Justice ministry working on burqa ban ({{commentsTotal}})

The Estonian Ministry of Justice is planning to implement a ban on wearing a burqa or a niqab in public spaces – state offices, schools and hospitals.

The bill that the ministry is working on would see burqas and niqabs banned on the grounds that covering one's face in public is alien to Estonian cultural practices. Such garments would become banned in public institutions, such as schools.

“The aim of the bill is to ensure that no individuals, including immigrants, disturb other members of the Estonian society with their behavior and that they follow the norms of Estonian social space,” the ministry explained. “Enforcing these standards of conduct helps to prevent problems that could arise when people who migrate to Estonia find it difficult to assimilate to the Estonian society,” they added.

According to the ministry, the intended law is related to the impending ratification of the so-called Istanbul Convention, signed in 2014. The convention is a European Commission's initiative against violence against women and domestic violence.

“The convention regulates a number of laws that Estonia needs to amend or that it lacks altogether,” the ministry explained.

It also stressed that limitations set to wearing clothing like burqa or niqab in public are not a restriction of religious freedom, but based on the need to ensure safety, human dignity, and local social practices.

The bill will also ban and criminalize female genital mutilation, forced marriages, stalking and buying sexual services from victims of human trafficking.

Editor: M. Oll



Opinion
Easter Monday a public holiday? But you're forgetting productionEaster Monday a public holiday? But you're forgetting production
Estonia’s Easter Monday time loop: Discussing an additional day off

Every year, Estonia reliably asks itself the question whether or not Easter Monday should be made a public holiday. Opinions differ. While one side emphasizes the importance of family time, the other thinks an additional day off would threaten economic growth.

Minister of Social Protection Kaia Iva (IRL).Minister of Social Protection Kaia Iva (IRL).
Samost: Kaia Iva’s charisma could help IRL out of long-term low

In Sunday’s “Samost ja Rumm” radio debate show, editor-in-chief of ERR’s online news, Anvar Samost, and journalist and former politician Hannes Rumm discussed the potential and actual candidates for the chairmanship of the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL). At the time of the broadcast, Helir-Valdor Seeder had not yet made his intention to run public.