The Express (British) website reports today (June 24, 2010) that members of parliament from 47 European countries voted unanimously yesterday that outlawing the burkha -- the full-faced veils worn by Muslim women -- would deny women "who genuinely and freely desire to do so" the right to cover their faces.
The Council of Europe's resolution is not binding on members of the group, which includes all European countries except Belarus and Turkey.
On the other hand, the vote by the human rights group threatens to torpedo bans of the burkha planned in France, Belgium, and the Netherlands, since it could open governments up to costly legal battles.
Yesterday, the Senate in Spain approved a motion -- by a close 131 to 129 vote -- to ban Muslim women from wearing the burkha or other garments that cover the whole body. The Spanish government must abide by the Senate's motion. Thus, Spain has become the first country in Europe to legally ban the burkha.