'Religious Freedom Is a Human Right': Swiss Court lifts COVID-19 ban on religious gathering

A Swiss court has suspended a ban on religious gatherings in Geneva. This ban was made as a means of curbing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The Constitutional Chamber of the Canton of Geneva gave this declaration on December 3, 2020. This was after some indigenes complained that the ban was a violation of religious freedom. The lifting of the ban has caused the Geneva Christian community to celebrate. 

The Catholic News Agency reports that this ban has been described as one of the broadest bans on public worship in Europe. The ban which started on November 1 was aimed at containing the spread of coronavirus. However, the court stated that churches could not be proved as the cause of the outbreak of coronavirus within the area.

The suit was filed by Attorney Steve Alder, who said the order on religious assemblies was one of the most extensive public restrictions in Europe. Also, he said that the He pointed out that the ban was unfair because the city permitted other public gatherings to occur.

Alder said: "Enforcing it is a violation of the right to freedom of religion as protected in the Swiss Constitution and by international human rights standards. It disproportionately targets the activities of religious groups over commercial activities. With multiple religious groups in Geneva voicing their concerns over the disproportionality of the ban, we hope that the authorities will ultimately agree on a solution that protects everyone's right to practice their religion in line with international law."

An associate with the non-profit religious freedom law firm, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) International, Jennifer Lea, also stated that the suspension is "a significant step in the right direction."

In her words: "Religious freedom is a fundamental human right and governments seeking to restrict it carry the burden of proving the restriction is truly necessary and that a less restrictive approach would not work. 

"Favoring commercial establishments over religious services is not only discriminatory but ignores the robust protection that exists in national and international law for religious freedom."

Nevertheless, the Catholic Church in Geneva has advised that attendance for public Mass would be limited to 50 people. Face masks should be used while social distancing should also be observed.

0/Post a Comment/Comments

Previous Post Next Post