European Court of Human Rights
European Court of Human Rights

France’s burka ban human rights challenge goes directly to court’s Grand Chamber

A human rights challenge to France’s burka ban will be dealt with by a panel of Grand Chamber judges, the European Court of Human Rights has confirmed.

Today’s statement reads: “The Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights to which the application S.A.S. v.France (application no. 43835/11) had been assigned has relinquished jurisdiction to the Grand Chamber, neither party having objected to relinquishment (Article 30 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Rule 72 of the Rules of Court).”

Principal facts

The applicant is a French national who was born in 1990 and lives in France. Under Law no. 2010-1192 of 11 October 2010, which came into force on 11 April 2011, it is forbidden to conceal one’s face in public places.

The applicant, who is a practising Muslim, states that she wears the burka in order to live according to her faith, her culture and her personal convictions. She specifies that it is a garment that covers the entire body and includes both a thin veil covering the face and the niqab, a veil covering the entire face except the eyes.

She points out that neither her husband nor any other member of her family puts pressure on her to wear the burka. She adds that she wears the niqab in public and in private but not systematically. She agrees not to wear the niqab in some circumstances but wants to be able to wear it when she chooses to. Her purpose, she states, is not to inconvenience others but to live according to her principles.

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