Today, Switzerland’s parliament voted, by a slim majority, to accept the Swiss People’s Party (UDC/SVP) text banning the wearing of burkas across all of Switzerland. The text, accepted by 88 votes to 87, is the same as the text used for a similar ban in the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino, that went into force on 1 July 2016.
UDC member Walter Wobmann, from the canton of Solothurn, said: “It is about maintaining public order and respecting the dignity of women”, adding: in Ticino the ban has been introduced without problems, and a number of other european and african states have, or would like to, introduce such bans.
- Swiss canton of Ticino passes law that bans burka (Le News)
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He said, showing one’s face is part of our culture, and then avoiding specifically attacking the burka, said: “All clothing that allows the face to be hidden should be banned.”
The left, some from the PLR (FDP), and members of the PDC (CVP), were against the move. Valérie Piller of the Socialist Party, reminded the audience that the burka and niqab were rare in Switzerland, and a ban would affect tourists from the Persian Gulf, hurting tourism. She also said she thinks cantons should be allowed to come to their own decisions on the subject.
Next the States Council will have its say. However, even if the plan musters a majority in the States Council, implementation will be suspended until an impending referendum on the question, launched in on 15 March 2016, has concluded.