Conference of European Churches reflects on freedom of religion during COVID-19 pandemic

The Conference of European Churches Thematic Group on Human Rights has reflected on freedom of religion or belief during the fight against COVID-19.

“This year Christians in many countries are prevented from gathering in person to commemorate and celebrate in Easter services the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ,” reads the document. “The protection of the weak and vulnerable is also a very high value from a religious perspective and needs to be balanced against the need for community and gathering.”

It is important to acknowledge that the prohibition of assemblies is not meant as religious discrimination and persecution, continues the document. “At present this measure is intended to safeguard human lives, both of the believers and of other members of society,” reads the text. “However, all restrictions of fundamental rights must have a legal base, be necessary, suitable, reasonable and generally proportionate in relation to the aim they serve and the right they limit.”