Rape and Domestic Violence: Rape, spousal rape, and domestic abuse are criminal offenses punishable by a maximum of 20 years’ imprisonment. Nevertheless, rape was a problem, and the government did not enforce the law effectively (see section 1.a.). Most rape cases went unreported due to fear of reprisal or social stigma. No information was available on the number of sexual assault cases prosecuted during the year.
Domestic violence against women was a problem. Police rarely intervened in a domestic dispute unless it involved a weapon or major assault. Police maintained a specialized unit, the Family Squad, to address domestic violence and other family issues. The unit was underfunded and ineffective. Authorities often dismissed the few cases that reached a prosecutor; in the cases that continued, the court generally ordered light sentences for perpetrators.
The Social Affairs Division of the Ministry of Social Development and Culture and the Women in Action and Solidarity Organization (WASO), a local NGO, provided counseling services to victims of rape and domestic violence. Since 2010 the Gender Secretariat in the Ministry of Community Development, Social Affairs and Sports conducted an informational campaign to end gender-based violence, using spot announcements on television and printed materials.
Sexual Harassment: The law prohibits sexual harassment, but enforcement was rare. The penal code provides no penalty for sexual harassment, although the court can order a person accused of such conduct to “keep a bond of peace,” which allows the court to assess a fine if the harasser fails to cease the harassment.
Reproductive Rights: The government recognized the right of couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing, and timing of their children. The government permitted health clinics and local health NGOs to operate freely in disseminating information on family planning under the guidance of the Ministry of Health. There were no restrictions on the right to access contraceptives, but few couples reportedly used these measures. The government provided free childbirth services, although women traditionally preferred using nurses or midwives during childbirth and for prenatal and postnatal care unless the mother or child suffered serious health complications. Men and women received equal access to diagnosis and treatment for sexually transmitted infections. There were no legal, social, cultural, or other barriers that limited access to these services.
Discrimination: Women generally enjoyed the same rights as men, and the society was largely matriarchal. Unwed mothers were the societal norm, and the law requires fathers to support their children. There was no officially sanctioned discrimination in employment, and women were well represented in business. There was no economic discrimination against women in employment, access to credit, equal pay for equal work, or owning or managing a business. Inheritance laws do not discriminate against women.