Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 April 2014, 11:13 GMT

2009 Report on International Religious Freedom - Seychelles

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
Publication Date 26 October 2009
Cite as United States Department of State, 2009 Report on International Religious Freedom - Seychelles, 26 October 2009, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4ae8610d49.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.

[Covers the period from July 1, 2008, to June 30, 2009]

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.

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 444 square miles and a population of 82,000. The 2002 government census estimated that 82 percent of the population is Roman Catholic and 6 percent Anglican. Other Christian groups include Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, Assemblies of God, the Pentecostal Church, the Pentecostal Assembly, Nazarites, and Jehovah's Witnesses. Hindus, Muslims, and Baha'is are present in small numbers.

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 observes the following religious holidays as national holidays: Good Friday, Easter, Corpus Christi, Assumption of Mary, All Saints' Day, Immaculate Conception Day, and Christmas.

Government employees of all religious backgrounds can request paid leave on any of their holy days, and such requests are usually granted. The Islamic Society of Seychelles generally submits requests to the Department of Public Administration for Muslim employees to receive leave on Islamic festival days.

The Government provides program time to different religious organizations on the national radio broadcasting service. On alternating Sunday mornings, the national radio service aired Catholic Mass and Anglican services, which lasted from 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes. The Government allows Muslim and Hindu groups a 15-minute broadcast every Friday afternoon, and the Baha'is and Seventh-day Adventists a 15-minute broadcast every Saturday afternoon.

Religious groups are not required to register but must apply to the Ministry of Finance to receive tax exemptions. The Catholic, Anglican, and Seventh-day Adventist Churches, along with mosques and the Baha'i local spiritual assembly, are incorporated with the Ministry of Finance and receive tax privileges. The Registrar of Associations recognizes 25 other religious groups that are not incorporated with the Ministry of Finance.

An amendment to the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Act prohibits political parties and religious groups from obtaining radio licenses. The amendment was under legal challenge before the Court of Appeal.

Restrictions on Religious Freedom

The Government generally respected religious freedom in practice; however, the short biweekly nonworship broadcasts of Catholics and Anglicans were censored before they were broadcast.

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 who had not been allowed to be returned to the United States.

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.

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.

The U.S. Embassy in Mauritius, which is responsible for U.S. diplomatic relations with Seychelles, repeatedly raised concerns about broadcasting restrictions with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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