Muslim bloc committee slams Switzerland over burka ban
Organization of Islamic Cooperation human rights board calls Swiss law grossly discriminatory, against ideals of pluralism
The human rights board of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Saturday strongly condemned last Sunday’s referendum in Switzerland passing a ban of facial coverings.
On Twitter, the OIC’s Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) said it “strongly condemns Swiss ban on facial veils as grossly discriminatory, disproportionate, contrary to ideals of pluralism and tolerance” and violating international and regional human rights obligations.
It added: “Such Islamophobic measures are counterproductive for societal cohesion."
It further urged the Swiss government to accord precedence to its obligations under international human rights law and reject the ban.
It said Swiss Muslims should exhaust domestic remedies and approach the European Court of Human Rights, UN treaty signatories, and the international community to engage Swiss civil society to “strengthen communal respect and solidarity," it said.
In the controversial March 7 referendum, the Swiss voted narrowly in favor of banning face coverings in public, including the burka or niqab worn by Muslim women.
The "burka ban," launched in 2016 by a right-leaning initiative committee, was accepted by 51.2% of those who cast ballots, with voter turnout of 51.4%.
Sunday's referendum was put forward by a group associated with the right-wing Swiss People's Party, which campaigned with slogans such as "Stop extremism" and in some areas with posters of Muslim women in veils.
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