U.S. Department of State Annual Report on International Religious Freedom for 1999 - Jamaica

Section I. Freedom of Religion

The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the Government respects this right in practice. There is no state or dominant religion. The Government has no requirements for recognition as a religion.

According to official government statistics compiled during the 1991 census (the latest available figures), 21 percent of the population identify themselves as members of the Church of God, 9 percent as Seventh-Day Adventists, 9 percent as Baptist, 8 percent as Pentecostal, 6 percent as Anglican, 4 percent as Roman Catholic, 3 percent as United Church, 3 percent as Methodist, 2 percent as Jehovah's Witnesses, 1 percent as Moravian, 1 percent as Bretheren, 1 percent unstated, and 9 percent as "other." (The category "other" includes Hindus, Jews, and Rastafarians.) Of those surveyed, 24 percent stated that they had no religious affiliation. The majority of those who reported no religion were children.

There are religious schools; they are not subject to any special restrictions and do not receive any special treatment from the Government. Foreign missionaries are subject to no restrictions other than the same immigration laws that govern other foreign visitors.

There was no change in the status of respect for religious freedom during the period covered by this report.

There were no reports of religious detainees or prisoners.

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

Section II. Societal Attitudes

The country has a well-established tradition of religious tolerance and diversity. Relations among the various religious communities are amicable.

Section III. U.S. Government Policy

The U.S. Embassy discusses religious freedom issues with the Government in the overall context of the promotion of human rights.

The Annual Report to Congress on International Religious Freedom describes the status of religious freedom in each foreign country, and government policies violating religious belief and practices of groups, religious denominations and individuals, and U.S. policies to promote religious freedom around the world. It is submitted in compliance with P.L. 105-292 (105th Congress) and is cited as the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.

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