Last Updated 2 December 2016

The Plurinational State of Bolivia, is a landlocked country and a democratic republic. It secularised in 2009, losing Catholicism as the state religion, however, the Catholic Church has deep tendrils into the state infrastructure.

Constitution and government Education and children’s rights Family, community, society, religious courts and tribunals Freedom of expression advocacy of humanist values
Family, community, society, religious courts and tribunals
Systemic Discrimination
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Constitution and government

The constitution and other laws and policies protect freedom of thought, conscience and religion, as well as freedom of opinion and expression. In 2009, Bolivia voted in a new constitution that no longer declared the Roman Catholic Church as the official state religion, and instead established a secular state that guarantees “religious liberty and spiritual beliefs, in accordance with its worldview.”

Education and children’s rights

By law, religion classes are optional and school curriculum materials promote religious tolerance. All teachers, including those in private religious schools, must receive their training in government-run academies.

Family, community and society

Catholic influence

However, government policy encourages the Catholic Church to carry out its social welfare projects. Written agreements between the government and the Catholic Church, including a 2009 framework agreement, formalize the Catholic Church’s extensive involvement in education, health, and social welfare.

The constitution provides both individual and collective religious and spiritual rights and allows public and private religious services. The constitution gives educational centers the right to teach religion and indigenous spiritual belief classes to encourage mutual respect between religious communities. It prohibits religious discrimination in access to educational institutions, and protects the right of access to public sport and recreational activities without regard to religion.

Freedom of expression, advocacy of humanist values

The constitution guarantees freedom of expression and freedom of the press. However, in a highly polarized political environment, some journalists report intimidation by opponents, criminals, and the ruling party.

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