The constitution provides for freedom of religion, including the freedom of individuals to change their religion, and prohibition of discrimination based on creed. A law criminalizing “blasphemous libel” is unenforced.
Religious groups are not required to register. If they wish to obtain duty free import privileges and tax benefits, however, they are required to register with the Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office. To do so, a religious group must file the applicable form, with a resolution passed by the majority of its board of trustees expressly authorizing the application, and a related statutory declaration.
The public school curriculum includes religious “values education.” The focus is on Christianity, but representatives from other religious groups are also invited to speak to students. The constitution grants religious groups the right to establish and maintain private schools and provide religious instruction. The government provides subsidies or financial assistance to some of these schools. As laid out in the constitution, no person attending any place of education is required to take part in religious instruction, ceremony, or observance without personal consent or (if under the age of 21) consent of the guardian.
The country is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Rastafarians continued to state their objection to the government’s enforcement of the prohibition on marijuana use, which they said was integral to their religious rituals. A Rastafarian activist said that police and immigration officials required Rastafarians to remove head coverings and gave extra scrutiny to Rastafarian women at checkpoints, which they said was a pretext for searching for marijuana.
A Rastafarian activist stated the requirements for vaccinations to enroll in public schools violated Rastafarian religious beliefs.
Representatives from the Barbados Muslim Association said they objected to a government policy requiring women to remove all head coverings for identification and passport photographs. The association continued to ask the government to change its practices to permit head coverings in identification photographs, including passports.