printable banner

U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Guinea-Bissau


International Religious Freedom Report 2008
Share

The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and other laws and policies contributed to the generally free practice of religion.

The Government generally respected religious freedom in practice. There was no change in the status of respect for religious freedom by the Government during the period covered by this report.

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

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

Section I. Religious Demography

The country has an area of 13,948 square miles and a population of 1.5 million. Approximately half the population follows traditional indigenous religious practices. Of the remainder of the population, approximately 40-45 percent are Muslim and 5-10 percent are Christian.

Islam is practiced most widely by the Fula and Mandinka ethnic groups; Muslims generally live in the north and northeast. Virtually all Muslims are Sunni. The number of Ahmadi is extremely small and not confined to any particular geographic region. Practitioners of traditional indigenous religious beliefs generally live in all but the northern parts of the country. Christians belong to a number of groups, including the Roman Catholic Church and various Protestant denominations. Christians are concentrated in Bissau and other large towns.

Section II. Status of Religious Freedom

Legal/Policy Framework

The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and other laws and policies contributed to the generally free practice of religion. The Government at all levels generally sought to protect this right in full against abuse, either by governmental or private actors.

In previous reporting periods the Government took steps to ban Ahmadiyya. Members of the religious group appealed the policy and in 2006 the Attorney General ruled the declaration banning their activities had no legal basis. Ahmadis continue to practice their faith.

Members of all major religious groups are represented in the national assembly.

The Government observes Christmas as a national holiday.

The Government requires that religious groups be licensed and reportedly did not refuse any applications. There were no reports that new applications were made during the period covered by this report.

Restrictions on Religious Freedom

The Government generally respected religious freedom in practice. There was no change in the status of respect for religious freedom by the Government during the period covered by this report.

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 affiliation, belief, or practice.

Section IV. U.S. Government Policy

The U.S. Government discusses religious freedom with the Government as part of its overall policy to promote human rights. Since there is no U.S. Embassy in the capital Bissau, the U.S. Embassy in Dakar, Senegal, handles all official contact with the country.




Back to Top
Sign-in

Do you already have an account on one of these sites? Click the logo to sign in and create your own customized State Department page. Want to learn more? Check out our FAQ!

OpenID is a service that allows you to sign in to many different websites using a single identity. Find out more about OpenID and how to get an OpenID-enabled account.