Belize
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Features of Constitution1

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

Constitution2

Constitution Year 1981
Last Amended 2002
Source World Intellectual Property Organization
Translation Original was written in English
Current as of 2000 (Later amendments not included)

Constitution Excerpts (clauses that reference religion)2

Preamble

WHEREAS the People of Belize-
(a) affirm that the Nation of Belize shall be founded upon principles which acknowledge the supremacy of God, faith in human rights and fundamental freedoms, the position of the family in a society of free men and free institutions, the dignity of the human person and the equal and inalienable rights with which all members of the human family are endowed by their Creator;
�(d) recognize that men and institutions remain free only when freedom is founded upon respect for moral and spiritual values and upon the rule of law;
(e) require policies of state which protect and safeguard the unity, freedom, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Belize; which eliminate economic and social privilege and disparity among the citizens of Belize whether by race, ethnicity, color, creed or sex; which protect the rights of the individual to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; which preserve the right of the individual to the ownership of private property and the right to operate private businesses; which prohibit the exploitation of man by man or by the state; which ensure a just system of social security and welfare; which protect the environment; which promote international peace, security and co-operation among nations, the establishment of a just and equitable international economic and social order in the world with respect for international law and treaty obligations in the dealings among nations;


3.

Whereas every person in Belize is entitled to 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;
(c) protection for his family life, his personal privacy, the privacy of his home and other property and recognition of his human dignity; and
(d) protection from arbitrary deprivation of property,
the provisions of this Part shall have effect for the purpose of affording protection to those rights and freedoms subject to such limitations of that protection as are contained in those provisions, being limitations designed to ensure that the enjoyment of the said rights and freedoms by any person does not prejudice the rights and freedoms of others or the public interest.


8.

(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 section, the expression "forced labor" does not include-
(a) any labor required in consequence of the sentence or order of a court;
(b) labor required of any person while he is lawfully detained that, though not required in consequence of the sentence or order of a court, is reasonably necessary in the interests of hygiene or for the maintenance of the place at which he is detained;
(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 that person is required by law to perform in place of such service; or
(d) any labor required during any period of public emergency or in the event of any accident or natural calamity that threatens the life and well-being of the community, to the extent that the requiring of such labor is reasonably justifiable in the circumstances of any situation arising or existing during that period or as a result of that accident or natural calamity, for the purpose of dealing with that situation.


11.

(1) Except with his own consent, a person shall not be hindered in the enjoyment of his freedom of conscience, including 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) Except with his own consent (or, if he is a person under the age of eighteen years, the consent of his parent or guardian) a person attending any place of education, detained in any prison or corrective institution or serving in a naval, military or air force shall not 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.
(3) Every recognized religious community shall be entitled, at its own expense, to establish and maintain places of education and to manage any place of education which it maintains; and no such community shall be prevented from providing religious instruction for persons of that community in the course of any education provided by that community whether or not it is in receipt of a government subsidy or other form of financial assistance designed to meet in whole or in part the cost of such course of education.
(4) A person shall not 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 section to the extent that the law in question makes provision which is reasonably required-
(a) in the interests of defense, public safety, public order, public morality or public health;
(b) 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
(c) for the purpose of regulating educational institutions in the interest of the persons who receive or may receive instruction in them.
(6) References in this section to a religion shall be construed as including references to a religious denomination, and cognate expressions shall be construed accordingly.


16.

(1) Subject to the provisions of subsections (4), (5) and (7) of this section, no law shall make any provision that is discriminatory either of itself or in its effect.
(2) Subject to the provisions of subsections (6), (7) and (8) of this section, no person shall be treated in a discriminatory manner by any person or authority.
(3) In this section, the expression "discriminatory" means affording treatment to different persons attributable wholly or mainly to their respective descriptions by sex, 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 accorded to persons of another such description.
(4) Subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to any law so far as that law makes provision-
(a) for the appropriation of public revenues or other public funds;
(b) with respect to persons who are not citizens of Belize;
(c) for the application, in the case of persons of any such description as is mentioned in subsection (3) of this section (or of persons connected with such persons), of the law with respect to adoption, marriage, divorce, burial, devolution of property on death or other like matters which is the personal law of persons of that description; or
(d) whereby persons of any such description as is mentioned in subsection (3) of this section may be subjected to any disability or restriction or may be accorded any privilege or advantage that, having regard to its nature and to special circumstances pertaining to those persons or to persons of any other such description, is reasonably justifiable.
(5) Nothing contained in any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of subjection (1) of this section to the extent that it makes provision with respect to standards or qualifications (not being standards or qualifications specifically relating to sex, race, place of origin, political opinions, color or creed) to be required of any person who is appointed to or to act in any office or employment.


SCHEDULE 3 TO THE CONSTITUTION

Form of Oath and Affirmation

Oath of Allegiance and Office

I, ......., do swear [or solemnly and sincerely affirm and declare] that I will bear true faith and allegiance to Belize, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her Heirs and Successors, and will uphold the Constitution and the law, and that I will conscientiously, impartially and to the best of my ability discharge my duties as [ .......... ] and do right to all manner of people without fear or favor, affection or ill-will. [So help me God.]

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.