STRASBOURG (AFP) - Banning the full Islamic veil would not liberate oppressed women, a European rights chief said Sunday, and could lead to them becoming even more alienated in society. Thomsas Hammarberg, the Council of Europes Human Rights Commissioner, said banning the burqa and niqab would be an unreasonable invasion of personal privacy. Supporters of a ban have not shown that women who wear the veil are more oppressed than others, Hammarberg said, nor that the veil undermines democracy or public morals.Prohibition of the burqa and the niqab would not liberate oppressed women, but might instead lead to their further alienation in European societies, he said. A general ban on such attires would constitute an ill-advised invasion of individual privacy.Depending on its terms, he said, a ban might also breach the European Convention on Human Rights. Hammarberg said that the small number of women who wear the veil - around 1,900 in France, which is home to Europes largest Muslim community - made the idea that it undermines democracy, public safety or morals unconvincing. Women interviewed in the media about why they wore the veil gave a range of reasons, he said. There may, of course, be cases where they are under undue pressure - but it is not shown that a ban would be welcomed by these women, Hammarberg said. Rightly, we react strongly against any regime ruling that women must wear these garments. This is absolutely repressive and should not be accepted.But banning the same clothing in other countries did not remedy this situation, he said, and governments should avoid passing laws on how people dress themselves.