30 November 2015, 10:51
Estonia contemplating hijab, niqab ban
Tallinn, November 30, Interfax - The Estonian Justice Ministry has sent other ministries and other government departments a bill banning women from wearing hijab and niqab in public places, primarily, in state, educational and medical institutions.
"The aim of this law is to ensure uniform behavior within Estonian society and within the social space, including among immigrants, which does not raise any concern," a Justice Ministry spokesperson told Interfax.
"After the analysis with experts, I consider it necessary to hold a discussion on the issue of restricting the wearing of face veils, primarily, in order to prevent complicated practical issues," Justice Minister Urmas Reinsalu has said.
The bill was drafted ahead of the so-called Istanbul Convention of the Council of Europe, which aims to prevent domestic violence against women. Estonia signed the convention in 2014.
"The convention contains a number of rules that Estonia does not have or need to change," the ministry said in a memo
The possible restrictions do not restrict the freedom of religion, it said. Underlying the bill is the protection and provision of law and order, human dignity, human rights, and local social programs.
The bill also bans and criminalizes the maiming of women, forced marriages, stalking, as well as purchase of sexual services from the victims of human trafficking.