Rape and Domestic Violence: Rape of men and women is a crime punishable if convicted by eight to 16 years’ imprisonment, and domestic violence is punishable by one to five years’ imprisonment. Spousal rape is implicitly covered by the gender-based violence law; penalties for conviction range from one to five years’ imprisonment. This 2001 law focuses on increasing protection of victims, strengthening penalties for convicted offenders, and raising awareness regarding gender-based violence. The law calls for establishing several care centers, with financial and management autonomy, but implementation lagged due to inadequate staffing and financial resources. Violence and discrimination against women remained significant problems.
The National Police accompanied victims of sexualand gender based violence to the hospital and escorted them to their homes to collect their belongings. Police officers helped victims go to a location where they believed they would be safe (often a family member; there was no official shelter on Fogo). Very often, however, victims returned to their abusers due to economic and social pressures.
The government enforced the law against rape and domestic violence somewhat effectively. Nongovernmental sources lamented the lack of social and psychological care for perpetrators and survivors alike.
Sexual Harassment: The criminal code and the law criminalize sexual harassment. Penalties for conviction include up to one year in prison and a fine equal to up to two years of the perpetrator’s salary. Although authorities generally enforced the law, sexual harassment was common and widely accepted in the culture.
Coercion in Population Control: There were no reports of coerced abortion, involuntary sterilization, or other coercive population control methods. Estimates on maternal mortality and contraceptive prevalence are available at: www.who.int/reproductivehealth/publications/monitoring/maternal-mortality-2015/en/.
Discrimination: The law provides for the same legal status and rights for women as for men. Cultural norms and traditions, however, imposed gender roles that hindered the eradication of gender-based discrimination. The government enforced the law in providing for the same legal status and rights for women as for men.
Birth Registration: Citizenship is derived by birth within the country or from one’s parents. Birth registration was not denied or provided on a discriminatory basis. Failure to register births did not result in denial of public services. For additional information, see Appendix C.
Education: The government provided tuition-free and universal education for all children between ages six and 14. Education is compulsory until age 15. Secondary education was free only to children whose families had an annual income below 147,000 escudos ($1,482).
Child Abuse: Violence against children, including sexual violence, remained a problem. The government tried to combat it through a national network that included the Cabo Verdean Institute of Childhood and Adolescence (ICCA), various police forces, the Attorney General’s Office, hospitals, local civil society organizations, and health centers. The government attempted to reduce sexual abuse and violence against children through several programs such as Dial a Complaint, the Children’s Emergency Program, Project Our House, Welcome Centers for Street Children, Project Safe Space, Project Substitute Family, and the creation during 2014 of five ICCA offices. ICCA services, however, were not permanently present on every island, and ICCA employees struggled to meet the needs of the local populations.
Early and Forced Marriage: The legal minimum age of marriage is 18. For additional information, see Appendix C.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: The law punishes those that foment, promote, or facilitate prostitution or sexual exploitation of children age 16 and under with a penalty if convicted of four to 10 years’ imprisonment. If the victim is age 17 or 18, the penalty is two to six years’ imprisonment, which is inconsistent with international law on trafficking in persons. The law punishes those that induce, transport, or provide housing or create the conditions for sexual exploitation and prostitution of children age 16 and under in a foreign country with a penalty if convicted of five to 12 years’ imprisonment. If the victim is age 17 or 18, the penalty for conviction is two to eight years’ imprisonment. The law prohibits the use of children under age 18 in pornography, with penalties for conviction of up to three years’ imprisonment. The minimum legal age for consensual sex is 16. Sexual relations with a child under age 14 are considered a public crime and invoke mandatory reporting from anyone who becomes aware of the crime. Between ages 14 and 16, sexual relations are a semipublic crime and may be reported by any involved party (the minor or the minor’s parents or guardians). Sexual abuse was widely reported around the country, and alleged perpetrators often were released from detention pending trial. There were limited reports of commercial sex, often involving tourists, but no confirmed cases involving minors.
The government also continued efforts to prevent the sexual exploitation of children through the creation of a national coordinating committee in 2016 and the development of a code of ethics for the tourism industry.
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.
There is a very small Jewish community, and there were no reports of anti-Semitic acts.
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 law prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities and the government generally enforced these provisions, with problems remaining in a number of areas. For example, physical accessibility, communication means, and public transport appropriate for persons with disabilities often were lacking. The government worked with civil society organizations to implement programs to provide access for wheelchair users, including building ramps to enhance access to transportation and buildings.
According to the Ministry of Education, Family, Equality, and Inclusion, the ministry had enrolled an estimated 1,200 children and youths with special educational needs in primary, secondary, and higher education through the years. Persons with intellectual or mental disabilities, as determined by the Ministry of Health, are not allowed to vote, according to the National Commission for Elections, if the person was deemed not to have the mental capacity to exercise that right.
The government has a quota system for granting scholarships and tax benefits to companies that employ individuals with disabilities. NGOs recognized these measures as partially effective in better integrating these citizens into society but also noted nonenforcement and inadequate regulations were obstacles.
Public television station Cabo Verde Television (TCV), through a partnership with the National Commission for Human Rights and Citizenship, Handicap International, and the Cabo Verdean Federation of Associations of People with Disabilities, included in its nightly news a sign language interpreter for deaf persons able to sign.
The law stipulates a quota of 5 percent of educational scholarships be allocated to persons with disabilities, but this percentage had not been reached.
Acts of Violence, Discrimination, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
Antidiscrimination laws exist, and state employers may not discriminate based on sexual orientation. Laws do not prohibit consensual sexual conduct between persons of the same sex.
In 2015 the United Nations launched in the country the “Free and Equal” campaign to promote educational programs to shape public attitudes concerning lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex persons’ equality and increase awareness of homophobic violence and discrimination.