Female civil servants in Algeria will now be prohibited from wearing the niqab or burqa, according to a new directive from Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia. The politician has banned women working in the country’s public sector from wearing full-face veils due to issues surrounding identification, he revealed in a letter sent to ministers and governors last week.
“Civil servants observe the rules and requirements of security and communication within their department, which impose their systematic and permanent physical identification,” Ouyahia said, according to The Independent. The move follows Algeria’s Education Ministry banning the wearing of full face veils and the niqab in schools last year.
The country is the latest in a line of nations that have enforced restrictions on Islamic dress in recent years. As of August 1, 2018, those found wearing facial coverings in public in Denmark will be fined 1,000 kroner, while repeat offenders can be fined up to 10,000 kroner (SAR/AED 5,700). The regulations, which do not explicitly state the Islamic veil is outlawed, sparked protests when they came into effect over the summer.
Human Rights Watch called the regulations ”discriminatory”, adding it was the “latest in a harmful trend” that follows the suit of similar laws in the Netherlands, Austria, and Belgium. France became the first European nation to outlaw the niqab and burqa back in 2011.