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Republic of the Congo PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 16 May 2011 00:00
Religious Freedom Ranking:
3.5 out of 5 stars: Needs Improvement

Republic of the Congo

The Republic of the Congo, also referred to as Congo Brazzaville, has been experiencing civil war and militia-led coups since its independence from France. Though politically unstable, the country was relatively peaceful until disputed elections in 1993 led to bloody fighting between pro-government forces and the opposition. These groups were separated ethnically, divided into the northern and southern regions of the country. In 1997, after a brief ceasefire, these ethnic and political tensions led to a full civil war, ending in 1999 after the rebel forces of the south had lost all of their key positions to government forces.

The country has a population of four million citizens. Fifty percent of the population is Christian, and among these 90 percent are Roman Catholic. Other Christian groups represented are Methodists, Seventh-day Adventists, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Forty-eight percent of the population is animist, and there is a growing Muslim community with 2 percent of the population. The remainder of the population practices indigenous beliefs, has no beliefs, or belongs to various messianic groups. Practitioners of messianic and mystical religions have sometimes been associated with oppositional political movements and this has caused tensions.

The Fundamental Act (Constitution) provides for religious freedom and these rights are generally respected in practice. All religious groups are required to register with the government, and while the process is time consuming, no groups have been prevented from registering. Religion is not taught in public school, but private schools are free to do so.

There are no reports of governmental discrimination. However in some forest communities of the country, pygmy groups experienced non-governmental discrimination and intolerance for certain cultural practices, including their animist religious rites. This has hindered their ability to obtain education and employment in some cases.

2010 U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom Report on Republic of the Congo
Republic of the Congo - New World Encyclopedia
Republic of the Congo Country Profile- BBC News

Last Updated on Monday, 16 July 2012 17:11