Rape and Domestic Violence: Rape, including spousal rape, is illegal, and the government generally enforced the law when victims came forward. Depending on the magnitude of the offense and the age of the victim, sentences for rape begin at 10 years’ imprisonment. Judges rarely imposed the maximum penalty of life imprisonment. Authorities referred allegations of rape or any abuse against women to the police. Police were generally responsive to these complaints, but fear of reprisal may deter some survivors from seeking assistance. Police and human rights groups reported that perpetrators commonly made payoffs to survivors of rape or sexual assault in exchange for survivors not pressing charges. Although no special unit is devoted to these types of crimes, authorities had specially trained some officers to handle them.
Human rights, government, and press sources noted an increase in reports of rape, incest, and unlawful sexual intercourse. Reports of unlawful sexual intercourse with children under 15 increased significantly from 2011, which could be linked to increases in transactional sex with minors. Such cases often were difficult to prosecute, as witnesses were reluctant to testify, and discussion of these types of abuse could be considered taboo. Despite these challenges, the DPP successfully prosecuted a number of cases. As of August, there were 40 sexual offense cases before courts, including one rape case, five incest cases, 15 for intercourse with a child under 13, and 19 for intercourse with a child under 15. Police had an additional 16 sexual offense cases under investigation.
Violence against women remained a serious and pervasive problem. The law does not criminalize domestic violence specifically but provides protection for survivors. Authorities could bring charges in cases involving domestic violence under assault, battery, or other similar laws, but police were often reluctant to follow up on domestic violence cases. As a result, perpetrators of crimes against women often enjoyed impunity. The government’s Division of Gender Affairs offered 19 different programs to assist women and children. The government opened a crisis center in April for survivors of domestic violence, which has a hidden location, received referrals from the family court, and also served as a temporary shelter for women and children in between homes. However, the shelter was inadequate to meet the needs of local women because it could be accessed only through court order, precluding assistance to those in immediate crisis.
Sexual Harassment: The law does not specifically prohibit sexual harassment, although authorities could prosecute it under existing laws, which local human rights groups considered ineffective.
Reproductive Rights: Couples and individuals had the right to decide the number, spacing, and timing of children and had the information and means to do so free from discrimination. Access to information on contraception and skilled attendance at delivery and in postpartum care were widely available. Data on the incidence of maternal mortality were not available.
Discrimination: Women enjoyed the same legal rights as men, although in practice many were marginalized due to financial dependence. Women received an equitable share of property following separation or divorce. The minimum wage law specifies that women should receive equal pay for equal work, and authorities generally enforced it in practice.