Nepal Religious Freedom Landscape Report

Title: Nepal Religious Freedom Landscape Report

Author: Timothy S. Shah

About: The Nepal Religious Freedom Landscape Report provides a thorough analysis of the legal, political, and social conditions that shape religious freedom in this country and the prospects for advancing it in the future.

While governed for centuries by a monarchy that favored Hinduism, Nepal today is a self-declared “secular” republic with a constitution that expressly protects religious freedom. Since the People’s Movement brought an end to the country’s absolute monarch in 1990, Nepal has demonstrated a growing acceptance of international human rights standards, to include those related to religious freedom.

Alongside greater political and religious openness, however, are several developments that pose serious challenges to religious and political freedom in Nepal. On the crucial principles of religious equality and religious freedom, what the Nepali Constitution gives with one hand it appears to take away with the other. Though Nepal’s Constitution is confessedly secular and does not formally establish or privilege Hinduism (or any religion) as the state religion, it idiosyncratically defines secularism as a double-edged principle. This principle includes both the obligation to protect Nepal’s traditional religion and culture (presumably Hinduism) and respect for religious and cultural freedoms.

Publication Date: September 2020

Recommended Citation: Shah, Timothy S. Nepal Religious Freedom Landscape Report. Religious Freedom Institute, 2020.