The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights has upheld the French law which prohibits the concealment of one’s face in public places. The law is directed principally at prohibiting Muslim women covering their faces in public spaces in France. The decision of the Strasbourg Court is premised on the French notion of ‘le vivre ensemble’; ‘living together.’ This critical analysis of the judgment contends that the decision is flawed and retrogressive for women’s rights in particular and undermines the socio-cultural rights and freedoms of individuals who belong to minority groups in general. On wider implications of the decision, it is worrisome that the decision appears to pander to dangerous political leanings currently growing in many parts of Europe and beyond. The Court risks promoting forced assimilation policies against minorities in various parts of the world. To illustrate its implications, the article highlights the experience of the Uyghurs, a Turkic ethnic group in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China.
- European Court of Human Rights
- burqa ban
- living together
- anti-Muslim prejudice
- S.A.S v France