The focus for the symposium will be the effect upon the enjoyment of religious liberty as a direct or indirect result of state responses to the threat posed to their citizens by the Coronavirus.
Mark’s paper will outline the international norms for the enjoyment of the qualified right to freedom of religion, emphasising how the qualifications have been narrowly drawn and strictly interpreted. It will then examine how the Coronavirus emergency has led to the re-drawing of the proportionality balance between religious liberty on the one hand and public health on the other. In particular it will consider:
- The constitutionality of restrictions imposed by government on movement and association
- The prohibition of public worship and other forms of religious observance
- The extent to which religious organisations may have been complicit in curtailing their own freedom liberties
- Judicial oversight of government action and the waning of any doctrine of deference
He will draw upon emergent case law from British and European Courts in which the balance to be drawn between the enjoyment of rights and the public good have been discussed, and the extent to which trends are discernible as greater expert knowledge has emerged. The other speakers will pick up these themes from North American, Asian and African perspectives.
Mark will be joined by Professor Richard Garnett, Professor Stephanie Barclay, both of Notre Dame University, USA, and Professor Arif Jamal of the National University of Singapore, and Dr Idowu Akinloye of Ajayi Crowther University, Nigeria who will give short responses to Mark’s address.