ may prove to be too vague and with that, not proportional to the legitimate aims pursued.
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