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U.S. Department of State

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Sao Tome and Principe


International Religious Freedom Report 2007
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
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The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the Government generally respected this right in practice.

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

There were no reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious belief or practice.

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 an area of 386 square miles and a population of 160,400 (2004 estimate). The population is predominantly Roman Catholic. No official statistics are available; however, it is estimated that approximately 72 percent of the population is Roman Catholic, 23 percent Protestant, 3 percent Muslim, and 2 percent atheist. Protestantism has grown considerably in recent years due to the activities of Protestant missionaries. The number of Muslims has increased due to an influx of illegal immigrants from Nigeria and Cameroon. Some syncretistic beliefs are practiced, combining indigenous traditions with Christian or Islamic beliefs.

Foreign missionaries operate in the country unhindered.

Section II. Status of Religious Freedom

Legal/Policy Framework

The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the Government generally respected this right in practice. The Government at all levels sought to protect this right in full and did not tolerate its abuse, either by governmental or private actors. There is no state religion.

Religious organizations must register with the Government. There were no reports that any groups were denied registration or that the activities of unregistered groups were restricted.

The Government celebrates certain holy days as national holidays. These include Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, All Souls' Day, and Christmas.

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 in the country.

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 Abuses and Discrimination

There were no reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious belief or practice.

Section IV. U.S. Government Policy

The U.S. Embassy, based in Libreville, Gabon, discusses religious freedom issues with the Government as part of its overall policy to promote human rights. Embassy officials regularly met with the country's Catholic bishop, Protestant church leaders, and nongovernmental organizations.



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