There were reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice. Generally, public attitudes toward the small Protestant and Muslim communities were friendly in the capital of Dili; however, outside of the capital, Protestant religious groups were occasionally subject to harassment, violence, and discrimination.
A few Protestant churches operating in rural areas reported that their churches and members encountered harassment and physical threats. These tensions sometimes escalated into incidents of physical violence in remote rural communities. Some Protestant leaders reported individuals who converted to a Protestant faith encountered harassment by family, members of their community, and local leaders.
In March and April a Protestant missionary church in the town of Lospalos reported that members of a local Catholic youth group and a community leader harassed its members and prevented them from holding religious services. The national police reportedly investigated the case, but no further action was taken by year’s end. The church’s leaders were able to resume religious services.
According to Protestant community leaders, in October a member of the local community stoned a Protestant church in Lospalos and physically assaulted one of the church’s members. Other members of the local community also threatened church property and church members.
At year’s end one pending court case of societal abuse against Jehovah’s Witnesses remained in the judicial process.
Muslim leaders contacted by the embassy reported no discrimination.