The constitution provides for freedom of religion, including freedom of thought, freedom to practice one’s religion, and freedom from oaths contrary to one’s beliefs. Rastafarians continued to disagree with the government’s prohibition of marijuana use. Members of the Rastafarian community said police and immigration officials continued to subject them to scrutiny because of the community’s use of marijuana for religious rituals. According to reports by both the police and members of the Rastafarian community, persons of other religions were not subject to such scrutiny. Members of the Rastafarian community stated, however, that their relationship with the government had improved and the number of police stops and searches of Rastafarians had declined.
There were no reports of significant societal actions affecting religious freedom.
U.S. embassy representatives engaged representatives of the government, including the chief welfare officer of the Ministry of Social Services, Family, and Gender Affairs. Embassy representatives emphasized the importance of freedom of religious expression and issues of discrimination based on religious affiliation, including harassment and discrimination issues that Rastafarians said they faced. Embassy representatives also engaged civil society leaders, including members of the Rastafarian community, members of the Dominica Christian Council, the resident Catholic bishop, and members of the Evangelical Association of Dominica on religious freedom issues, including freedom of religious expression and discrimination based on religion.