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Liechtenstein


International Religious Freedom Report 2004
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. The Roman Catholic Church is the official state church.

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 as part of its overall policy to promote human rights.

Section I. Religious Demography

The country has a total land area of 61.7 square miles (160 square kilometers) and as of June 2002, a total population of 32,883, according to the Office of the National Economy. There are 25,676 Roman Catholics, 2,348 Protestants, 1,347 Muslims, 254 Eastern Orthodox, 70 Buddhists, 32 members of Jehovah's Witnesses, 13 Anglicans, 17 Jews, 14 Baha'is, 8 New Apostolics, 8 members of other religions, and 3,569 persons who were undecided.

There are no significant foreign missionary groups in the country.

Section II. Status of Religious Freedom

Legal/Policy Framework

The Constitution provides for freedom of creed and conscience, 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 Criminal Code prohibits any form of discrimination or debasement of any religion or any of its adherents. The Constitution makes the Catholic Church the established church of the country and as such it enjoys the full protection of the State.

Church funding comes from the general budget, as decided by Parliament, and is not a direct "tithe" paid by the citizens. The Government gives money not only to the Catholic Church but also to other denominations. The budget is allocated proportionately according to membership numbers. The Roman Catholic Church's finances are integrated directly into the budgets of the national and local governments. The Catholic Church receives approximately $220,000 (300,000 Swiss francs) per year, plus additional sums from the 11 communes. The relationship between the State and the Roman Catholic Church is being redefined. All religious groups enjoy tax-exempt status.

The Archdiocese of Vaduz is to receive a lump sum of $2.2 million (3 million Swiss francs) over a total of 5 years as part of a financial settlement with the Diocese of Chur (Switzerland), to which it belonged until December 1997. The transaction is intended to allow for the financial separation of the dioceses from one another. The first down payment of $740,000 (1 million Swiss francs) was transferred in December 2003. Additional payments are now being made in installments of $300,000 (400,000 Swiss Francs). The Archdiocese of Vaduz will use the funds to pay back its property loan.

There are no significant foreign missionary groups in the country. To receive a religious-worker visa, an applicant must demonstrate that the host organization is important for the entire country. An applicant must have completed theological studies and be accredited with an acknowledged order. Visa requests normally are not denied and are processed in the same manner as requests from other individuals or workers.

In the course of the on-going discussion on the redefinition of the relationship between the State and the Catholic Church, parents of secondary school pupils were granted the automatic right to choose between traditional confessional religious education (provided for by the Catholic Church or the Protestant community) and nonconfessional classes on "Religion and Culture." However, confessional religious education for primary school pupils remains an issue of debate. A working group representing the local communities, religious teachers (catechists), and the Department of Education has worked out an agreement with the Archbishop of Vaduz that retains the compulsory nature of confessional religious education at the primary school level. The agreement regulates the employment of religious teachers, the authorization of teaching materials, and the supervision of religious education, but some local communities oppose the accord. The mooted agreement grants the Church autonomy in setting the curriculum and supervising religious education, and gives the Archbishop the final say on employment decisions of religious teachers, including dismissals. The agreement provides for a complementary supervisory role of the local communities; under the current system, the Department of Education is in charge of supervising religious education. By the end of the period covered by this report, the Protestants are the only other religious community allowed to offer religious education in primary schools. Members of other religious groups are not required to attend these classes. Groups other than the Catholic Church and the Protestants are free to regulate their own religious education.

The Government collaborates with religious institutions by supporting interfaith dialogues and providing adult education courses in religion, as well as other subjects.

Restrictions on Religious Freedom

Government policy continued to contribute 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.

Abuses by Terrorist Organizations

There were no reported abuses targeted at specific religions by terrorist organizations during the period covered by this report.

Section III. Societal Attitudes

The generally amicable relationship among religions in society contributed to religious freedom.Catholics, Protestants, and members of other faiths work well together on an ecumenical basis. Differences among religious faiths are not a significant source of tension in society.

Section IV. U.S. Government Policy

The U.S. Government discusses religious freedom issues with the Government as part of its overall policy to promote human rights.



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