Rape and Domestic Violence: The law criminalizes rape, including spousal rape, and the government effectively enforced the law. Police received 10 complaints of rape and made five arrests during the first six months of the year.
Although there is no specific law on domestic violence, the government used effectively laws criminalizing the relevant behaviors to prosecute domestic violence. Various NGOs and government officials considered domestic violence against women to be a growing problem. Domestic violence falls under several crimes in the criminal code, including the crime of mistreatment of minors, persons with incapacity, or spouses. These crimes are punishable with imprisonment ranging from one to five years. If mistreatment leads to serious physical injuries or death of the victim, the penalties may be increased to imprisonment of two to eight years in cases involving physical injury and five to 15 years in those resulting in death. There were 185 reported cases of domestic violence in the first six months of the year.
The government made referrals for victims to receive medical treatment, and medical social workers counseled victims and informed them of social welfare services. During the first half of the year, the Social Welfare Bureau (SWB) handled 70 domestic violence cases. The government funded NGOs to provide victim support services, including medical services, family counseling, and housing, until their complaints were resolved. The government also supported two 24-hour hotlines, one for counseling and the other for reporting domestic violence cases.
NGOs and religious groups sponsored programs for victims of domestic violence, and the government supported and helped fund these organizations and programs. The Bureau for Family Action, a government organization subordinate to the Department of Family and Community of the Social Welfare Institute, helped female victims of domestic violence by providing a safe place for them and their children, and by providing advice regarding legal actions against perpetrators. A range of counseling services was available to persons who requested them at social service centers. Two government-supported religious programs also offered rehabilitation programs for female victims of violence.
Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): No laws prohibit FGM/C, and the practice did not occur.
Sexual Harassment: There is no law specifically addressing sexual harassment, unless it involves the use of a position of authority to coerce the performance of physical acts. Harassment in general is prohibited under laws governing equal opportunity, employment and labor rights, and labor relations.
Reproductive Rights: Couples and individuals have the right to decide the number, spacing, and timing of their children and the right to both fertility and contraceptive treatment, free from discrimination, coercion, and violence. Access to information on family planning, contraception, and prenatal care was widely available, as was skilled attendance at delivery and postpartum care.
Discrimination: Equal opportunity legislation mandates that women receive equal pay for equal work. Discrimination in hiring practices based on gender or physical ability is prohibited by law, and penalties exist for employers who violate these guidelines. The law allows for civil suits, but few women took cases to the Labor Affairs Bureau (LAB) or other entities. Gender differences in occupation existed, with women concentrated in lower-paid sectors and lower-level jobs. Observers estimated there was a significant difference in salaries between men and women, particularly in unskilled jobs. The CAC received one complaint of gender discrimination during the first six months of the year.