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Vanuatu PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 21 April 2011 00:00
Religious Freedom Ranking:
3 out of 5 stars: Needs Improvement

The 1980 Constitution of Vanuatu guarantees freedom of conscience and worship. It also provides for freedom of religion, and other laws and policies that contribute to the generally free practice of religion.  The preamble of the constitution refers to a pledge to "traditional Melanesian values, faith in God, and Christian principles."  The government provides some financial assistance for churches to be built that are affiliated with the Vanuatu Christian Council (VCC).  The VCC provides grants to Christian-operated schools and pays the teachers their salaries.  These benefits are not made available to religious organizations that are not Christian.

Vanuatu has a population of 222,000.  The dominant religion in this country is Christianity, which includes 90 percent of the population.  An estimated 31.4 percent is Presbyterian, 13.1 percent Roman Catholic, 13.4 percent Anglican, and 10.8 percent Seventh-day Adventist.  The Church of Christ, the Apostolic Church, and the Assemblies of God, and other Protestant denominations constitute 13.8 percent of the population.  An indigenous religious group called the John Frum Movement has its own political party.  It is centered on the island of Tanna and includes 5.6 percent of the population.  The Baha’i Faith, Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints make up 9.6 of the population.

Schools provided by the government beginning from Year 7 through Year 12 schedule a time for one hour each week for religious education taught by representatives of the VCC.  These classes put much importance in the history and creeds of Christianity and respect for authority.  Yet the Education Act gives the right to parents to have their children not participate in religion classes.  The Christian belief is the only religion that is permitted to be taught in schools.

No reports have been made that include societal abuses or discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice.

 

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

Last Updated on Friday, 14 October 2011 18:21