Article 9 and hijabs in school again: Mikyas

In Mikyas and Others v Belgium [2024] No 50681/20 [In French], three young Muslim women complained that they were not allowed to wear the hijab at secondary schools except during religious education classes. In 2009 the Education Council of the Flemish Community [Onderwijs van de Vlaamse Gemeenschap] decided to extend the ban on wearing visible symbols of one’s beliefs throughout its network, and the ban was applied to all school activities except for religious education and non-denominational ethics classes. The secondary schools attended by the applicants implemented the ban, and when they were enrolled in secondary schools, their parents signed the school regulations containing the prohibition. In 2017 their parents, as their legal representatives, brought proceedings against the Education Council, arguing breach of Article 9 ECHR. In 2018, the Tongeren Court of First Instance held that the prohibition breached Article 9 but it was reversed by the Antwerp Court of Appeal – and, on taking further legal advice, the parents decided not to appeal to the Court of Cassation. Continue reading