The constitution bars discrimination based on religious affiliation or belief and provides for freedom of conscience and religion, either individually or in association with others. It provides for the separation of religion and state but recognizes the historic importance of the Catholic Church. Some Catholic Church members and members of religious minorities continued to criticize the 2011 religious freedom law, stating it maintained institutional preferences for the Catholic Church. Many non-Catholic groups said, however, that they were generally pleased with the government’s revised religious freedom regulations, which reduced the government registry standards for non-Catholic entities. The changes adopted in 2016 in registration regulations stimulated more minority religious groups to register voluntarily with the Ministry of Justice’s (MOJ) Directorate of Justice and Religious Freedom. Some non-Catholic groups said the removal of the prerequisite of registration in order to receive tax and visa benefits and other government services had improved their ability to practice their religion in the country.
Jewish community leaders and members stated that some individuals engaged in conspiracy theories about Jews and Israel. Muslim leaders said that when the media reported terrorist attacks in Europe and the Middle East, some non-Muslim members of the public made negative comments about Islam, including through social media. Both Jewish and Muslim leaders also said some public and private schools and employers did not always give their members time off for religious holidays. The Inter-Religious Council of Peru, representing a broad spectrum of religious groups, continued to engage the MOJ for equal access to government benefits for all religious groups, including taxation exemptions (income, import, property, and sales), visas for religious workers, and the opportunity to serve as military chaplains. The council also discussed the government’s revised religious freedom regulations with religious communities.
U.S. embassy officials discussed the 2016 revised implementing regulations to the 2011 religious freedom law with government representatives and emphasized the importance of equal treatment of all religious groups under the law. Embassy officials also engaged leaders from the Catholic, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), Bahai, evangelical Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim communities to promote tolerance and respect for religious diversity.