The volcanic, island nation of Mauritius is a democratic parliamentary republic, and a popular tourist destination.

Systemic Discrimination
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Constitution and government

Officially a secular state, the constitution and other laws and policies protect freedom of thought, conscience and religion, as well as freedom of opinion and expression. These rights are generally respected in practice.

Recognising and funding religion

A parliamentary decree recognizes religious groups that were present prior to independence, including Catholics, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Seventh-day Adventists, Hindus, and Muslims. These religious groups receive an annual lump sum payment from the finance ministry based on the number of their adherents as determined by the census. The registrar of associations registers new religious groups, which must have a minimum of seven members. The finance ministry grants these new groups tax-exempt privileges.

The government allows foreign missionary groups to operate on a case-by-case basis. Although no regulations restrict their presence or limit proselytizing activities, religious groups must obtain both a residence permit and a work permit for each missionary. It remains unclear in practice how secular, humanist or atheist organizations would be treated.

Family, community and society

According to the 2010 census, approximately 48 percent of the population is Hindu, 26 percent are Roman Catholic, 17 percent Muslim and six percent are other Christian groups. The remaining three percent are made up of Buddhists, animists and the non-religious.

There is some tensions between the Hindu and Muslim communities although his rarely spills over into violence. Some vandalism of religious temples and icons has occurred.

Freedom of expression, advocacy of humanist values

The constitution guarantees freedom of expression and press freedom. Several private daily and weekly publications criticize both the ruling and opposition parties, but the state-owned Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation’s radio and television services generally reflect government viewpoints.

Freedoms of assembly and association are honored, though police have occasionally used excessive force in response to riots.