News from Europe

Swiss court suspends Geneva worship ban

Churches in Geneva can now reopen after a court in Switzerland suspended the canton’s total ban on religious services and events. The prohibition was introduced on the 1st of November to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.


The Swiss Constitutional Chamber of the Canton of Geneva is yet to decide whether the ban is a violation of the right to freedom of religion after a group of concerned citizens filed a legal challenge against it. But the suspension “indicates that the ban is not proportionate and means that religious services and gatherings are now permitted until a final judgment is handed down,” the Christian legal firm Alliance Defending Freedom International, which supported the case, said in a statement.

“The Chamber indicated that the likelihood of the case ultimately succeeding is “high or very high,” according to the legal group, which has offices in Geneva.

The canton’s COVID-19 order banned all religious gatherings other than small funerals and weddings. Other public secular gatherings, including demonstrations and professional choir practices, were allowed to take place, however. The Chamber noted that the canton failed to demonstrate that places of worship had contributed to any COVID-19 outbreak.


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