The constitution prohibits discrimination on any grounds, except “as necessary in a democratic society,” as well as laws making provisions for the establishment of any religion or imposing any religious observance. It provides for freedom of conscience, thought, and religion, including the right of individuals to change religion or belief and to manifest and propagate their religion in worship, teaching, practice, and observance, alone or in community with others, and in public or private. These rights may be subject to limitations to protect public order, safety, morality, or the health or rights of others. The constitution also prohibits compulsory religious education or participation in religious ceremonies in schools but permits religious groups to provide religious instruction. It stipulates individuals shall not be required to take a religious oath counter to their religious beliefs or profess any religion as a prerequisite for public office.
The law requires registration for all religious groups. The government recognizes the Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Seventh-day Adventist Churches, mosques, and the Bahai local spiritual assembly by individual acts of incorporation. Other religious groups with fewer assets have opted not to apply for recognition as corporate bodies and are registered as associations with the Registrar of Associations. To apply for registration as an association, a group must submit to the registrar its name, location, rules, and list of assets; the name, occupation, and addresses of officers and members; and the resolution appointing its officers. A minimum of seven members is required in order to register an association. In order to receive tax privileges, religious groups must also register with the finance ministry.
As the regulating body for both religious and secular associations, the Registrar of Associations recognizes 54 religious associations. Although no penalties are prescribed for unregistered groups, only those registered as corporate bodies or associations have legal status and the right, for example, to petition the government for broadcast time for religious programming or provide spiritual counsel in prisons.
The law prohibits religious groups from obtaining radio or television licenses. The government provides broadcast time to religious groups on the national radio broadcasting service. Access is granted based on the size of each group’s membership. Religious groups may publish newspapers.