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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

St. Lucia


International Religious Freedom Report 2003
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 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 238 square miles, and its population is approximately 162,157. Christianity is the dominant religion, with Roman Catholics accounting for approximately 65 percent of the population. There also are Anglican, Methodist, Baptist, Pentecostal, Seventh-day Adventist, and Jehovah's Witness faiths. The minority religions include Rastafarianism, and the Baha'i Faith.

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 Government is secular and does not interfere with an individual's right to worship. Christian holy days, such as Good Friday, Easter, Whit Monday, and Christmas are national holidays.

Restrictions on Religious Freedom

Government policy and practice contributed to the generally free practice of religion.

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 St. Lucia Christian Council conducts activities to promote greater mutual understanding and tolerance among adherents of different denominations within the Christian faith.

In May, the St. Lucia High Court sentenced two Rastafarian men to hang. They were charged with murder and arson in the December 2000 killing of a nun and priest who had been set on fire, along with other congregation members, during a Catholic Mass in the capital of Castries. The Catholic Church now conducts widely publicized Cathedral Security Services each Sunday and on all feast days. There have been signs of religious intolerance within the community; however, the Government strongly criticizes and investigates such events.

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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