The constitution and other laws and policies protect religious freedom.
The constitution protects the right of individuals to choose and change their religion and to interpret their religious beliefs for themselves.
The penal code states that violations of religious freedom are crimes subject to a penalty of between three months and three years’ imprisonment.
The constitution provides for the separation of church and state and prohibits the state from imposing any religious beliefs and practices.
The Catholic Church enjoys a privileged status, although it is not the state religion. For example, the government provides the Catholic Church with free television broadcasting time for religious services.
Registration of all associations, whether religious or secular, with the Ministry of Justice is mandatory under the constitution and the Law of Associations. The constitution sets forth the criteria for all associations, including religious ones, and states that an association may not be military or armed; may not be aimed at promoting violence, racism, xenophobia, or dictatorship; and may not be in violation of penal law. Groups that register may apply for government or private loans and benefits as associations. In order to register, a religious group must submit a copy of its charter and statutes signed by its members to the Ministry of Justice; however, failure to register with the Ministry of Justice does not result in any restriction on religious belief or practice.
The government observes the following religious holidays as national holidays: Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, Easter, All Saints’ Day, and Christmas. In addition each municipality has a holiday to honor its Catholic patron saint.