Excerpt:

The European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday upheld a Belgian ban on wearing the full-face niqab veil in public, calling the restriction "necessary in a democratic society".

The veil is a controversial issue across Europe, with some countries banning the garment in public in the name of safety and rights groups arguing that this amounts to a violation of civil liberties.

The court ruled that the ban sought to guarantee social cohesion, the "protection of the rights and freedoms of others" and that it was "necessary in a democratic society", a statement said.

The EU's top rights court said a bye-law adopted in June 2008 in three Belgian municipalities "could be regarded as proportionate to the aim pursued, namely the preservation of the conditions of 'living together'."


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