During the COVID-19 crisis

For a period of several months or more, European governments will severely curb civil liberties in attempts to suppress the spread of the virus. Under difficult circumstances, it is likely that public authorities, including the police, will enforce restrictions that limit personal freedom. In many cases, this may be in the public interest; sometimes it will not. The message from Europeans must be absolutely clear: today, we willingly cede our freedoms in a crisis – but tomorrow, we want them back.

The Quaker Council for European Affairs promotes a vision based on peace, justice and equality to Europe and its institutions. We will be promoting these values in European policy, and supporting those of us who are most marginalised to advocate for the radical change they want and need. We are also currently gathering evidence about new powers claimed by governments, as well as potential abuses by authorities, in the context of the COVID-19 response. The aim is to allow us to be effective advocates for fundamental rights in a changing context, and to ensure that these drastic new powers do not become permanent.

How you can contribute

We are currently accumulating a record of the following from across Europe:

new powers claimed by governments which have human rights implications,
• the legislation, often passed very quickly, which granted these powers,
• details of how long governments will retain the right to use these measures,
• reports of abuses by authorities,
• examples of solidarity and resistance/resilience.

You can be part of this effort by submitting information from your country. If you are able to help with our data collection effort, or you have an incident of abuse to report, please click here.

Would you like to contribute time to this effort? Perhaps you are currently isolated, or away from your usual work or study. We would appreciate help either for a few hours per week or as part of a distance work placement. More information is available here, where you will find our recruitment email address.


Join our online conversation!

Friday 12 June, Online via Zoom
15:30-17:30 Central European Time
14:30-16:30 Britain and Ireland

This online conversation in two sessions will hear from staff at the Quaker Council for European Affairs about the impact of COVID-19 on peace and human rights. Anyone with an internet connection is welcome to register to join!

  • Session 1: During COVID will report back on the research being undertaken by QCEA to establish the impact of government responses to COVID-19 on marginalised communities.
  • Session 2: After COVID will allow a space from participants to consider how the pandemic will affect the longer term work of social movements for a more just, peaceful and sustainable world.

Click here to register to receive the Zoom online meeting link prior to the meeting.


COVID-19 analysis

from the QCEA Blog

from our partners