Prior to the 2011 implementing regulations, 141 minority religious groups were registered with the MINJUS. The 2011 requirement to submit at least 10,000 adult members disqualified most groups from reregistering. The MINJUS and the National Elections Board did not approve any applications of the 73 non‑Catholic previously registered religious groups that had applied for reregistration under the 2011 implementing regulations and no new groups have been registered.
On December 21, MINJUS released for public comment newly proposed implementing regulations to the Religious Freedom Law to replace the 2011 regulations. The proposed regulations state registration is voluntary, and that nonregistered and registered religious entities can equally exercise religious freedom under the country’s constitution and laws. If issued, the proposed regulations would reduce the membership requirement for registration from 10,000 members to 500. The proposed regulations also exempt historically established religious groups from the membership requirement. The accompanying explanatory statement cites the Coptic Orthodox (with less than 15 members in Peru), Lutheran, Russian Orthodox, Methodist, Evangelical Churches, and the Jewish and Islamic communities as examples of groups under this category. Following the public comment and review period, the proposed regulations likely would go into effect in early 2016.
Minority religious groups and some members of the Catholic Church continued to criticize the Religious Freedom Law, stating it does not address the problem of inequality and maintained a preferential status for the Catholic Church. They also criticized the law’s 2011 implementing regulations altogether as discriminatory and unconstitutional due to the 10,000 membership registration requirement.
The executive branch formally interacted with religious communities of all sizes on matters of religious freedom through MINJUS. MINJUS implemented laws and interacted with the public through the Office of Catholic Affairs and through the Office of Interfaith Affairs for non‑Catholic religious groups.
While Catholic groups and religious minority groups were subject to equal taxation in most activities, non‑Catholic groups with extensive charitable activities stated that goods donated from abroad continued to be taxed at commercial rates while goods donated to Catholic‑affiliated groups were not.
Some of the religious minority groups previously registered also reported losing tax benefits when they could not reregister. Others said that, despite not being officially reregistered, some non‑Catholic groups are receiving benefits, including tax benefits.
According to the MINJUS Office of Catholic Affairs, the government paid stipends to the Catholic cardinal, six archbishops, and other Catholic Church officials, totaling approximately 2.6 million soles ($766,058) annually. Some Catholic clergy and laypersons employed by the Church received remuneration from the government in addition to Church stipends, including 44 active bishops, four auxiliary bishops, and some priests. These individuals represented approximately one‑eighth of the Catholic clergy and pastoral agents. In addition, the government provided each Catholic diocese with a monthly institutional subsidy.
Religious minorities who were interviewed stated that they faced no issues receiving exemptions from the Catholic religious courses at schools and reported no academic disadvantage.
Some non‑Catholic soldiers reported difficulty finding and attending Protestant religious services because of the absence of Protestant chaplains in the military.
Members of previously registered minority religious groups continued to encounter difficulty securing worker or resident visa renewals because those visa classes were only available to members of registered religious organizations.