Religion in Tuvalu
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The Church of Tuvalu, (Te Ekalesia Kelisiano Tuvalu) has the largest number of followers, in addition to being the state church of Tuvalu and the only established church in the Reformed tradition in the world. Its adherents comprise about 97% of the 12,000 inhabitants of the archipelago. All nine island groups have traditional chiefs who are members of the Church of Tuvalu. Most followers of other religions or denominations are found in Funafuti, the capital, with the exception of the relatively large proportion of followers of the Bahá'í Faith on Nanumea Island. Missionaries are present and operate freely.
Religious affiliation as a percentage of the population
The population of Tuvalu was 10,837 as of the 2012 census.[Note 1] The largest faith groups are:
- Church of Tuvalu, 91 percent
- Seventh-day Adventist, 3 percent
- Bahá'í, 3 percent
- Jehovah's Witnesses, 2 percent
- Roman Catholic, 1 percent.
In Tuvalu there are also smaller numbers of Muslims, Baptists, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and atheists. The Tuvalu Brethren Church, a new charismatic Protestant group, is said to have as many as five hundred adherents (4.6% of the population), but this could not be confirmed by independent sources. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has approximately 50 members in the country, representing 0.5% of the population.
Constitutional right to freedom of belief, expression and association
The Constitution of Tuvalu provides for freedom of religion, and the Government generally respects this right in practice. Societal abuses or discrimination based on religious belief or practice occur, but are relatively infrequent.
Discrimination, including acts and threats of violence, occurred against Brethren Church members on Nanumanga, prompting some group members to move to Funafuti. Subsequent legal action resulted in the determination of the Court of Appeal of Tuvalu that the constitutional rights of the members were breached.
In a second legal action four people from Nanumaga sued in the High Court of Tuvalu claiming unlawful dismissal from their employment on grounds that included unlawful discrimination on the basis of religion and that their constitutional right to freedom of belief, expression and association have been denied. Three claims were dismissed, with a fourth plaintiff being awarded general damages and aggravated damages.
- The population of Tuvalu was 9,561 at 2002 census and the population at the 2012 census was 10,837 (2012 Population & Housing Census Preliminary Analytical Report).
- International Religious Freedom Report 2007: Tuvalu. United States Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (September 14, 2007). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
- "Tuvalu: Millennium Development Goal Acceleration Framework - Improving Quality of Education" (PDF). Ministry of Education and Sports, and Ministry of Finance and Economic Development from the Government of Tuvalu; and the United Nations System in the Pacific Islands. April 2013. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
- International Religious Freedom Report 2012: Tuvalu. United States Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (May 20, 2013).
- Gary D. Bouma, Rodney Ling, Douglas Pratt (2010). Religious Diversity in Southeast Asia and the Pacific. p. 198.
- "Teonea v Pule o Kaupule of Nanumaga  TVCA 2; Court of Appeal Civil Appeal No. 1 of 2005 (4 November 2009)". PACLII. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- "Konelio and Others v Kaupule of Nanumaga  TVHC 9; Case 13 of 2008 (23 March 2010)". PACLII. Retrieved 10 March 2014.