Rape and Domestic Violence: Rape, including spousal rape, is illegal, and the government generally enforced the law when victims came forward. Sentences for rape begin at 10 years’ imprisonment and depend on the magnitude of the offense and the age of the victim. 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 have deterred some victims from seeking assistance. Police and human rights groups reported that perpetrators commonly made payoffs to victims of rape or sexual assault in exchange for victims not pressing charges. Although no special unit is devoted to these types of crimes, authorities had specially trained some officers to handle them.
Civil society groups reported that rape and violence against women remained a serious and pervasive problem. The law does not criminalize domestic violence specifically, but it provides protection for victims. 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 such crimes against women often enjoyed impunity. The Division of Gender Affairs offered different programs to assist women and children. Counseling was available through a church-run organization. The Ministry of National Mobilization operated a crisis center for survivors of domestic violence; however, the shelter was reported to be unstaffed and access for victims was limited.
Sexual Harassment: The law does not specifically prohibit sexual harassment, although authorities could prosecute it under other laws, which local human rights groups and women’s organizations considered ineffective.
Reproductive Rights: Couples and individuals have the right to decide the number, spacing, and timing of their children; manage their reproductive health; and have access to the information and means to do so, free from discrimination, coercion, or violence.
Discrimination: Women enjoy the same legal rights to family, nationality, and inheritance as men, although in practice many women were marginalized due to financial dependence. Women received an equitable share of property following separation or divorce. The law requires equal pay for equal work, and authorities generally enforced it.