Religion

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345 Km2Area

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homekeyboard_arrow_rightGrenada

Legal framework on freedom of religion and actual application

The preamble of the constitution[1] states that the nation is based on principles that recognise the “fatherhood and supremacy of God and man’s duties to his fellow man”. It also recognises that, “inasmuch as spiritual development is of supreme importance to human existence, and the highest expression thereof, it is their aspiration to serve that end”. It “firmly believes in the dignity of human values and that all men are endowed by the Creator with equal and inalienable rights, reason and conscience”.

The constitution guarantees the protection of the fundamental rights and freedoms of each person, such as – among others – freedom of conscience, expression and association, without distinction of race, place of origin, political opinions, colour, creed or sex, subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and the public interest.[2]

No person should be hindered in the enjoyment of his or her freedom of conscience, including freedom of thought, religion, freedom to change religion or belief, and to manifest and propagate his or her belief, whether in worship, teaching, practice and observance, individually or collectively, in public or in private.[3] Conscientious objection to military service is also recognised.[4]

Except with one’s consent (or that of one’s guardian for minors under the age of 18), no person attending an educational establishment can be obliged to receive religious instruction or take part in or attend a religious ceremony that is not of their religion.[5] Every religious community has the right to set up and maintain its own educational facilities and will not be prevented or hindered from providing religious instruction to their members, whether or not they receive government subsidies.[6] The government funds public schools run by Christian (Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, Adventist, Mennonite) groups; however, funding is not limited to them. Students are not required to attend religion classes.[7]

No person shall be obliged to take an oath against their beliefs or in a manner that is contrary to their religion or belief.[8] No law may be discriminatory in itself or in its effects, where discrimination means different treatment of persons by reason of their sex, race, place of origin, political opinion, colour, creed or sexual orientation.[9]

Certain types of religious headdress are allowed in photographs for national identity papers, provided the face is visible.[10]

Religious groups can obtain exemptions from taxes and customs if they are recognised as non-profit organisations and register with the Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office (CAIPO), providing information about the group’s organisation, directors, place of operation and nature of their activities. They must also send a request to the Ministry of Finance.[11]

Foreign missionaries must pay for a worker’s permit or get a waiver from the Ministry of Labour. They must show previous experience and be sponsored by a registered religious organisation.[12]

Matters relating to religious organisations are handled by the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Religious Affairs.[13]

Incidents

In November 2016, a referendum was held to decide on seven separate changes to the constitution.[14] One proposed amendment sought to increase fundamental rights and freedoms, by expanding what constitutes discrimination to include disability, ethnicity, language, social class and religion.[15] It also included a guarantee of gender equality so that men and women have equal rights and status in all spheres of life. To accept the changes, a two-thirds majority was required. All proposed amendments were rejected.[16] There were no reports from churches, official government media, or local media, of any intolerance, discrimination or persecution on religious grounds.

Prospects for freedom of religion

Prospects for freedom of religion in Granada are good. With respect to the period under review, there were no reported incidents of intolerance, which, compared to the 2016 report, allows us to conclude that the situation of religious freedom has not changed.

Endnotes / Sources

[1] All references to the Constitution are from Grenada’s Constitution of 1973, Reinstated in 1991, with Amendments through 1992, constituteproject.org, https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Grenada_1992.pdf?lang=en, (accessed 23rd March 2018).

[2] Art 1.

[3] Art 9, s 1.

[4] Art 4, s 3, cl c.

[5] Art 9, s 2.

[6] Art 9, s 3.

[7] Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, “Grenada”, International Religious Freedom Report for 2016, US State Department, https://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/irf/religiousfreedom/index.htm#wrapper, (accessed 8th March 2018).

[8] Art 9, s 4.

[9] Art 13.

[10] Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, “Grenada”, International Religious Freedom Report for 2016, US State Department, https://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/irf/religiousfreedom/index.htm#wrapper, (accessed 8th March 2018).

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ministry of Youth, Sports, Culture & The Arts, The Official Website of the Government of Grenada, http:// www.gov.gd/ministries/youth_sports.html, (accessed 8th March 2018).

[14] Derek O ́Brien, “Grenada ́s constitutional reforms: Referendums and limits to progressive reforms (part II)”, Constitutionnet, 23rd November 2016, http://www.constitutionnet.org/news/grenadas-constitutional-reforms-referendums-and-limits-progressive-reforms-part-ii, (accessed 16th March 2018)..

[15] Grenada Bar Association, “Fact Sheet: Grenada Constitution Reform”, NOW Grenada, 19th September 2016, http://www.nowgrenada.com/2016/09/fact-sheet-grenada-constitution-reform/, (accessed 16th March 2018).

[16] “Results of the Grenada Constitution Referendum”, NOW Grenada, 25th November 2016, http://www.nowgrenada.com/2016/11/results-grenada-constitution-referendum/, (accessed 16th March 2018).

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