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Legal framework on freedom of religion and actual application

In the preamble of the constitution [1], the people of Suriname acknowledge that, inspired by the love for their country and the belief in “the power of the Almighty”, it is their “duty to honour and guarantee the principles of freedom, equality and democracy, as well as the rights and fundamental freedoms of man”.

The constitution states in article eight that no one may be discriminated against on the basis of birth, sex, race, language, religion, education, political opinion, economic position or any other status.

Everyone has, according to the constitution, the right to personal freedom, freedom of religion and philosophy of life, peaceful association and assembly, and the protection of moral integrity in the areas of public order, security, and health as provided by the law.

Where rights and freedoms are violated, article 10 states that people have the right to file a complaint before an independent and impartial judge.

Workers’ rights are guaranteed by article 28 without discrimination because of age, sex, race, nationality, religion, or political beliefs.

Conscientious objection is accepted by article 180 as grounds for refusing compulsory military service.

Religious organisations must register with the Ministry of the Interior if they want financial support from the government. To register, they must provide contact information, group history or organisation, and the address of their places of worship. They can apply for financial support from the government to pay for the salaries of their clergy or for projects “of a moral nature”.[2]

Religious education is not allowed in state schools. The government funds teachers’ salaries and provides a stipend to cover maintenance costs to schools run by various religious groups.[3]

The Penal Code punishes those who publicly, and by any means, instigate or promote discrimination based on religion or creed.[4]

Good Friday, Easter, Diwali and Christmas are national holidays.[5]


Information from government sources, churches and local media showed no evidence of intolerance, discrimination or persecution on religious grounds.

Prospects for freedom of religion

The prospects for religious freedom in Suriname are positive. With respect to the period under review, there were no episodes of intolerance. Thus, we can conclude that the situation of freedom of religion has not changed since 2016.

Endnotes / Sources

[1] All articles cited are from Suriname’s Constitution of 1987 with Amendments through 1992,,, (accessed 6th March 2018).

[2] Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, “Suriname”, International Religious Freedom Report for 2016, US State Department,, (accessed 6th March 2018).

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] “Días Festivos Surinam 2018”, El calendario con los días festivos de todo el mundo,, (accessed 12th March 2018).

About us

Founded in 1947 as a Catholic aid organization for war refugees and recognized as a papal foundation since 2011, ACN is dedicated to the service of Christians around the world, through information, prayer and action, wherever they are persecuted or oppressed or suffering material need. ACN supports every year an average of 6000 projects in close to 150 countries, thanks to private donations, as the foundation receives no public funding.