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Monday 19.03.2018 | Name days: Jāzeps

Government establishes prohibition to wear face-concealing clothes in public

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUOn Tuesday, 22 August, Latvian government supported Justice Ministry’s proposed legislative draft on restrictions for face-concealing clothes, which prohibits residents from wearing such clothes in public places.

As noted in the annotation to the document, the goal of the law is ensuring unified and harmonic society, open interpersonal communication and healthy community.

The law also provides for exceptions for situations when face concealing is necessary. For example, for motorcycle drivers, participants of sports, art or festive events, special service operatives and people suffering from certain diseases.

Restrictions will not apply to religious temples, praying rooms and other premises where religious practices are performed.

The legislative draft now has to be reviewed and approved by the Saeima.

It was previously reported that based on proposals from the Cabinet of Ministers committee, Justice Ministry decided to expand the annotation to the law by adding a reference to rulings of the European Court of Human Rights in cases involving similar restrictions. In those cases, the court declared that they did not violate the European Convention on Human Rights.

The ministry also notes that before the law comes into force, it is necessary to organize educational measures to explain to society how the law will be used in practical situations. While the legislative draft is being viewed in the Saeima, the ministry plans to develop guidelines and more expansive range of application for the law.

Foreign Affairs Ministry, on the other hand, notes that the ministry is not convinced of the legislative draft’s necessity and explanations provided for specific situations.

Although the annotation has been added with more expansive explanation, it still lacks the assessment in relation to the possible risk to Latvia’s constitutional values and need for such restrictions, considering the relatively small number of people this law will affect, notes the Ombudsman’s Office.


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