Netherlands: doctor turns away woman wearing veil

On Christmas day, a family doctor in Utrecht refused to allow a woman into his surgery because she was wearing a niqab, or burqa. The 23-year-old woman had brought her baby to see the doctor. The three-month-old child had diarrhoea and had not drunk for several hours, a situation which is potentially dangerous in young baby. However, the doctor refused to see the woman because she was wearing Islamic dress, with her face covered.

The Equal Treatment Commission confirmed it has received a complaint from the woman, following a report in the newspaper AD. A spokesperson said the commission would definitely be dealing with the complaint, as a GP provides a service and should not refuse to see a woman on the ground of her religious expression. According to the commission this is the first time such a case has been reported. The woman has also lodged a complaint with the GP’s practice and the medical disciplinary tribunal.

Radio Netherlands, 29 December 2009