Rape and Domestic Violence: Rape is a crime and carries a maximum penalty of 25 years’ imprisonment. The 2016 Crimes Act specifically applies penalties for rape of married and de facto partners. Police investigated all reported rapes, and the courts prosecuted cases. Statistics related to rape cases were not available. There were reports female refugees were subject to sexual harassment and sexual assault, yet such cases were often underreported to police.
The law does not address domestic violence specifically, but authorities prosecute domestic violence cases under laws against common assault. The maximum penalty for simple assault is one year’s imprisonment. The maximum penalty for assault involving bodily harm is three years’ imprisonment.
The government did not maintain statistics on the incidence of physical or domestic abuse of women, but police officials said they received frequent complaints of domestic violence. Reports from women’s organizations indicated abuse occurred, often aggravated by alcohol use. Families normally sought to reconcile such problems informally and, if necessary, communally. Both police and judiciary treated major incidents and unresolved family disputes seriously.
Sexual Harassment: There is no specific law against sexual harassment, but authorities could prosecute harassment involving physical assault under assault laws.
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, and violence. The government medical system provided access to contraception and prenatal, obstetric, and postpartum care free of charge. According to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), adolescent pregnancy rates in the country were among the highest in the region, and access to adolescent reproductive health services and information was limited. The UNFPA also reported there was a high unmet need for family planning commodities and the quality of family planning services was poor.
Discrimination: The law provides for the same legal status and rights for women as for men, including under family, religious, labor, property, nationality, and inheritance laws. Discrimination in employment and wages occurred with respect to women (see section 7.d.). The Women’s Affairs Office is responsible for promoting professional opportunities for women.
Birth Registration: Children derive citizenship if one of their parents is a citizen. The constitution also provides for acquisition of citizenship by birth in the country in cases in which the person would otherwise be stateless. The law requires registration of births within 21 days in order to receive citizenship, and families generally complied with the law.
Child Abuse: The government does not maintain data on child abuse, but it remained a problem, according to civil society groups. In June parliament passed comprehensive child protection and welfare legislation. The Child Protection and Welfare Act 2016, which came into effect on June 10, establishes comprehensive measures, including mandatory reporting, to protect children from child abuse. The law also outlaws corporal punishment in schools. Corporal punishment was legal in homes and alternative-care settings.
Early and Forced Marriage: The Child Protection and Welfare Act 2016 prohibits marriage by male and female children younger than 18 years. According to a UNICEF survey of married women between 20 and 24 years, 2 percent married before they were 15 years old, and 27 percent before they were 18 years old.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: The comprehensive Crimes Act 2016, which came into effect on May 10, prohibits the commercial sexual exploitation of children, the sale of children, offering or procuring a child for child prostitution, and practices related to child pornography. The minimum age for consensual sex is 16 years. The Crimes Act 2016 standardizes penalties for sexual exploitation of children and makes intentional sexual intercourse with a child younger than 16 years punishable by 25 years’ imprisonment. Sexual intercourse with a child younger than 13 years carries a penalty of life imprisonment.
The Crimes Act 2016 establishes penalties for taking images of children’s private acts and private parts. If the child is younger than 16 years, the maximum penalty is 10 years’ imprisonment, and 15 years’ imprisonment if the child is younger than 13 years. The same law prescribes even tougher penalties for involving children to produce pornographic material. The maximum penalty if the child is younger than 16 years is 15 years’ imprisonment and 20 years’ imprisonment if the child is younger than 13 years. The country’s Cyber Crime Act 2015 outlaws the electronic publication and transmission of child pornography.
International Child Abductions: The country is not a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. See the Department of State’s Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction at travel.state.gov/content/childabduction/en/legal/compliance.html.
The country does not have a Jewish community, and there were no reports of anti-Semitic acts.
Trafficking in Persons
There were no confirmed reports during the year that Nauru was a source, destination, or transit country for victims of human trafficking.
Persons with Disabilities
The law does not specifically prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities. No legislation mandates services for persons with disabilities or access to public buildings. Although the government has installed mobility ramps in some public buildings, many buildings in the country were not accessible. The government provides a welfare benefit to persons with disabilities. The Department of Education has a special education adviser who is responsible for education for students with disabilities. As part of efforts to promote participation in society by persons with disabilities, Department of Education teachers provided classes for a small group of students with disabilities.
There is no government agency with specific responsibility for protecting the rights of persons with disabilities. The nongovernmental Nauru Disability Persons Organization advocates for the rights of persons with disabilities in the country. The Mentally Disordered Persons Ordinance 1963 grants some legal protections for persons with mental disabilities. There were no reports of discrimination against persons with disabilities with regard to employment, but social stigma likely led to decreased opportunities for employment.
Acts of Violence, Discrimination, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
The Crimes Act 2016 removed homosexual conduct as a criminal offense. The law does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The law does not specifically cite sexual orientation, but it could be used to aid in the prosecution of bias-motivated crimes against members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex community. There were isolated reports of violence against persons based on sexual orientation and gender identity.