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U.S. Department of State
Annual Report on International Religious Freedom for 1999

Released by the Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
Washington, DC, September 9, 1999


Section I. Freedom of Religion

The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the Government respects this right in practice. The Constitution also provides for the separation of church and state and prohibits the State from imposing any religious beliefs and practices.

To be officially recognized by the Government, religious groups (as well as other organized groups of citizens) must register with the Ministry of Justice to be recognized as legal entities. However, failure to do so does not result in any restriction on religious belief or practice.

The overwhelming majority (over 90 percent) of citizens are at least nominally Roman Catholic, and the Catholic Church enjoys a de facto privileged status in national life (e.g., free television broadcast time for religious services, official holidays, etc.). The largest Protestant denomination is the Church of the Nazarene. Other Christian churches include the Seventh-Day Adventists, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the Assembly of God, and various other Pentecostal and evangelical groups. There are also small Muslim and Baha'i communities.

There is no correlation between religious differences and ethnic or political differences, although it is generally recognized that the Catholic hierarchy is sympathetic to the governing Movement for Democracy (MPD) party and generally hostile to the opposition Party for the Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV).

There was no change in the status of respect for religious freedom during the period covered by this report.

There were no reports of religious detainees or prisoners.

There were no reports of the forced religious conversion of minor U.S. citizens who had been abducted or illegally removed from the United States, or of the Government's refusal to allow such citizens to be returned to the United States.

Section II. Societal Attitudes

There are amicable relations between the various religious communities.

Section III. U.S. Government Policy

The U.S. Embassy discusses religious freedom issues with the Government in the overall context of the promotion of human rights.

[End of Document]

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Revised last: 10-09-1999