Last Updated: Monday, 14 July 2014, 11:42 GMT

2010 Report on International Religious Freedom - St. Lucia

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 17 November 2010
Cite as United States Department of State, 2010 Report on International Religious Freedom - St. Lucia, 17 November 2010, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4cf2d066c.html [accessed 14 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

[Covers the period from July 1, 2009, to June 30, 2010]

The constitution provides for freedom of religion, and other laws and policies contributed to the generally free practice of religion.

The government generally respected religious freedom in practice. There was no change in the status of respect for religious freedom by the government during the reporting period.

There were no reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice, and prominent societal leaders took positive steps to promote religious freedom.

The U.S. government discusses religious freedom with the government as part of its overall policy to promote human rights.

Section I. Religious Demography

The country has an area of 238 square miles and a population of 160,000. Christianity is the dominant religion. According to the 2001 population and housing census, Roman Catholics accounted for approximately 67 percent of the population; Seventh-day Adventists, 9 percent; Pentecostals, 6 percent; evangelicals and Anglicans, 2 percent each; and Baptists and Methodists represented smaller percentages.

The number of non-Christians is very small. There are an estimated 350 Muslims. While some Muslims are immigrants from other Caribbean countries, the Middle East, and South Asia, most are local converts. Other religious groups include Baha'is and Rastafarians. According to the 2001 census, Rastafarians numbered approximately 3,500 or an estimated 2 percent of the population. Nearly 5 percent of the population claimed no religious affiliation.

Section II. Status of Government Respect for Religious Freedom

Legal/Policy Framework

The constitution provides for freedom of religion, and other laws and policies contributed to the generally free practice of religion.

The government is secular and does not interfere with an individual's right to worship. The government maintained a close relationship with the Christian Council, an organization consisting representatives of the Catholic Church and mainline Protestant denominations.

The government observes the following religious holidays as national holidays: Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Whit Monday, and Christmas.

The government continued revising its registration policy for religious groups, which was pending at the end of the reporting period. The government suspended all applications for formal registration as a religious group until completion of this process. This moratorium affected the Muslim community, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), and approximately 10 other organizations. Official recognition allowed a religious organization to have duty-free import privileges and the right to register births, marriages, and deaths within the community. Any citizen can register life events with the government; however, registration of a religious group allowed its officials to act in this capacity as well. While awaiting registration religious groups had the freedom to meet and worship according to their beliefs.

The public school curriculum included Christian education; however, non-Christian students were not required to participate. There also were private schools sponsored by the Catholic and Anglican Churches.

Rastafarians complained that the government prohibited the use of marijuana, which they claimed was integral to their religious rituals.

Restrictions on Religious Freedom

The government generally respected religious freedom in practice. There was no change in the status of respect for religious freedom by the government during the reporting period.

There were no reports of religious prisoners or detainees in the country.

Forced Religious Conversion

There were no reports of forced religious conversion.

Section III. Status of Societal Respect for Religious Freedom

There were no reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice, and prominent societal leaders took positive steps to promote religious freedom. Rastafarians, however, complained of discrimination, especially in hiring and in schools.

Section IV. U.S. Government Policy

The U.S. government discusses religious freedom with the government as part of its overall policy to promote human rights.

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