European Court upholds Belgium's school head scarf ban

European rights court issues verdicts on three landmark climate cases

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Thursday upheld a head scarf ban at secondary schools in Flanders, Belgium's northern region.

Students at Flemish secondary schools are allowed to wear head scarves during religion classes but have to remove them during other classes.

The ban had been challenged by three young Muslim women but the court stated the Flemish education prohibits the wearing of any visible religious symbol and upheld the ban.

"The Court noted in the present case that the contested ban did not concern solely the Islamic veil, but applied without distinction to all visible symbols of belief," ECHR said in a statement.

It also said the ruling is final.

(Reporting by Charlotte Van Campenhout; editing by Christina Fincher)