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Church News

MPs call for evidence on whether freedom of religion has been compromised by Covid restrictions

by Cara Bentley

MPs on the Joint Committee on Human Rights are inviting the general public to submit written evidence about whether they think their freedom of religion has been compromised by the Government's Covid-19 measures. 

The Committee is asking for people's views on "the impact of lockdown on the freedom of religion and belief, and in particular on collective worship. Have interferences with the freedom of religion and belief been proportionate?"

Churches across the UK have been forced to close at various points this year, with the longest period being in the first lockdown. Some church leaders have started legal action against the Government in response, while the vast majority have complied. 

Each of the four nations have opened and closed church buildings at a slightly different pace, sometimes with limits on numbers and often only being allowed open for individual prayer. Northern Ireland is currently the only part of the UK that will not allow in-person church services this weekend.  

The JCHR is examining the impact of lockdown restrictions on human rights and whether those measures have interfered with people's human rights "to the extent that is necessary and proportionate".

The Committee, chaired by Harriet Harman, is also seeking views on the impact on university students, care homes, those in the strictest restriction areas of the country, protestors and the use of police measures. 

Those who contribute to the committee are to write no more than 1,500 words and submit their opinions online by 11th January 2021.

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