Pertinence of a General Prohibition of the Burqa and Niqab in Spain: A Human Rights Perspective

David Fernández Rojo


The debate on whether to prohibit the burqa and niqab in Spain has been reopened after the recent decision of the Spanish Supreme Court on 14 February 2013. The Spanish Supreme Court held that a municipality could not pass a local law prohibiting the right to wear the full-face veil in public spaces. This article analyzes a conceptual and theoretical framework to establish that the full-face veil qualifies as an external manifestation of the right to religious freedom. Moreover, the pertinence of a burqa-ban in all Spanish public spaces is analyzed and a general prohibition is not found to be a suitable, necessary, and proportional measure to achieve gender equality, public order or «respect for the minimum requirements of life in society».

Published online: 11 December 2017


burqa; niqab; general prohibition; gender equality; public order; «living together»; Spain; proportionality; margin of appreciation

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