Freedom of religion in Bhutan

The Bhutanese Constitution of 2008 and previous law provide for freedom of religion in Bhutan; however, the government has limited non-Buddhist missionary activity, barring non-Buddhist missionaries from entering the country, limiting construction of non-Buddhist religious buildings, and restricting the celebration of some non-Buddhist religious festivals. Drukpa Kagyu (Mahayana) Buddhism is the state religion, although in the southern areas many citizens openly practice Hinduism. Since the year 2015 Hinduism is also considered as the national religion of country. Therefore, the Monarch has encouraged in building Hindu temples and this year the King celebrated Dashain (Hindu festival) which is commonly known for Victory of good over evil with the community of Hindu people.

Through 2007, there were no reports of violence associated with pressure to conform to Mahayana beliefs. Nor were there reports of societal abuse or discrimination based on religious belief or practice. While there were no reports of the repetition of the conformist excesses of the late 1980s and early 1990s, societal and governmental pressure for conformity with Drukpa Kagyupa norms was prevalent.[1]

Religious demography

Approximately two-thirds to three-quarters of the population practice Drukpa Kagyu or Nyingma Buddhism, both of which are disciplines of Mahayana Buddhism. Approximately one-quarter of the population are ethnic Nepalese and practice Hinduism. They live mainly in the south and follow the Shaivite, Vaishnavite, Shakta, Ghanapathi, Puranic, and Vedic schools. Christians both Roman Catholic and Protestant and nonreligious groups comprised less than one percent of the population. Bön, the country's animist and shamanistic belief system, revolves around the worship of nature and predates Buddhism. Very few citizens adhere exclusively to this religious group.[1]