The constitution provides for freedom of conscience, which includes freedom of thought and religion, subject to the interests of defense, public safety, order, morality, and health, and to the protection of other persons’ rights and freedoms. The law prohibits religious discrimination and allows all persons to observe their own religious practices and to change religions without interference from the government or members of other religious groups. Government registration is not mandatory for religious groups but is necessary to obtain tax and other benefits. The government continued to enforce a law prohibiting the production, sale, and consumption of marijuana, which Rastafarians said infringed on their freedom to access cannabis for religious practices. The president of the Interreligious Council (IRC) and other religious leaders stated that dialogue with the government was limited and that engagement with government organizations responsible for religious affairs was lacking. In March, Muslim and Christian leaders publicly announced their support of the government’s prohibition of social gatherings, including congregation in mosques and churches, as preventive measures responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Religious leaders reported recurrent disagreements between Muslims and Christians concerning noise produced by drums and music played during Christian ceremonies held during Islamic prayer times; most such conflicts, however, were resolved quickly by authorities. A representative of a religious organization reported growing tensions between local Muslims and some charismatic churches and their followers, including evangelical Christians, over the noise issue.
The U.S. embassy engaged with the government as well as with religious nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), such as the IRC and the United Council of Imams (UCI), and supported activities to advance free, peaceful, and pluralistic expression among all parts of society, including religious communities.