The constitution and other laws and policies protect religious freedom.
The constitution and laws protect the right of individuals to choose and change their religion and provides the right to practice the religion of one’s choice. The country is a secular state. Islam, Christianity, and indigenous religious beliefs were practiced freely without government interference.
The government requires all organizations, religious or otherwise, to register with the Ministry of Territorial Administration. Registration confers legal status but no specific controls or benefits. According to the Freedom of Association Code, failure to register may result in a fine of 50,000 to 150,000 cfa francs ($108 to $325).
Religious organizations operate under the same regulatory framework for publishing and broadcasting rights as other entities. The Ministry of Security has the right to request copies of proposed publications and broadcasts to verify that they are in accordance with the stated nature of the religious group.
The government taxes religious groups only if they engage in commercial activities, such as farming or dairy production.
Public schools did not offer religious instruction. Muslim, Catholic, and Protestant groups operate primary and secondary schools and some tertiary schools. Although school officials must submit the names of their directors to the government and register their schools, religious or otherwise, the government does not appoint or approve these officials.
The government does not fund religious schools, nor does it require them to pay taxes unless they conduct for-profit activities. The government reviews the curricula of religious schools to ensure that they offer the full standard academic curriculum; however, it does not seek to influence religious curricula.
The government observes the following religious holidays as national holidays: the Birth of the Prophet Muhammad, Easter Monday, Ascension, Assumption, Eid al-Fitr, All Saints’ Day, Eid al-Adha, and Christmas.