The constitution establishes a secular state, prohibits religious discrimination, and provides for freedom of religious thought, expression, and practice, consistent with public order as established by law and regulations.
The Ministry of Interior and Public Security has the authority to deploy the Republican Police to intervene in conflicts between religious groups to ensure public order and social peace, provided the intervention complies with the principle of state neutrality in religious affairs.
Persons who wish to form a religious group or establish a religious affiliation must register with the Ministry of Interior. Registration requirements include submission of administrative materials (including the applicant’s birth certificate, police record, request letter, copy of identification, and the group’s internal rules) and payment of a registration fee of 50,000 CFA francs ($86). If a group is not registered, the Ministry of Interior may order the closing of its religious facilities until the group registers.
By law, public schools may not provide religious instruction. Religious groups may establish private schools with authorization from the state and may benefit from state subsidies.
The country is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
On April 15, President Talon convened a meeting at the presidential palace in Cotonou to facilitate the reconciliation of the leadership of the Islamic Union of Benin. This followed the convening in late March of two separate congresses by members of the governing bureau of the Islamic Union, resulting in a split into two factions. At the conclusion of the presidential meeting, the dissenting members of the governing bureau shook hands and pledged to end the disagreement that undermined the union and to maintain harmony within the union. They issued a joint public statement expressing gratitude to President Talon for his effort to resolve the conflict.
Government officials continued to attend inductions, funerals, and other religious ceremonies organized by various groups. State-owned television often broadcast these events. Police continued to provide security for religious events upon request.