Rape and Domestic Violence: Rape, including spousal rape, is a criminal offense, and the government effectively prosecuted such crimes. The crime of rape carries a sentence of up to nine years in prison with increased penalties in aggravated circumstances. Through October, 10 persons faced rape charges in the courts. A November report by the European Institute of Gender Equality noted that the rate underreporting of rape exceeds EU averages.
The law treats domestic violence as an aggravating circumstance of other crimes such as bodily harm, rape, and harassment, and the government generally enforced the laws prohibiting it. Penalties ranged from three months to 20 years in prison. Through August, 845 persons were arraigned on domestic violence charges. Several cases were still pending. The chairman of the Commission on Domestic Violence, some NGOs, and victims’ advocates claimed that domestic violence remained underreported, primarily because of women’s concerns that law enforcement personnel would not believe or protect them. The government provided awareness training for police officers.
A special police unit and several voluntary organizations supported victims of domestic violence and all forms of gender-based violence. A hotline assisted victims of abuse through counseling and shelter referrals. The Ministry for the Family and Social Solidarity was responsible for a government-supported shelter for women and children. The government also provided financial support to other shelters, including those operated by the Roman Catholic Church.
Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment is unlawful and punishable by a fine of 2,329 euros ($2,790), six months’ imprisonment, or both. As of August the NCPE had not received any allegations of sexual harassment during the year. Women’s rights experts reported that sexual harassment at the workplace was “rampant.”
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, including in matters related to family, property, nationality, and inheritance. Redress in the courts is available for sexual discrimination.
Birth Registration: Citizenship is derived by birth where either parent is a citizen, irrespective of the place of birth. The law allows transmission of citizenship by a grandparent or other relative in certain circumstances. The government registered births immediately.
Child Abuse: In 2016 the Child Protection Service of Appogg, the social welfare services arm of the Ministry for the Family and Children’s Rights, received 790 referrals of possibly abused children, compared with 874 in 2015. The service’s caseload for 2016 was 1,313, down from 1,607 the previous year, and included 596 new and reopened cases. Through September, six persons were convicted of the sexual abuse of minors. Between January and August, police received 47 reports of child abuse.
Early and Forced Marriage: The legal minimum age of marriage is 18, although persons between the ages of 16 and 18 may marry with the consent of parents, legal guardians, or courts.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: The law prohibits the commercial sexual exploitation of children and child pornography, and authorities generally enforced the law. The production of child pornography is prohibited and punishable by imprisonment of one to five years and up to nine years if aggravated. Possession of child pornography is punishable by imprisonment not exceeding three years, four if aggravated. The minimum age of consensual sex is 18. Rape of an underage person is punishable by three to nine years in prison and up to 20 years for aggravated acts. From January to August, four persons were convicted for sexual abuse of minors.
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.
The Jewish community numbered approximately 120 persons. 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 both the public and private sectors from discriminating against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, and mental disabilities, and the government effectively enforced these provisions. The law requires accessibility to buildings, information, and communication. While the government made efforts to ensure accessibility, many historical buildings remained inaccessible due to limited structural adaptability.
The population included more than 38,000 registered foreign workers, 10,000 of whom were third country nationals of Arab, African, Asian, and East European origin. The law prohibits discrimination based on race, as well as racial hatred. The law is enforced when charges are filed.
Acts of Violence, Discrimination, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
The constitution and law prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and sex characteristics.