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Monday, 23 November 2009 16:10

Religious Freedom Ranking:
4 out of 5 stars: Good

The Constitution provides for freedom of religion.  The government generally respects this principle in practice.  There is a strict separation of church and state.  The Honorary Commission against Racism, Xenophobia and All Forms of Discrimination provides for government compliance with the laws.  Several religious group representatives are active participants.

The country has a population of 3.2 million.  The National Bureau of Statistics 2007 estimated that 45.1 percent are Roman Catholic, 10.5 percent are non-Catholic Christians, 0.7 percent are Afro-Umbandistas, 0.4 percent are Jewish and 27.8 claim no religious belief.  Traditional Protestants include Anglicans, Methodists, Lutherans and Baptists.  Other groups include evangelicals, Pentecostals, Mennonites, Eastern Orthodox, Christian Scientists, Salvation Army and Jehovah’s Witnesses.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints estimate they have 100,000 members.  Baha’is claim they have 4,000 affiliates.  Approximately 850 families practice Buddhism.  There are 300 to 400 Muslims.  The Unification Church is active and has major property holdings, including a daily newspaper. 

The government observes the following religious holidays as national holidays: Three Kings' Day, Carnival, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, All Souls' Day and Christmas.

Religious groups must register as nonprofit organizations to receive tax exemption status.   Then they must apply to the Ministry of Education and Culture to be granted a religious status.

It is optional for Muslims to obtain identity cards stating their religious affiliation to employers, allowing them to leave work early on Fridays to observe the Muslim Sabbath. 

Religious instruction in public schools is forbidden.  There are private religious schools, mainly Catholic and Jewish.

There have been no reports of religious prisoners or forced religious conversions.

The Christian-Jewish Council meets regularly to promote interfaith understanding. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) also promote interfaith understanding.


2010 U.S State Department International Religious Freedom in Uruguay

Last Updated on Monday, 13 February 2012 18:52