The applicant, Fouzia Dakir, is a Belgian national who was born in 1977 and lives in Dison (Belgium). The case concerns a by-law adopted in June 2008 by three Belgian municipalities concerning a ban on the wearing in public places of clothing that conceals the face, and the subsequent proceedings before the Conseil d’État.
In June 2008 the municipalities of Pepinster, Dison and Verviers adopted a municipal by-law providing in Article 113bis thereof for a ban on the wearing of clothing concealing the face, at all times and in all public places.
In August 2008 Ms Dakir, presenting herself as a Muslim who had decided on her own initiative to wear the niqab – a veil covering the face except for the eyes – applied to the Conseil d’État for the annulment of the ban. She claimed among other things that the provision expressly concerned the Islamic veil that she wore and that the resulting ban constituted an interference with the rights secured by Articles 8, 9, 10 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights. She also contended that the interference had no legitimate aim as secularism was not a constitutional principle and the wearing of the veil could not be subject to a blanket ban. In June 2011 the Conseil d’État dismissed the case for failure to comply with an admissibility condition that it raised of its own motion.
Relying on Articles 8 (right to respect for private and family life), 9 (freedom of thought, conscience and religion), and 10 (freedom of expression), taken separately and together with Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) of the Convention, Ms Dakir complains about the ban on the full veil. She also relies on Article 6 § 1 (right of access to a court) and Article 13 (right to an effective remedy).
Press release ECHR 230 (2017) 07/07/2017