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Dominica


International Religious Freedom Report 2002
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
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The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the Government generally respects this right in practice.

There was no change in the status of respect for religious freedom during the period covered by this report, and government policy continued to contribute to the generally free practice of religion.

The generally amicable relationship among the religions in society contributed to religious freedom.

The U.S. Government discusses religious freedom issues with the Government in the context of its overall dialog and policy of promoting human rights.

Section I. Religious Demography

The country has a total area of 289 square miles, and its population is approximately 72,000. The dominant religion is Christianity, of which the Roman Catholic faith constitutes a substantial plurality. Over the last few years, there have been changes in the religious demographics of the country, with a substantial number of individuals joining Pentecostal churches. There are also Seventh-Day Adventist, Anglican, Methodist, Jehovah's Witnesses, Baptist, Nazarian, Church of Christ, and Brethern Christian communities. The minority religions include Rastafarianism, the Baha'i Faith, and Islam.

Section II. Status of Religious Freedom

Legal/Policy Framework

The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the Government generally respects this right in practice. The Government at all levels strives to protect this right in full, and does not tolerate its abuse, either by governmental or private actors. The Constitution includes provisions against religious discrimination, which the authorities respect in practice.

The Government is secular, and does not interfere with the individual's right to worship. Christian holy days such as Good Friday, Easter, Whit Monday, and Christmas are national holidays. The Government does not take any steps to promote interfaith understanding.

Restrictions on Religious Freedom

Government policy and practice contributed to the generally free practice of religion. Members of the Rastafarian community have complained that law enforcement officials unfairly target them. However, it is not clear whether such complaints reflect discrimination on the basis of religious belief by authorities or simply enforcement of laws against marijuana, which is used as part of Rastafarian religious practice.

There were no reports of religious prisoners or detainees.

Forced Religious Conversion

There were no reports of forced religious conversion, including of minor U.S. citizens who had been abducted or illegally removed from the United States, or of the refusal to allow such citizens to be returned to the United States.

Section III. Societal Attitudes

Relations between the various religious communities are generally amicable. The Dominica Christian Council and the Dominica Association of Evangelical Churches conduct activities to promote greater mutual understanding and tolerance among adherents of different denominations within the Christian faith.

Section IV. U.S. Government Policy

The U.S. Embassy discusses religious freedom issues with the Government, local groups, and other organizations in the context of its overall dialog and policy of promoting human rights.

 



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