The constitution bars discrimination based on religious affiliation or belief and provides for freedom of conscience and religion, either individually or in association with others. It provides for the separation of religion and state but also recognizes the historic importance of the Roman Catholic Church. During the year, the government registered 166 non-Catholic religious groups, compared with 156 in 2020. Among the newly registered groups were the International Center of Holistic Theo-Therapy and the United Korean Christian Church of Peru. In May, the Constitutional Court ruled it was unconstitutional to require a religious entity to have a minimum number of members to register with the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights (MOJ). In response, the MOJ amended registry regulations in July, eliminating the requirement for a minimum number of members for a religious group, previously set at 500. In February, a judge of the 11th Constitutional Court ruled in favor of a terminally ill woman’s euthanasia request. The court ruled in this specific case that Ana Estrada, who suffered from a degenerative and incurable disease, had the right to die on her own terms. The Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement opposing the decision for religious reasons and saying the decision violated the country’s constitution. The state had an opportunity to appeal the ruling but decided against it. The People’s Agrarian Front of Peru (FREPAP), a political party founded by and directly affiliated with the Israelites of the New Universal Pact religious group, lost its status as a political party following the April general election due to its failing to meet the threshold of required votes in the April 2020 elections. In July, the MOJ held a seminar to mark 10 years since the establishment of the 2011 Religious Freedom Law. In November, the MOJ held a conference on religious freedom and the elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence, during which the Vice Minister for Human Rights highlighted the importance of the state’s guarantee of religious freedom. In December, the MOJ published a first-of-its-kind report that reviewed the religious landscape in the decade since the 2011 religious freedom law entered into force. The report highlighted the cultural contributions of religious groups in the country and their recent work to address the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Interreligious Council continued to promote respect, tolerance, and dialogue among different faith traditions, including through virtual events that highlighted respect for migrants, refugees, and displaced persons. The council sponsored the first Interreligious Gathering of Gratitude for the country on its bicentennial in July. In his speech, the then president Francisco Sagasti emphasized the demonstration of unity and tolerance as exemplified by the religious groups participating in the event. Sagasti also noted the importance of religious diversity, tolerance, solidarity, and equality. In December, the council organized a migration-themed joint Hannukah-Christmas event with the participation of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and Interreligious Committee on Migrants and Refugees (CIREMI) representatives.
U.S. embassy officials met with MOJ representatives to emphasize the importance of religious liberty and issues related to public health, education, taxation, and military chaplains. Embassy officials also discussed the importance of tolerance and interreligious dialogue with representatives of the Interreligious Council as well as with the Catholic Church, Islamic Association, and members of CIREMI, including in providing assistance to migrants, a shared priority among all parties.