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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Dominica


Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
Report
May 20, 2013

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Executive SummaryShare    

The constitution and other laws and policies protect religious freedom and, in practice, the government respected religious freedom. The trend in the government’s respect for religious freedom did not change significantly during the year.

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

U.S. embassy representatives discussed religious freedom with government officials, including the attorney general, with the Red Cross of Dominica and other nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and with religious charitable organizations.

Section I. Religious DemographyShare    

The 2011 census estimates the population at 71,300. The 2001 population and housing census indicates approximately 61 percent of the population is Roman Catholic. Seventh-day Adventists and Pentecostals comprise 6 percent each, and Baptists and Methodists 4 percent each. Other small religious groups include Anglicans, Bahais, Christian Brethren, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims, Nazarenes, Rastafarians and members of the Church of Christ. Six percent of the population claims no religious affiliation.

Section II. Status of Government Respect for Religious FreedomShare    

Legal/Policy Framework

The constitution and other laws and policies protect religious freedom. The constitution provides for freedom of religion, freedom to practice religion, freedom of thought, and freedom from oaths contrary to one’s beliefs. By law, the government may make exceptions to these freedoms in the interests of public order and morality as “reasonably required.”

Religious groups seeking non-profit status must register with the attorney general’s office. Any organization denied permission to register has the right to apply for judicial review. By law, religious groups must register buildings used exclusively as places of worship with the registrar general, if banns of marriage are published there.

The public school curriculum includes Christian education, and prayer takes place during morning assembly although non-Christian students need not participate.

The government prohibits the use of marijuana, including for religious purposes.

The government observes the following religious holidays as national holidays: Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Whit Monday, and Christmas.

Government Practices

There were no reports of abuses of religious freedom.

Rastafarians complained about the prohibition on marijuana use, which was integral to their religious rituals.

The government subsidized teacher salaries at Catholic-, Methodist-, and Seventh-day Adventist-affiliated schools.

Section III. Status of Societal Respect for Religious FreedomShare    

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

Section IV. U.S. Government PolicyShare    

U.S. embassy officials discussed religious freedom with the government, NGOs, and religious charitable organizations. Embassy officers met specifically with the attorney general and the Red Cross to discuss the status of religious freedom.



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