Rape and Domestic Violence: Rape, including spousal rape, is illegal and punishable by two to 12 years’ imprisonment. The prosecution of rape occurred most often in cases in which there was evidence of violent assault or the victim was a minor. Government prosecutors won convictions, and judges imposed sentences of up to 25 years’ imprisonment for rape if the victim died, but the full extent of the problem was undocumented. A government family planning clinic and NGOs sought to combat rape by raising awareness of the problem.
Widespread reports of domestic violence continued. Although women have the right to legal recourse in cases of domestic violence, including against spouses, many were reluctant to bring legal action because of the cost and a general lack of faith in the legal system to address their concerns effectively. Women often were uninformed of their legal rights. The law prescribes penalties ranging from imprisonment for three to eight years in cases of domestic violence resulting in harm to the health of the victim to incarceration for eight to 16 years when such violence leads to loss of life. There was no data on the number of prosecutions or convictions for domestic violence.
The Office of Women’s Affairs under the Prime Minister’s Office and UNICEF maintained a counseling center and small shelter with a hotline for domestic violence. The Gender Equality Institute within the Office of Women’s Affairs also provided awareness workshops and seminars during the year to educate women on their rights. It also trained police on how to recognize and respond to cases of domestic abuse.
Sexual Harassment: The law prohibits sexual harassment. Sexual harassment occurred, but no data were available on its extent. In cases of sexual harassment that involved violence or threats, the law prescribes penalties of between one and eight years in prison. The maximum penalty for other cases of sexual harassment is imprisonment for three years. The government sometimes enforced the law during the year.
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 constitution stipulates and law provides for the same legal status and rights for women as for men, but they do not specifically recognize these rights as they pertain to the family, child custody, labor, employment, owning or managing businesses or property, nationality, or inheritance. Economic discrimination (see section 7.d.) did not generally occur in the areas of credit or housing.
While many women had access to opportunities in education, business, and government, women–particularly older women–generally encountered significant societal discrimination. Traditional beliefs left women with most child-rearing responsibilities. Younger women had increasing access to educational and professional opportunities compared with the older generation, although a high teenage pregnancy rate reduced economic opportunities for many. Government regulations prohibiting pregnant teens from attending high school with their peers increased the likelihood that teenage mothers would not finish secondary education.
Birth Registration: Children acquire citizenship either through parents or by being born within the country. Either parent, if a citizen, may confer citizenship on a child born outside the country. The law requires registration for all children born in the country at the hospital where they are born. If not born in a hospital, the child must be registered at the nearest precinct office. Parents who fail to register a birth may be fined. According to UNICEF approximately 94 percent of children under age five had their births registered since 2010. For additional information, see Appendix C.
Child Abuse: Mistreatment of children was not widespread; however, there were few protections for orphans and abandoned children.
Early and Forced Marriage: The legal minimum age of marriage without parental consent is 18 years. With parental consent, girls could marry at age 14 and boys at age 16. For additional information, see Appendix C.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: There were reports of children engaged in prostitution. The law prohibits statutory rape and child pornography. The government also uses proscription of kidnapping or unlawful forced labor to enforce the law against sexual exploitation of children. The penalty for commercial sexual exploitation of minors under age 14 is two to 10 years in prison, and the penalty for commercial sexual exploitation of minors between ages 14 and 17 is up to three years in prison. The minimum age of consensual sex is 18, although societal norms only consider sex under age 14 to raise concerns of consent.
Displaced Children: The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs operated a social services program that placed street children in three centers where they attended classes and received vocational training.
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 no known Jewish community, and there were no reports of anti-Semitic acts.
Trafficking in Persons
There were no confirmed reports during the year that the country was a source, destination, or transit country for victims of human trafficking.
Persons with Disabilities
The law generally prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities. The law, however, does not mandate access to most buildings, transportation, or other services for persons with disabilities. A law passed in 2014 mandates access to school buildings for persons with disabilities, and a few schools were undertaking building upgrades to provide access. During the year UNICEF and the government built two classrooms for students with auditory and visual disabilities. Most children with disabilities attended the same schools as children without disabilities.
Acts of Violence, Discrimination, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
The law does not criminalize consensual same-sex sexual activity, but there were occasional reports of societal discrimination, primarily rejection by family and friends, based on sexual orientation. Antidiscrimination laws do not explicitly reference lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons. While there were no official impediments, LGBTI organizations did not exist.
HIV and AIDS Social Stigma
Communities and families often rejected and shunned persons with HIV/AIDS. NGOs held awareness-raising campaigns and interventions with employers to address discrimination against employees with HIV/AIDS.