Switzerland’s lower house of parliament made a decisive move by granting final legislative approval for a ban on face coverings, including the burqas commonly worn by some Muslim women. It received significant support, with a vote of 151-29 in favour, despite reservations expressed by centrists and the Greens.
This development comes in the wake of a nationwide referendum held two years ago, during which Swiss voters narrowly endorsed the prohibition of naqabs, which feature eye slits, along with burqas. The ban also encompasses ski masks and bandannas sometimes used by protesters.
With the lower house vote, parliament cemented the ban into federal law and set a fine of up to 1,000 francs (about $1,100) for violators.
The measure prohibits the covering of the nose, mouth, and eyes in all public spaces and private establishments accessible to the public, though some exceptions are allowed.
However, two Swiss cantons, namely southern Ticino and northern St. Gallen, had previously implemented similar regulations. This national legislation brings Switzerland in line with countries such as Belgium and France, which have also enacted similar measures.