How to Cope with Counter-Performance in Public Administration. The Case of Freedom of Religion or Belief During the Pandemic

Cătălin Raiu, Laura Mina-Raiu


The Covid-19 pandemic crisis serves as a genu­ine natural experiment for societies worldwide, as the health-related crisis allowed governments to im­plement extreme measures that impacted people’s rights and freedoms, challenging the boundaries of democracy and rule of law. In the context of religious life, Romania was pointed by the OSCE as being one of the countries that have opted for the harshest measures to restrict religious life since the begin­ning of the pandemic.

In this paper we present a case study of Roma­nia’s restrictions imposed on religious life during the Covid-19 crisis, using secondary data analysis stemming from the UN, the OSCE, the Court of Ap­peal of Bucharest etc., as a framework to objectively analyze how the government should act regarding religious life, by enforcing the principles enshrined by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Art. no. 18.

Our main findings suggest that, in Romania, during the pandemic, the restrictions imposed on re­ligious life were politically bargained by the govern­ment rather than being mediated through national law and international standards and commitments on Freedom of Religion or Belief and based on the democratic principles of the rule of law.


freedom of religion or belief (FoRB); democracy; pandemic restrictions; church and state; human rights; government.

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