Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Religion Provisions of the Mozambique Constitution of 2004

One of my current research projects involves analysis of the religion provisions of various constitutions enacted since the year 2000. From time to time on this blog, I'll post extracts of those provisions arranged according to categories such as "Religious Freedom" (guarantee of individual rights), "Established Religion" (joining religion and government), "Establishment Clause" (separating religion and government), "Ceremonial Deism" (symbolic references to religion that have little or no legal effect), "Equal Protection of Religion" (non-discrimination guarantees), "Preamble", "Religious Education", and "Religious Limitations."

The 2004 Mozambique Constitution contains classic elements of liberal approaches to religion: it separates church and state, guarantees individual religious exercise, prohibits religious discrimination, and states that public education shall be secular.  There is one provision of the Constitution that is both unique and somewhat mystifying in terms of its practical effects: Article 12(4) states that the State "shall recognize and esteem the activities of religious denominations" in order to further various goals.  The implications of this provision will depend on whether it is seen as primarily rhetorical or as license for the government to foster closer ties with and/or endorse religious groups.


Mozambique Constitution 2004

Establishment Clause

Article 12(1). The Republic of Mozambique shall be a lay State.

Article 12 (2). The lay nature of the State rests on the separation between the State and religious denominations.

Religious Freedom

Article 12(3). Religious denominations shall have organisational freedom, freedom to carry out their functions and freedom of worship, and they shall conform to the laws of the State.

Article 54(1)  All citizens shall have the freedom to practice or not to practice a religion.

Article 54(3)  Religious denominations shall have the right to pursue their religious aims freely and to own and acquire assets for realising their objectives.

Not Clear

Article 12(4)  The State shall recognise and esteem the activities of religious denominations in order to promote a climate of understanding, tolerance and peace, the strengthening of national unity, the material and spiritual well being of citizens, and economic and social development.

Equal Protection of Religion

Article 35  All citizens are equal before the law, and they shall enjoy the same rights and be subject to the same duties, regardless of colour, race, sex, ethnic origin, place of birth, religion, level of education, social position, the marital status of their parents, their profession or their political preference.

Article 54(2)  Nobody shall be discriminated against, persecuted, prejudiced, deprived of his or her rights, or benefit from or be exempt from duties, on the grounds of his faith or religious persuasion or practice.


Article 54(4)  The protection of places of worship shall be ensured.

Religious Limitations

Article 76  Political parties shall be prohibited from using names containing expressions that are directly related to any religious denominations or churches, and from using emblems that may be confused with national or religious symbols.

Religious Education

Article 113(3)  Public education shall not pertain to any religion.

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