The constitution establishes a secular state and protects freedom of religion, conscience, and belief. These rights may be limited by law to protect the freedoms of others, or for reasons of public safety, order, morality, health, or nuisance. Citizens have the right, either individually or collectively, in public and private, to manifest their religion or beliefs in worship, observance, practice, or teaching. The constitution prohibits discrimination based on religious affiliation and laws make inciting hatred or “disaffection” against religious groups a criminal offense. The constitution provides that religious belief may not be asserted as a reason for disobeying the law. The constitution does not ban proselytizing, but places limits on proselytizing on government premises and at government functions.
By law, religious groups must register with the government through trustees who may then hold land or property for the groups. Under the law, religious bodies that hold land or property must register their churches including their land and show proof of title. There is no mention in the law of churches that do not hold land. To register, religious bodies must submit applications to the registrar of titles’ office. Registered religious bodies may be exempted from tax after approval from the national tax agency. Income may be tax exempted subject to conditions. Religious groups including churches are exempt from tax upon approval. Permits are required for any public meeting, including for religious groups.
There is no required religious instruction under the law. The law allows religious groups the right to establish, maintain, and manage places of education, whether or not they receive financial assistance from the state, provided the institution maintains educational standards prescribed by law. The country’s Education Act permits religious instruction in schools enabling schools owned and operated by various religious denominations to offer some religious instruction. These schools must excuse students from attendance during religious instruction if parents request it.