'Burkini' Bans in Belgian Municipal Swimming Pools: Banning As a Default Option

Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights, December 2018

17 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2018

See all articles by Eva Brems

Eva Brems

Ghent University-Universiteit Gent

Saïla Ouald Chaib

Ghent University-Universiteit Gent

Katrijn Vanhees

Ghent University-Universiteit Gent - Faculty of Law

Date Written: October 1, 2018

Abstract

Muslim women’s religious dress is a matter that exercises many minds and the recent public debate on the so-called “burkini” (preferably phrased as “body covering swimwear”) is the umpteenth variation on the theme. Following the French commotion on the presence of “burkini” wearers at the coast in 2016, the “burkini” became the subject of public debate in Belgium. Whereas the “burkini” did not cause much public unrest in the context of the Belgian coast, the majority of local swimming pools in the Flemish region of Belgium do have dress codes banning the “burkini”, even before the (inter)national media outcry. This article discusses the prevalence of these restrictive dress regulations and scrutinizes the rationalisation behind local “burkini” bans in municipal swimming pools. These findings are complemented with the perspectives and experiences of “burkini” wearers, who challenged the “burkini” bans before the court. Finally, this article analyses the “burkini” bans in light of European human rights standards.

Keywords: Religious Dress, Municipal Regulations, Swimming Pools, Discrimination, Flanders, European Court of Human Rights

Suggested Citation

Brems, Eva and Ouald Chaib, Saïla and Vanhees, Katrijn, 'Burkini' Bans in Belgian Municipal Swimming Pools: Banning As a Default Option (October 1, 2018). Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights, December 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3263401

Eva Brems (Contact Author)

Ghent University-Universiteit Gent ( email )

Coupure Links 653
Gent, 9000
Belgium

Saïla Ouald Chaib

Ghent University-Universiteit Gent ( email )

Coupure Links 653
Gent, 9000
Belgium

Katrijn Vanhees

Ghent University-Universiteit Gent - Faculty of Law ( email )

Universiteitstraat 4
Ghent, B-9000
Belgium

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