Rape and Domestic Violence: The law makes rape, including spousal rape, illegal with a penalty of three to 10 years in jail. The government generally enforced the law when the victim chose to press charges and the cases were not settled out of court through mediation. The law provides for criminal penalties of up to 10 years’ imprisonment in cases of domestic violence by a spouse or by a person not the spouse. The judicial system prosecuted persons accused of abusing women.
Violence against women, including domestic violence, continued to be a problem. According to preliminary data from NGOs and media reports, in the first eight months of the year, there were 20 deaths related to domestic violence. Data showed 29 deaths in 2015.
According to data from the Annual Internal Security Report, in 2015 there were 22,469 reports of domestic violence, a decrease of 2.2 percent from 2014. According to the report, in 2015 police registered 375 reports of rape, an increase of one case from 2014. Decreasing cultural and social tolerance of violent behavior is gradually motivating women to use the judicial system.
The law allows third parties to file domestic violence reports. The government encouraged abused women to file complaints with the appropriate authorities and offered the victim protection against the abuser. The government’s Commission for Equality and Women’s Rights operated 14 safe houses for victims of domestic violence and maintained an around-the-clock telephone service. Safe-house services included food, shelter, health, and legal assistance. The government-sponsored Mission against Domestic Violence conducted an awareness campaign against domestic violence, trained health professionals, proposed legislation to improve legal assistance to victims, and signed protocols with local authorities to assist victims.
Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): FGM/C is a crime covered and punishable by the law. There were reports FGM/C was practiced on young girls in poor African communities, particularly by Bissau-Guinean immigrants. The government addressed the problem at various levels, and the third action plan to prevent and eliminate FGM/C was in effect during the year. The plan increased awareness of the problem and helped lead to the registration of 99 cases of FGM/C by the end of 2015, of which 56 were new reports in 2015. None of the FGM/C procedures was carried out in the country; approximately half of the procedures were performed in Guinea-Bissau, the others in Guinea and other countries.
Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment is a crime with penalties ranging from one to eight years in prison. If perpetrated by a superior in the workplace, the penalty is up to two years in prison, or more in cases of aggravated coercion.
The Commission on Equality in the Workplace and in Employment, composed of representatives of the government, employers’ organizations, and labor unions, examines, but does not adjudicate, complaints of sexual harassment. In 2015 the Association for Victim Support (APAV) received reports of 77 cases of sexual harassment.
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.
Discrimination: The constitution and the law provide women full legal equality with men. While the government enforced these in general, there were reports of economic, employment, and other forms of discrimination against women.
Birth Registration: Citizenship is derived by birth within the country’s territory and from one’s parents. Authorities registered all births immediately.
Child Abuse: Child abuse was a problem. The APAV reported 1,084 crimes against children under the age of 18 in 2015. There were reports Romani parents used minor children for street begging. A child-abuse database is accessible to law enforcement and child protection services. The government prohibits convicted child abusers from work or volunteer activities involving contact with children. It also carried out awareness campaigns against child abuse and sexual exploitation.
Early and Forced Marriage: The minimum age for marriage is 18 for women and men, but both sexes may marry at 16 with the consent of both parents exercising parental authority; a guardian; or, in default of the latter, a court decision.
Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): Information is provided in women’s section above.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: Statutory rape is a crime with penalties ranging up to 10 years in prison, and authorities enforced the law. The minimum age for legal consensual sex is 16. The law prohibits child pornography. Penalties range up to eight years in prison.
International Child Abductions: The country is 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.
Estimates placed the Jewish community at 3,000-4,000 persons. On November 18, the restaurant Cantinho do Avillez was vandalized. The restaurant’s owner, Jose Avillez, was participating in a dining festival in Tel Aviv at the time. The perpetrators, believed to be activists of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, spilled red paint on the facade of the restaurant and posted signs reading: “Free Palestine,” “Avillez collaborates with Zionist occupation,” and “Entree: A dose of white phosphorus.” The attack followed picketing opposite the restaurant by BDS activists over the participation of chef Avillez and at least 11 other chefs from dining establishments around the world in the festival from November 6-26. Although Avillez stated that he would not file a formal complaint, the PSP investigated the incident because vandalism is considered a public crime.
After the country passed a law in March 2015 granting descendants of Jews forced into exile centuries ago the right to citizenship, the government naturalized 292 applicants for citizenship, mostly from Turkey (50 percent) and Israel (31 percent). Each application was vetted by the institutions of the Jewish community in Lisbon or Porto, which are responsible for checking existing documentation of the applicants’ ancestors and making recommendations to the government.
Trafficking in Persons
See the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/.
Persons with Disabilities
The constitution and law prohibit discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, and mental disabilities in employment, education, air travel and other transportation, access to health care, the judicial system, and the provision of other government services. The government effectively enforced the law. Following the October 2015 parliamentary election, an electric ramp for wheelchairs was installed in the parliament to accommodate persons with disabilities, including newly elected Member of Parliament Jorge Falcato. The law mandates access to public buildings, information and communications for persons with disabilities, and, while the government implemented these provisions, no such legislation covers private businesses or other facilities. The Lisbon municipal government continued to carry out a project to eliminate barriers that cause difficulty of movement to persons with physical disabilities.
The procedure to file a complaint of racial discrimination continued to be lengthy and complicated. The complaints system against police officers concerning racist or racially discriminatory acts was not functional, and there was serious underreporting.
The government estimated the Romani population to be between 40,000 and 50,000 persons. A large number of Roma continued to live in encampments consisting of barracks, shacks, or tents. Many settlements were in areas isolated from the rest of the population and often lacked basic infrastructure, such as access to drinking water, electricity, or waste-disposal facilities. Some localities constructed walls around Romani settlements. Reports of police harassment, misconduct, and abuses against Roma continued. Roma also suffered from discrimination in employment (see section 7.d.).
The government tried to provide integration and access to services for the Roma, including through a mediation program staffed by ethnic Romani mediators in the Office of the High Commission for Immigration and Intercultural Dialogue. The mediation project had local successes, but societal discrimination against ethnic Roma persisted.
On November 8, the PJ arrested 20 neo-Nazi Hammerskin Nation skinheads in the cities of Lisbon, Braga, and Albufeira following an investigation into racial, religious and sexual discrimination, murder, and robbery. The individuals were suspected of encouraging “violent actions” against blacks, gays, and other minorities. Using social media, the men allegedly incited “hatred, racial discrimination, persecution and physical violence.” According to Lisbon’s public prosecutors’ office, between November 2013 and September 2015, the suspects, “motivated by discrimination,” attacked various individuals and “tried to cause the death of another, as well as subjecting other individuals to violence and damage to property.” Some of those detained were suspected of involvement in an attack on a group of anti-fascist communist activists in September 2015 following an anti-immigration rally in downtown Lisbon staged by ultranationalist groups.
Acts of Violence, Discrimination, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
The constitution and the law prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The law bars lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex couples and single women from receiving medically assisted reproductive health care from government-funded health-care providers.
On February 19, the president signed into effect a law giving same-sex couples the same adoption rights as heterosexuals.