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S.A.S v. France

European Court of Human Rights
2014 Eur. Ct. H.R. 695 (2014)


In 2010, France (defendant) passed a law that banned the wearing of any face-covering clothing items in public places. A French-Muslim woman (plaintiff) challenged the ban in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). The woman wore a burqa and niqab as part of her religious observance and stressed that she had made a personal choice to wear the garments and had not been pressured by anyone to dress in that way. The woman agreed to show her face for identity checks and also understood that she should remove the niqab in certain situations, including during security checks, at banks, and in airports. France asserted that the ban pursued the two legitimate goals of public safety and respect for the values of a democratic society, including respect for the minimum requirements of life in society, pursuant to Articles 8 and 9 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (Convention), which call for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

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Dissent (Nussberger, J.)

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