| Religious Freedom Ranking:
3.5 out of 5 stars: Needs Improvement
The Constitution provides for freedom of religion. It allows individuals to choose or change their religion without interference from the government. Religious freedom is categorized as a “personal right and freedom” and any violation of these freedoms can be punishable. Discrimination against religion is not tolerated. There is no state religion, and no tenets of a specific religion are codified in criminal or civil laws. Although the government does not require religious groups from registering, it prohibits homeschooling for religious reasons.
The country has a population of 524,000. A 2004 census estimated that 40.7 percent of the population is Christian, including Roman Catholics, and Protestants and other groups such as Moravian, Lutheran, Dutch Reformed, evangelical Baptist, Methodist, Seventh-day Adventist, Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; 20 percent is Hindu; 13.5 percent is Muslim and 3.3 percent follow indigenous religions. Other religious groups include Baha’is, Jews, Buddhists, Brahma Kumaris, Hare Krishnas and Rastafarians.
The government observes the following religious holidays as national holidays: Holi Phagwa, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Eid al-Fitr and Christmas.
It is not required for religious groups to register with the government.
Public and private schools offer religious instruction in a variety of faiths. Parents may not home school their children for religious reasons; however, they can enroll their children in religious private schools.
The government provides limited subsidies of public elementary and secondary schools directed by religious organizations.
The armed forces uphold a chaplaincy with Hindu, Muslim, Protestant and Catholic clergy available to military personnel of all religious groups.
There have been no reports of religious prisoners or forced religious conversions.
The Inter-Religious Council in Suriname consists of delegates of five religious groups: two Hindu groups, two Muslim groups and the Catholic Church. Council members assemble monthly to discuss planned interfaith actions and their positions on government policies. The council is partly supported by the government.
2010 U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom on Surinam