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Dominican Republic
Tuesday, 07 June 2011 00:00
Religious Freedom Ranking
3 out of 5 stars: Needs Improvement


Dominican RepublicThe Dominican Republic occupies two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola and has an area of 18,815 square miles and a population of 9.8 million. The Roman Catholic Church is the largest religious group. Other groups, such as Traditional Protestants, evangelical Christian groups, Seventh-day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) have a much smaller presence. In 2010, the Muslim community declined to approximately 700 to 800 due to a decreased number of foreign students. Buddhists and Hindus make up another small group. More than 300 Jews live in Santo Domingo.


In 1954 the government signed a compact with the Vatican, designating the Catholic Church as the official religion. It included the legal recognition of church law and the use of public funds to support certain church expenses, as well as other privileges. On January 26, 2010, the Constitution extended the right to celebrate religious marriages to non-Catholic religious groups and provided them all civil rights in accordance with the law. This status previously had been an exclusive privilege of the Catholic Church. Epiphany, Our Lady of Altagracia Day, Good Friday, Corpus Christi, Our Lady of Mercedes Day, and Christmas are national holidays of the country.

Registration with the government is a requirement for all religious groups. All but the Catholic Church need to request exoneration from taxation and customs duties from the Office of the Presidency.

It is the law that the Bible has to be read in public schools. However, this law is not enforced and does not apply to private schools.

The 1996 Constitution of the Dominican Republic provided for freedom of conscience and worship "subject to respect for public order and good customs." The law prohibited discrimination on religious grounds and stated that the government should not interfere with the practice of religion.


2010 U.S. Department International Religious Freedom Report on Dominican Republic




Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 September 2011 20:50