Human rights activists in OSCE call to ease quarantine measures for worship

The OSCE held an annual meeting on religious freedom issues. Photo: armeniatoday.news

When shops, banks and social institutions are open, churches that comply with quarantine measures cannot be closed, said the head of the NGO “Public Advocacy”.

On November 10, 2020, during the OSCE annual Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting (SHDM) on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Oleg Denisov, head of the human rights organization “Public Advocacy”, announced the need to ease quarantine restrictions for religious organizations, reports the press service of the NGO.

In particular, according to Oleg Denisov, in a situation of massive lockdowns and quarantine restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, "it is necessary to find a balance between compliance with safety standards and the right of believers to carry out religious rites in a traditional form".

“If shops, banks, social institutions can work during the quarantine period, why should the church be completely closed?” said Denisov. "The ban on worship in this situation, when the church ensures compliance with all sanitary standards, is clearly a violation of international law on religious freedom."

The head of the human rights organization pointed out that the desire to replace traditional forms of religion with digital technologies does not find support among many believers, and it is necessary to fully protect their right to religious practice. He stressed that international law and national law in the overwhelming majority of countries are on the side of believers.

In this regard, the NGO "Public Advocacy" recommended the OSCE and the member states of this organization to ease the restrictive measures during the quarantine period towards religious organizations.

As reported, the head of the UOC Representation to European International Organizations, Bishop Victor (Kotsaba), during the annual meeting of the OSCE called for a more active response to systemic violations of the rights of UOC believers.

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