The Swiss vote this Sunday in a referendum on an initiative aimed at banning the wearing of the veil by women in the country, in a plebiscite criticized by NGOs such as Amnesty International, who consider its possible approval as an act of discrimination.
The initiative has been promoted by the deputies of the conservative formation Unión Democrática de Centro (UDC), which wants to prohibit the use of the burqa or niqab, as well as other non-religious ways of hiding the face, and has been rejected by the rest of parties from the Swiss political spectrum.
From the UDC, on the other hand, it is argued that this prohibition would help to prevent terrorist attacks and other forms of violence, and would facilitate the promotion of gender equality by freeing women who are “controlled, oppressed and captive,” reports the portal of Swiss Info news.
For now, both the Government and the federal chambers recommend rejecting the initiative. They have drawn up an indirect counterproposal, which will come into force if the initiative receives the refusal of the voters, and provides for the obligation to show the face when necessary for identification purposes, for example, in public administration or on public transport.
For her part, the director of Amnesty International Switzerland for women’s rights, Cyrielle Huguenot, has warned that “the proposed ban on the veil cannot in any way be considered a measure for the liberation of women.”
“On the contrary,” she has pointed out, “it is a dangerous policy that violates their rights, and would have a particularly negative effect on Muslim women.”
“Its effect is the opposite: it proposes to sanction women for their choice of clothing and, in doing so, undermines the freedoms that Switzerland claims to respect and defend,” he explained about the possible ban, which “carries the risk of stigmatizing women who they belong to an already marginalized group, consolidating stereotypes about certain people and increasing intolerance. “