Switzerland Referendum: People Vote In Favour To Ban Full Facial Coverings, Including Niqab & Burqa, In Public PlacesA burqa-clad woman. (Representative image) 

In a referendum held in Switzerland, the majority have voted in favour of banning full facial coverings including the niqab and burqa in almost all public places, reports Livemint.

As a result of the referendum's outcome, the facial covering will be banned in all publicly accessible places, including on the streets, in public offices, on public transport, in restaurants, shops and in the countryside.

However, facial coverings will continue to be allowed at places of worship and other sacred sites, and also for health and safety reasons, and in situations where it is "local custom" such as carnivals. It should be noted though that there will be no additional exceptions, for example for tourists.

As many as 51.21 per cent of voters voted in support of the proposal in the referendum. It should be noted that even though the referendum's proposal does not mention Islam specifically, it has been widely referred to as the "burqa ban" in the Swiss media. The proposal has also received opposition from Swiss religious organizations, human rights and civic groups and the federal government.

The Swiss Federal Council, which serves as the country's federal government, and the Swiss Parliament have also opposed the initiative as going too far and advised people to vote against it.

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