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Tuesday, 07 June 2011 00:00
Religious Freedom Ranking:
4 out of 5 stars: Good


EcuadorEcuador has a population of about 14.8 million and an area of about 110,000 square miles. About 85% of the population is Catholic. Estimates of non-Catholic Christians is about one million. Religious freedom is provided for by the Constitution. The government also respects religious freedom in practice.

A 1937 law requires religious groups to register with the Ministry of Interior. To do this, organizations must possess a charter and have a nonprofit status. The government observes Carnival, Good Friday, All Souls Day and Christmas as national holidays. While private schools may provide religious instruction, the government does not permit religious instruction in public schools.


The preamble to the Constitution of 1979 invokes the protection of God. Article 27 declares that education is the primary responsibility of the state and is secular and free. The Constitution guarantees freedom of conscience and religion, individually and collectively in private and in public. "Persons can freely practice the faith that they prefer except for the limitations prescribed by law to protect the security, public morality, and fundamental rights of others. Ministers of any religion and members of religious communities are prohibited from running for the national Congress or from being President of the Republic.


Numerous foreign religious orders and missionary groups are active.


The government does take steps to protect religious minorities from serious violence. In 2009, the National Court of Justice upheld the sentencing of three men for the murder of a traditional healer. They were found guilty, and a sentence of 16 years was imposed on each of them.


2010 U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom Report on Ecuador

Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 September 2011 20:50