Bulgarian parliament adopts ban on face veils

Sofia, June 16 (IANS) The Bulgarian parliament has approved a bill that would ban the wearing of garments concealing the face entirely or partially in public places.

A total of 108 MPs voted in favour of the bill on Wednesday, proposed by the nationalist Patriotic Front (PF). Only eight lawmakers were against and none abstained from voting on the bill that would prohibit women from wearing naqabs and burqas, state run Novonite news agency reported.

The bill will be applicable to all official institutions and sites which provide administrative, educational or social services as well as places for public relaxation, sport, culture and communications.

Prior to entering the plenary chamber, the bill underwent approval by several parliamentary committees.

Bulgaria’s second largest opposition party, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS), proposed withdrawing the bill and including it in counter-terrorism legislation but that was rejected..

The law has already come into force in the municipal councils of Pazardzhik, Stara Zagora, Sliven and Burgas.

In May, the Dutch government implemented a partial ban on wearing veils in schools, hospitals and and while travelling in public transport.

In 2011, a law banning full face covering came into force in Belgium.

France has also banned veils and forbids head scarves and other religious accessories in schools and public buildings.

–IANS

ksk/bg

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