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2007 Report on International Religious Freedom - Kiribati

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
Publication Date 14 September 2007
Cite as United States Department of State, 2007 Report on International Religious Freedom - Kiribati, 14 September 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/46ee6772c.html [accessed 23 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.

Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor

The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the Government generally respected this right in practice.

There was no change in the status of respect for religious freedom by the Government during the period covered by this report, and government policy continued to contribute to the generally free practice of religion.

There were isolated reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious belief or practice.

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

Section I. Religious Demography

The country is an archipelago with a land area of 265 square miles and a population of 107,800. Missionaries introduced Christianity into the area in the mid-19th century. According to 2005 government statistics, major religious groups include: the Roman Catholic Church, 55 percent; Kiribati Protestant Church, 36 percent; Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), 3 percent; the Baha'i Faith, 2 percent; and the Seventh-day Adventists, 2 percent. Several of the smaller Christian churches claim to have higher numbers of adherents, but there is no independent confirmation. Persons with no religious affiliation account for less than one percent of the population. Members of the Catholic Church are concentrated in the northern islands, while Protestants are the majority in the southern islands.

Missionaries are present and operate freely.

Section II. Status of Religious Freedom

Legal/Policy Framework

The Constitution provides for freedom of religion and the Government generally respected this right in practice. The Government at all levels sought to protect this right in full, and did not tolerate its abuse, either by governmental or private actors.

There is no state religion. The Government does not favor a particular religious group, nor were there separate legal categories for different religious groups.

Christmas, Easter, and National Gospel Day are official religious holidays.

There are no provisions for registering religious groups, nor are there consequences for not registering.

Restrictions on Religious Freedom

Government policy and practice contributed to the generally free practice of religion.

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

Forced Religious Conversion

There were no reports of forced religious conversion, including of minor U.S. citizens who had been abducted or illegally removed from the United States, or of the refusal to allow such citizens to be returned to the United States.

Section III. Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Religious groups generally praised the Government for its role in protecting religious freedom. There were isolated problems for religious groups viewed as outside the mainstream desiring to establish churches in some villages and on outer islands. In a few cases, traditional leaders such as chiefs prevented groups from proselytizing or holding meetings. Not wanting to invite conflict, some non-mainstream groups did not attempt to proselytize in unwelcoming villages.

Nonreligious persons, who constitute a very small minority, did not suffer discrimination. Most governmental and social functions begin and end with an interdenominational Christian prayer delivered by an ordained minister or other church official.

Section IV. U.S. Government Policy

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

Released on September 14, 2007

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