[JURIST] The German state of Bavaria [official website] on Tuesday approved a ban [video, in German] on full-face veils in certain public spaces, including universities, schools, government workplaces and while driving. Asserting that facial expressions are important to communication, Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann stated in support of the bill that “[communication] forms the foundation of our interpersonal relationships and is the basis of our society and free and democratic order.” Bavarian Justice Minister Winfried Bausback [official profiles, in German] also supported the law: “[t]he burqa [face and body veil] and the niqab [face-covering veil] are not only diametrically opposed to our understanding of the equality of man and woman and open communication. In court, they complicate understanding of the truth and the enforcement of material justice. The Bundesrat [official website], a German legislative body composed of representatives of the 16 states, is set to vote on a nation-wide veil ban in German courtrooms on Friday.
German chancellor Angela Merkel in December called for [JURIST report] a full-face veil ban nationwide, stating that “[t]he full veil is not appropriate here, it should be forbidden wherever that is legally possible. It does not belong to us.” Burqas have been banned in numerous countries [map], including Austria and the Netherlands [JURIST reports]. In 2015, after suicide bombings in Fotokol by two women wearing burkas, Northern Cameroon banned [JURIST report] women from wearing burkas and face-covering veils as the bombs had been smuggled into public under veils.