Section I. Freedom of Religion
The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the Government generally respects this right in practice.
There is no state religion. However, the Roman Catholic Church, which signed a concordat with the Government in 1954, enjoys special privileges not extended to other religions. These include the use of public funds to underwrite some church expenses, such as rehabilitation of church facilities, and a complete waiver of customs duties when importing goods into the country. Although the Government does not interfere with the practice of religion, attendance at Catholic Mass for members of the National Police is compulsory.
Among the country's population of approximately 7.8 million, 68.1 percent are Catholic, 11.3 percent are Protestant/other Christian and 20.4 percent declare no religion.
Foreign missionaries are subject to no restrictions other than the same immigration laws that govern other foreign visitors. There have been no reports that the Government has ever used these laws to discriminate against missionaries of any religious affiliation.
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
Relations among different religious congregations are harmonious, and society generally is tolerant with respect to religious matters.
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.
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