Swiss government rejects ‘burka ban’ initiative

Geneva: The Swiss Federal Council said on Wednesday that it does not support “burkha ban” initiative that called for a nationwide ban on face-covering headgear.

Instead it issued a counter-proposal that no woman should be forced to hide her face, Xinhua cited Swiss news agency ATS as saying.

The council said it has the backing of the major political parties, except for the Swiss People’s Party.

The Federal Council, the national executive of the government, a group made of representatives of major political parties, recommended that voters reject the “burka ban” initiative.

The “burka ban” initiative was handed in with enough signatures to have a referendum on it by its promotors, the Rightwing, Swiss People’s Party (SVP), in September. No date has yet been set for the vote.

The SVP initiative wants face-covering headgear to be banned in public places all over Switzerland apart from a few exceptions, such as for health reasons.

The initiative of the Federal Council on the other hand contends that “No woman should be forced to hide her face.”

The government plans to include its proposal in the penal code that it is punishable to compel a person to hide his or her face.