Solomon Islands is an archipelago comprising 997 islands and atolls located in the Melanesian region of the Pacific. The island group covers a land area of 28,230 km2, with six larger islands: Guadalcanal; Choiseul; Santa Isabel; New Georgia; Malaita; and Makira.
According to the 2019 census, the population of the Solomon Islands is 721,455. Approximately 90% of the population is affiliated with a range of Christian churches, including: Anglican Church of Melanesia (32%), Roman Catholic (20%), South Seas Evangelical (17%), Seventh-day Adventist (12%), and United Methodist (10%). An estimated 5% of the population, consisting primarily of the Kwaio ethnic community on the island of Malaita, adheres to indigenous, animistic religions. Whilst the remaining 5% of the population adhere to other religious groups such as Islam, Baha’is, Jehovah’s Witnesses, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, members of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (Unification Church), and members of indigenous churches that have broken away from major Christian denominations. There are no statistics available on the number of non-religious persons in Solomon Islands.
Part XV of the Penal Code Act deals with offences relating to religion.
Section 131 criminalizes insult to religion of any class. It provides that any person who destroys, damages or defiles any place of worship or any object which is held sacred by any class of persons with the intention of thereby insulting the religion of any class of persons or with the knowledge that any class of persons is likely to consider such destruction, damage or defilement as an insult to their religion, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
Section 132 criminalizes any disturbance of religious assemblies. Any person who voluntarily causes disturbance to any assembly lawfully engaged in the performance of religious assemblies worship or religious ceremony, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
Section 133 deals with trespassing in any place of worship. It provides that any person who, with the intention of wounding the feelings of any person or of insulting the religion of any person or with the knowledge that the feelings of any person are likely to be wounded, or that the religion of any person is likely to be insulted thereby, commits any trespass in any place of worship… shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
Whereas section 135 criminalizes writing or uttering words with intent to wound religious feelings. To that effect it provides that any person who, with the deliberate intention of wounding the religious feelings of any other person, writes any word, or any person who, with the like intention, utters any word or makes any sound in the hearing of any other person or makes any gesture or places any object in the sight of any other person, is guilty of a misdemeanour, and shall be liable to imprisonment for one year.