Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 August 2014, 14:57 GMT

2010 Report on International Religious Freedom - Antigua and Barbuda

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 17 November 2010
Cite as United States Department of State, 2010 Report on International Religious Freedom - Antigua and Barbuda, 17 November 2010, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4cf2d0b9c.html [accessed 27 August 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 170 square miles and a population of 86,800. According to the 2001 census, 74 percent of the population is Christian. The Anglican Church was the largest religious group, accounting for an estimated 26 percent of the population. The Methodist, Moravian, and Roman Catholic churches accounted for less than 10 percent each. The United Evangelical Association, an organization that includes most independent evangelical churches, claims an estimated 25 percent of the population, and Jehovah's Witnesses number more than 1,000 members. Non-Christians include an estimated 1,000 to 1,500 Rastafarians, more than 200 Muslims, nearly 200 Hindus, and approximately 50 members of the Baha'i Faith.

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; however, the government maintained a close relationship with the Antigua Christian Council. The prime minister was responsible for the Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs, whose role was to coordinate greater interaction between churches, other religious organizations, and the government, and to facilitate the entry of religious workers into the country.

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

The constitution prohibits members of the clergy from running for elected office.

Religious groups were not required to register with the government; however, groups were required to incorporate to own property. Registered groups received tax and duty-free concessions, especially for building and renovation.

Public schools were secular; religious education is not part of the curriculum.

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.

The Baha'i community alleged that government officials at all levels denied repeated requests to schedule meetings with them. They attributed this refusal to their persistent calls for the government to abstain from voting on the "no action motion" at the UN on human rights in Iran.

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. Representatives of the U.S. embassy also discussed religious freedom with local religious groups.

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