Guyana
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Features of Constitution1

Is there a constitution? Yes
Does the constitution provide for freedom of religion? Yes

Constitution2

Constitution Year 1980
Last Amended 1996
Source Guyana Information Agency
Translation Original was written in English
Current as of May 11, 2011

Constitution Excerpts (clauses that reference religion)2

1.

Guyana is an indivisible, secular, democratic sovereign state in the course of transition from capitalism to socialism and shall be known as the Co-operative Republic of Guyana.


40.

(1) Every person in Guyana is entitled to the basic right to a happy, creative and productive life, free from hunger, disease, ignorance and want. That right includes the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, that is to say, the right, whatever his race, place of origin, political opinions, color, creed or sex, but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for the public interest, to each and all of the following, namely ��
(a) life, liberty, security of the person and the protection of the law.
(b) freedom of conscience, of expression and of assembly and association; and
(c) protection for the privacy of his home and other property and from deprivation of property without compensation.


140.

(1) No person shall be held in slavery or servitude.
(2) No person shall be required to perform forced labor.
(3) For the purposes of this article, the expression "forced labor" does not include ��
�(c) any labor required of a member of a disciplined force in pursuance of his duties as such or, in the case of a person who has conscientious objections to service as a member of a naval, military or air force, any labor that person is required by law to perform in place of such service; or�


145.

(1) Except with his own consent, no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment of his freedom of conscience, and for the purposes of this article the said freedom includes freedom of thought and of religion, freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others, and both in public and in private, to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance.
(2) No religious community shall be prevented from providing religious instruction for persons of that community.
(3) Except with his own consent (or, if he is a person who has not attained the age of eighteen years, the consent of his guardian), no person attending any place of education shall be required to receive religious instruction or to take part in or attend any religious ceremony or observance if that instruction, ceremony or observance relates to a religion which is not his own.
(4) No person shall be compelled to take any oath which is contrary to his religion or belief or to take any oath in a manner which is contrary to his religion or belief.
(5) Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of this article to the extent that the law in question makes provision ��
(a) which is reasonably required ��
(i) in the interests of defense, public safety, public order, public morality or public health; or
(ii) for the purpose of protecting the rights and freedoms of other persons, including the right to observe and practice any religion without the unsolicited intervention of members of any other religion; or (iii) with respect to standards or qualifications to be required in relation to places of education including any instruction (not being religious instruction) given at such places.
(6) References in this article to a religion shall be construed as including references to a religious denomination, and cognate expressions shall be construed accordingly.


149.

(1) Subject to the provisions of this article ��
(a) no law shall make any provision that is discriminatory either of itself or in its effect; and
(b) no person shall be treated in a discriminatory manner by any person acting by virtue of any written law or in the performance of the functions of any public office or any public authority.
(2) In this article the expression "discriminatory" means affording different treatment to different persons attributable wholly or mainly to their respective descriptions by race, place of origin, political opinions, color or creed whereby persons of one such description are subjected to disabilities or restrictions to which persons of another such description are not made subject or are accorded privileges or advantages which are not afforded to persons of another such description.
�(4) Nothing contained in any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of paragraph (1)(a) to the extent that it makes provision with respect to standards or qualifications (not standards or qualifications specifically relating to race, place of origin, political opinion, color or creed) to be required of any person who is appointed to any office in the public service, any office in a disciplined force, or any office in the service of a local democratic organ or of a body corporate established by any law for public purposes.


212D.

The functions of the Ethnic Relations Commission are to �
�(f) encourage and create respect for religious, cultural and other form [sic] of diversity in a plural society;�


Guyana National Anthem.

�Dear Land of Guyana, to you will we give
Our homage, our service, each day that we live
God guard you, great Mother, and make us to be
More worthy our heritage � land of the free.

Sources

1.  Data under the "Features of Constitution" heading are drawn from coding of the U.S. State Department's 2008 International Religious Freedom Reports conducted by researchers at the Association of Religion Data Archives. The article by Brian Grim and Roger Finke describes the coding of the International Religious Freedom reports. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. Used with permission.

2.  The constitutional excerpts shown above are reproduced from the websites given in the "Source" field; the links to these websites were active as of May 2011. Where the constitutional text shown on these websites was provided in a language other than English, this text was translated to English by ARDA staff with assistance from web-based translation utilities such as Google Translate and Yahoo! Babel Fish. Constitutional text was converted to American English where applicable. Constitutional clauses were judged to contain religious content based largely on the standards used in the construction of the Religion and State Constitutions Dataset collected by Jonathan Fox. Emphases were added to the text by ARDA staff to highlight religious content in articles that also contain content that does not pertain to matters of religion. The data on this page were correct to the best of the knowledge of the ARDA as of the date listed in the "Current as of" field shown above. Please contact us at arda@pop.psu.edu if you are aware of any incorrect information provided on this page.