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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.

Christianity is the primary religion. Approximately two-thirds of the Christians are Protestants and the remaining one-third are Roman Catholics. The population as a whole is 58 percent Nauruan, 26 percent other Pacific Islanders, 8 percent European, and 8 percent Chinese. Some of the latter group may be Buddhist or Taoist.

Christianity was introduced in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by Western missionaries. There are a few active Christian missionary organizations, including representatives of the Anglican, Methodist, and Catholic faiths.

The Government has not taken specific actions to improve interreligious relations. However, it has set aside land for the renovation and construction of churches.

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

Interfaith relations appear amicable.

Section III. U.S. Government Policy

Representatives of the U.S. Embassy in Fiji visit periodically to discuss religious freedom issues with the Government in the overall context of the promotion of human rights. They also meet with leaders of religious communities and nongovernmental organizations that have an interest in religious freedom.

The U.S. Embassy actively supports efforts to improve and expand governmental and societal awareness of and protection for human rights, including the right to freedom of religion.

[End of Document]

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Revised last: 10-09-1999