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 imprisonment for up to 15 years. In 2012 police reported 143 cases of rape or attempted rape. Under-age victims were involved in 38 percent of rape cases. Police registered 36 percent more rape cases than in 2011. In 2012 courts convicted 29 individuals of rape and sentenced all to prison with terms ranging from 11 months to 13 years.
According to NGOs and shelter managers, violence against women, including domestic violence, was a problem. The law punished physical abuse (it does not differentiate by gender) 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 2012 recorded 5,311 cases of physical abuse, including domestic violence and physical abuse of minors, which was 11 percent higher than in 2011. Police registered 2,231 domestic violence cases, an increase of 15 percent over 2011. Physical abuse accounted for 67.7 percent of all violent crimes in the country.
Courts ruled on approximately one-fourth of all domestic violence cases reported to police. Of those individuals convicted, courts fined 14 percent, sentenced 53 percent to probation, 20 percent to community work, and 13 percent to prison.
Domestic violence was a growing problem. Victims could obtain help, including counseling and legal assistance, from social workers employed by local governments and from specialized NGOs. During 2012 the government conducted a radio campaign to raise awareness about the issue. NGOs, local governments, and others could seek additional assistance for victims from the national government. There was a network of shelters for women and women with children who were victims of gender-based violence, and there were hotlines for domestic violence and child abuse. Police officers, border guards, and social workers received training organized by NGOs, the Ministry of Social Affairs, the Ministry of Interior, and the Ministry of Justice.
Sexual Harassment: The law prohibits sexual harassment, but there were some reports of sexual harassment in the workplace. According to 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.
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: In 2012 the Gender and Equal Treatment Commissioner received fewer than 100 applications and complaints of discrimination on the basis of gender. In four cases the commissioner ordered compensation to the victims. In 2012, 23 individuals submitted complaints involving unequal treatment to the Labor Inspectorate. The Labor Dispute Committee determined that unequal treatment had occurred in 25 percent of cases and required employers to compensate the victims. The legal chancellor received 40 complaints relating to unequal treatment and discrimination and initiated proceedings in cases determined to 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, in 2012 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.