The constitution provides for freedom of religion, including the freedom of individuals to change their religion. It prohibits discrimination based on religious belief.
The Ministry of Social and Community Development is responsible for registering religious groups. Religious groups are not required to register, but doing so provides the government with a database of contacts through which it disseminates information to the groups.
The constitution allows religious groups to establish and maintain schools at the community’s own expense. Public schools offer Christian religious instruction, daily prayers, and religious assemblies, but students who object are exempt from all religious activities.
The government prohibits the use of marijuana, including for religious purposes.
The country is not a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
ORU representatives stated Rastafarians face increased police harassment.
The government charged Rastafarian groups wishing to celebrate Kwanzaa in government-run community centers 400 East Caribbean dollars ($148) but offered the centers to Christian groups for tree lighting ceremonies for free.
ORU representatives said prison officials required Rastafarian prisoners to cut their hair. Prison officials said that Rastafarians were not required to cut their hair unless their hair posed a health issue such as lice. The prison did not provide different diets based on religious restrictions. Special diets were offered only to accommodate prisoners with health restrictions.
Rastafarian representatives continued to state that marijuana, banned by law, was integral to their religious rituals.
The ORU said public and private school officials refused to enroll Rastafarian children because, in accordance with their faith, they did not vaccinate their children. The Ministry of Health continued to state that children must be immunized to enter school.