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 2013 police reported 135 cases of rape or attempted rape, and the courts convicted 33 individuals of rape.
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 long-standing and unremitting violence. Police in 2013 recorded 5,499 cases of physical abuse, including domestic violence and physical abuse of minors. During the first half of the year, police recorded 3,084 cases. Physical abuse accounted for 69 percent of all violent crimes in the country.
In 2013 police registered 2,752 domestic violence cases. Women comprised 84 percent of the victims. Courts ruled on approximately one-fourth of all domestic violence cases reported to police.
Victims of domestic violence and of sexual violence could obtain help, including counseling and legal assistance, from social workers employed by local governments and from specialized NGOs, which received part of their support from local governments. 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 as well as hotlines for domestic violence and child abuse. Police officers, border guards, and social workers received training related to domestic and gender violence from NGOs, the Ministry of Social Affairs, the Ministry of Interior, and the Ministry of Justice.
Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): There are no laws that specifically address FMG/C, but authorities could apply a number of legal provisions, including those against causing serious damage to a person’s health or the humiliation of a person because of gender, in such cases. There were no reports of FGM/C in the first 10 months of the year.
Sexual Harassment: The law prohibits sexual harassment, but there were some reports of sexual harassment in the workplace. By 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. They have the right to attain the highest standard of reproductive health, free from discrimination, coercion, and violence. Health clinics and local health NGOs operated freely in disseminating information on family planning. There were 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 2013 the gender and equal treatment commissioner received more than 100 applications and complaints of gender discrimination. In 15 cases the commissioner determined that discrimination had occurred. In the same period, the Labor Inspectorate received complaints from 17 individuals. The Labor Dispute Committee determined that unequal treatment had occurred in five cases and found partial discrimination in one case. One case was pending at year’s end. The legal chancellor received 39 complaints relating to unequal treatment and discrimination and initiated proceedings in cases determined to have merit (see section 7.d.).
Although women have the same rights as men under the law and are entitled to equal pay for equal work, employers did not always respect these rights. Despite a higher average level of education than men, in 2013 women’s average earnings 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.