Rape and Domestic Violence: The law criminalizes rape, including spousal rape, and physical abuse, including domestic violence.
The penalty for rape, including spousal rape, is up to 15 years’ imprisonment. In 2011 police reported 91 rapes. This number included cases where victims were minors and represented 29 percent of all sexual crimes. Authorities prosecuted rape cases; in 2011 the courts convicted 17 individuals of rape and acquitted four.
According to NGOs and shelter managers, violence against women, including domestic violence, was a problem. Physical abuse (the law does not differentiate by gender) is punishable by a fine or imprisonment of up to three years or up to five years in instances of longstanding and unremitting violence. Police statistics for 2011 recorded 4,785 cases of physical abuse, including domestic violence and physical abuse of minors. There were 70 cases of longstanding and unremitting violence. Domestic violence accounted for 31 percent of all physical abuse cases. Physical abuse accounted for 65 percent of all violent crimes in the country. In 2011 courts convicted 1,187 individuals of physical abuse. The number of physical abuse cases reported in 2011 was 11 percent higher than in 2010, while the number of reported rapes increased 12 percent. Victims of domestic violence may obtain help, including counseling and legal assistance, from social workers employed by local governments and from specialized NGOs. During the year the government promoted awareness-raising campaigns against domestic violence and engaged in other efforts to prevent it. There was a network of shelters for all types of victims of gender-based violence, including women and children, and hotlines for domestic violence and child abuse. Police officers, border guards, and social workers receive training organized by NGOs, the Ministry of Social Affairs, and the Ministry of Interior.
Sexual Harassment: The law prohibits sexual harassment, but there were reports of some cases of sexual harassment in the workplace. According to the law, sexual harassment complaints may be resolved in court, before the legal chancellor, by the Labor Dispute Committee, or by the gender equality and equal treatment commissioner. An injured party may demand termination of the harmful activity and compensation for damages. In 2009, 4.4 percent of women participating in a government survey stated they had experienced sexual harassment.
Reproductive Rights: The government recognized the basic right of couples and individuals to decide freely the number, spacing, and timing of their children and to have the information and means to do so. Health clinics and local health NGOs operated freely in disseminating information on family planning. There are no restrictions on access to contraceptives. The incidence of maternal mortality was low. Access to maternal health services, including skilled attendance during childbirth, prenatal care, essential obstetric care, and postpartum care was available free of charge.
Discrimination: During the first six months of the year, the gender equality and equal treatment commissioner received 10 complaints of discrimination on the basis of gender. Women submitted five, men submitted three, and an institution submitted two. The commissioner determined that five complaints had merit. In 2011 the Labor Dispute Committee processed 10 complaints involving unequal treatment. The committee delivered six partial judgments regarding these complaints and two full judgments on behalf of the complainant. The legal chancellor received 42 complaints relating to gender-based discrimination, of which he determined that 10 may have merit. Although women have the same rights as men under the law and are entitled to equal pay for equal work, these rights did not always apply in practice. While women on average achieved a higher level of education than men, their average pay continued to be generally lower. In 2011 the average earnings of women were 30 percent lower than those of men for the same work. There continued to be female- and male-dominated professions.
The gender equality and equal treatment commissioner, an independent expert, monitored compliance with the law that requires equal treatment. The Gender Equality Department of the Ministry of Social Affairs is responsible for coordinating the government’s efforts to eliminate gender inequality, drafting legislation to this end, and promoting gender equality.