Niqabs

Lord Sheikh:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they have taken to ensure that women who choose to wear the niqab or burqa in public are not subject to discrimination.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Women who chose to wear niqab or burqa are protected by the Equality Act 2010, the core provisions of which were commenced on 1 October, by the Government Equalities Office, carries forward previous legal protection from discrimination and harassment because of religion or belief, or lack of belief, in areas including employment, the provision of goods, facilities and services, education and the exercise of public functions.

Lord Sheikh:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of how often women who wear the niqab or burqa are refused entry to public buildings.

Baroness Hanham: Such data are not recorded centrally by government; therefore no assessment has been made.

Lord Sheikh:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to engage with religious and community leaders when considering the issue of women wearing the niqab or burqa in the United Kingdom.

Baroness Hanham: Government departments regularly meet representatives of all faith groups to discuss issues that concern them. The Government do not plan to discuss burqa and niqab issues specifically.

Updated: 02/11/2010 — 2:36 PM