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Canada: Quebec Court Ruling Prolongs Stay of Uncovered-Face Provision

(July 27, 2018) On June 28, 2018, the Superior Court of Quebec ruled to stay the operation of section 10 of An Act to Foster Adherence to State Religious Neutrality and, in Particular, to Provide a Framework for Requests for Accommodations on Religious Grounds in Certain Bodies. The stay allows veiled Muslim women in the […]

Netherlands: Human Rights Institute Rules Police Administrative Staffer Can Wear Hijab with Uniform

(Dec. 1, 2017) On November 20, 2017, the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights (College voor de rechten van de mens), an independent supervisory body established in 2002 that took over the tasks of the Dutch Equal Rights Commission, issued a non-binding ruling to the effect that the Dutch police were wrong to prohibit a Muslim […]

Sri Lanka: Constitutional Reform Planned

(Nov. 28, 2017) On October 30, 2017, Sri Lanka’s President, Maithripala Sirisena, announced the convening of three government conferences designed to better inform the public about the plans to adopt a new Constitution. The special conferences include one for all political parties now represented in Parliament, one for religious leaders, and one for scholars interested […]

Indonesia: Constitutional Court Opens Way to Recognition of Native Faiths

(Nov. 17, 2017) On November 7, 2017, Indonesia’s Constitutional Court (Mahkamah Konstitusi Republik Indonesia) issued a decision that will allow Indonesians who follow native faiths to list their religions on official forms.  According to Justice Arief Hidayat, several articles in the Law on Population Administration are discriminatory and “contradict the 1945 Constitution and these articles […]

Austria: Full-Face Veil Ban Enters Into Force

(Nov. 3, 2017) On October 1, 2017, a ban on full-face veils in public places and buildings entered into force in Austria.  According to section 1 of the Anti-Face Veil Act, the Act aims to “further integration by strengthening participation in society and by promoting peaceful coexistence in Austria.”  (Bundesgesetz über das Verbot der Verhüllung […]

Germany: Parliament Debates Burqa and Niqab Ban for Civil Servants and Soldiers

(Mar. 22, 2017) On March 9, 2017, the German Bundestag (parliament) debated a draft act that would prohibit federal civil servants performing official duties and soldiers in general from wearing full body and face veils (burqas) and face veils (niqab).  Exceptions would be allowed for medical reasons (protection against infections) or for official purposes.  The […]

Switzerland: Upper House of Parliament Rejects Burqa and Niqab Ban

(Mar. 15, 2017) On March 9, 2017, the Swiss Council of States (upper house of Parliament) rejected by a vote of 26 to 9, with 4 abstentions, a parliamentary initiative to ban the full body and face veil (burqa) and the face veil (niqab) and amend the Swiss Constitution accordingly.  The Council of States is […]

Iran: Charter on Citizens’ Rights Signed

(Feb. 28, 2017) With the aim of “recovering and promoting citizens’ rights,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, under his constitutional authority to “determine the program and policies of the government,” signed the Charter on Citizens’ Rights in a ceremony on December 19, 2016.  (Rouhani Unveils Charter on Civil Rights; Vagueness Regarding “Enforcement Guarantee,” VOA (Dec. 19, […]

Sweden: Jehovah’s Witnesses Have Right to State Funding

(Feb. 24, 2017) On February 20, 2017, the Swedish Supreme Administrative Court decided that Jehovah’s Witnesses have the right to state funding and that not providing such support would violate articles 14 and 19 of the European Convention on Human Rights. (Case No. 2310-16, Högsta förvaltningsdomstolen [Swedish Supreme Administrative Court], Feb. 20, 2017, HÖGSTA FÖRVALTNINGSDOMSTOLEN […]

Burma: Investigation into Alleged Police Crimes Planned

(Feb. 22, 2017) On February 8, 2017, officials in Burma (also known as Myanmar), announced that there would be an investigation of alleged police actions, and possible serious crimes, against the Rohingya Muslims, an ethnic and religious minority population.  (Roseanne Gerin, Myanmar Investigation Commission Begins Fact-Finding Mission in Maungdaw, RADIO FREE ASIA (Feb. 10, 2017); […]