S.A.S. v France: Burqa Bans and the Control or Empowerment of Identities

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This piece argues that the European Court of Human Rights relies on a largely unheard of concept in human rights law of 'living together' in this legal case concerning the French law banning burqas in all public places. The author argues that human rights law's purpose is to empower individuals, recognising and protecting their identities. It should not interpret concepts within the European Convention on Human Rights as constraining identities. It should not focus on how one perceive another's personality and ban practices for that reason. 'Living together' makes a mockery of freedom of expression. The decision constrains the freedom of women who wear, and may in future want to wear, a face veil. It has potential to push out forms of expressions deemed unacceptable to the majority.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-389
Number of pages13
JournalHuman Rights Law Review
Issue number2
Early online date15 Apr 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015


  • freedom
  • burqa bans
  • human rights

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