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Recognition of religion or belief in Panama

According to the standards set out in the SRR, conditions for RoRB in the Republic of Panama are classified receptive.

Recognition of religion or belief in Panama


  • State privilege is granted to Catholicism as the denomination "of the majority.”

  • A system of partial recognition is in effect whereby non-Catholic may gain legal status as "religious associations” but this does not correspond to the same level of existential recognition enjoyed by the Catholic Church in the country.

  • Recognition and registration are differentiated however existential recognition is only bestowed to the Catholic Church while legal registration is the primary means of recognition available to non-Catholic groups.

  • Informational and administrative requirements for registration seem appropriate although will require continued monitoring to ensure they are not unduly expanded or misapplied.

  • The involvement of the cabinet introduces undue politicisation of the registration process.

Positive elements:

  • Freedom of religion or belief is generally upheld in practice by the government.


  • Establish a revitalised recognition system that has the capacity to bestow both existential recognition and legal registration to all belief systems and their derivatives sufficiently and appropriately and at multiple levels of operation and activity.

  • Remove any instances of politicisation of registration.

  • To become dynamic, the Panamanian government would need to establish a recognition agency that would manage the newly established recognition system independently from government.

RoRB Topic
RoRB Compliance
RoRB Classification
Country or territory
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