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July-December, 2010 International Religious Freedom Report - Namibia

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 13 September 2011
Cite as United States Department of State, July-December, 2010 International Religious Freedom Report - Namibia, 13 September 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4e734c7a3c.html [accessed 23 April 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.

Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
September 13, 2011

[Covers six-month period from 1 July 2010 to 31 December 2010 (USDOS is shifting to a calendar year reporting period)]

The constitution and other laws and policies protect religious freedom and, in practice, the government generally enforced these protections.

The government generally respected religious freedom in law and 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.

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 320,827 square miles and a population of two million. More than 90 percent of the population identifies itself as Christian. The three largest Christian groups are the Lutheran, Roman Catholic, and Anglican churches, while smaller numbers affiliate with the Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal, and evangelical (charismatic) churches, as well as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). The number of Pentecostal churches is growing significantly. There are also Zionist churches, which practice a mixture of traditional African beliefs, and Pentecostal Christianity, especially in urban areas. The Dutch Reformed Church of Namibia predominantly is made up of members of the Afrikaner ethnic group. The Himba, Herero, and San groups practice indigenous religions. There are also Muslims, Bahais, Jews, and Buddhists, who reside primarily in urban areas. Muslims are almost exclusively Sunni and are predominantly immigrants or recent converts.

Section II. Status of Government Respect for Religious Freedom

Legal/Policy Framework

Please refer to Appendix C in the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for the status of the government's acceptance of international legal standards http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2010/appendices/index.htm.

The constitution and other laws and policies protect religious freedom and, in practice, the government generally enforced these protections.

The government does not formally recognize any religious group; however, religious organizations must register with the Ministry of Trade and Industry to receive tax-exempt status or with local authorities to purchase land at a discounted rate.

There are some local registration requirements for religious organizations. For example, for a church to obtain land from the city of Windhoek, it needs to demonstrate that it has a constitution, registration with the Council of Churches, and sound financial management. The church must have at least 250 members and have been in operation for at least two years.

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

Restrictions on Religious Freedom

The government generally respected religious freedom in law and 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 abuses, including religious prisoners or detainees, in the country.

Section III. Status of Societal Actions Affecting Enjoyment of Religious Freedom

There were no reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice.

Section IV. U.S. Government Policy

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

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