• Monday, Mar 01, 2021
  • Last Update : 10:06 pm

Swiss govt urges voters to reject burqa ban in March referendum

  • Published at 06:06 pm January 19th, 2021
People walk by electoral posters of the committee against the facilitated naturalization
People walk by electoral posters of the committee against the facilitated naturalization reading ‘Uncontrolled Naturalization? No’ with the illustration of a woman wearing a burqa, in Zurich on February 7, 2017 AFP

In 2009 Swiss voters backed a proposal to ban the construction of new minarets

The Swiss government recommended on Tuesday that voters reject a proposal in a planned March 7 referendum to ban full facial coverings such as burqas and niqabs worn by some Muslim women, saying the move would hurt tourism.

Under Switzerland's system of direct democracy, any proposal to change the constitution goes to a popular vote if supporters raise more than 100,000 signatures. In 2009 Swiss voters backed a proposal to ban the construction of new minarets.

The Swiss cantons of St Gallen and Ticino have already banned full face coverings in regional votes, but the Swiss government said following through with a nationwide constitutional ban was a bad idea.

"Very few people in Switzerland wear a full facial covering," the government said in a statement.

"A nationwide ban would undermine the sovereignty of the cantons, damage tourism and be unhelpful for certain groups of women," it said.

Most women who wear full facial coverings are tourists and only spend a brief time in the country, the statement added.

Montreux and other destinations around Lake Geneva as well as Interlaken in central Switzerland traditionally attract some Muslim tourists, mainly from the wealthy Gulf Arab states.

France and Denmark have also banned facial coverings, citing efforts to uphold secular values and combat discrimination against women.

Switzerland's proposal also forbids forcing somebody to wear a facial covering based on their gender.

The grouping behind the burqa ban proposal - the "Egerkinger Komitee" that includes members of the right-wing Swiss People's Party (SVP) - was also behind the 2009 move to ban minarets, which was approved by nearly 60% of voters.

Supporters of the 2009 proposal saw the minarets as alien to Swiss traditions and values at a time of growing unease over the activities of Islamist militants in Europe and the Middle East.

Muslims make up only about 5% of Switzerland's 8.6 million people, official statistics show.

The Swiss government has made a counter-proposal to the facial covering ban that would come into force if voters reject the initial proposal on March 7. 

This would require women wearing a facial covering to reveal their face if necessary, for identification at administrative offices or on public transport.

Facebook 53
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail