The constitution provides for freedom of religion and prohibits discrimination based on religion. The Organization for Rastafarians in Unity (ORU) stated that police harassment of Rastafarians and the mandatory cutting of dreadlocks while in prison continued. The ORU said the government also continued to prohibit their use of marijuana for religious rituals. Following a meeting on October 12 with the ORU, the government said it would allow Rastafarians to use public buildings to celebrate religious holidays and perform marriages. The government also said it would allow unvaccinated children to attend school after it first created a formal process to allow for the exemption.
According to the ORU, Rastafarians continued to face societal discrimination, including when seeking employment. Rastafarian sources said some businesses prohibited the wearing of dreadlocks, which they said were an important component of their faith.
Embassy officials met with government officials, including the minister responsible for ecclesiastical affairs, to discuss the government’s commitment to religious diversity, including issues pertaining to the Rastafarian community. Embassy officials also spoke with three leaders of the Rastafarian community.