Rape and Domestic Violence: Rape carries a maximum penalty of 16 years in prison. Judges typically imposed sentences of two to three years. The law does not explicitly address spousal rape. In March parliament redefined rape so that, if consent is not given or not given of the individual’s free will, the act can be punishable as rape.
The law criminalizes domestic violence specifically with a maximum penalty of 16 years in prison.
Victims of domestic violence can request police to remove perpetrators physically from the home for up to four weeks at a time. Police can also impose a 72-hour restraining order to prevent abusers from coming into proximity with the victim, and courts can extend this restraining order for up to a year. The law entitles victims of sex crimes to a lawyer to advise them of their rights and to help them pursue charges against the alleged assailants. In 2017 approximately 150 women and 100 children sought temporary lodging at the country’s shelter for women, mainly because of domestic violence, an increase over the previous year. An additional 20 women came to the shelter for counseling or interviews.
The government helped finance the Women’s Shelter, the Counseling and Information Center for Survivors of Sexual Violence, the rape crisis center of the national hospital, and other organizations that assisted victims of domestic or gender-based violence. Additionally, the government assisted immigrant women in abusive relationships, offering emergency accommodation, counseling, and information on legal rights.
Sexual Harassment: Two laws prohibit sexual harassment. The general penal code makes sexual harassment punishable by imprisonment for up to two years. The law on equal status defines sexual harassment more broadly as any type of unfair or offensive physical, verbal, or symbolic sexual behavior that is unwanted, affects the self-respect of the victim, and continues despite a clear indication that the behavior is undesired. The law requires employers and organization supervisors to make specific arrangements to prevent employees, students, and clients from becoming victims of gender-based or sexual harassment. The law establishes fines for violations, but more severe penalties could be applicable under other laws.
Coercion in Population Control: There were no reports of coerced abortion or involuntary sterilization.
Discrimination: Women have the same legal status and rights as men according to the constitution and the law. Although the government enforced the law effectively, employment discrimination occurred.
Birth Registration: A child acquires the country’s citizenship at birth if both parents are citizens, if the mother is a citizen, or if the father is a citizen and is married to the child’s foreign mother. If a mixed-nationality couple had obtained a judicial separation at the time when the child was conceived, the child acquires the mother’s citizenship. A stateless child can become a citizen at the age of three. In all cases a child’s access to social services depends on whether he or she has a residence permit in the country. Registration of birth was prompt.
Child Abuse: Child abuse is illegal. The Government Agency for Child Protection is responsible for implementation of the law. The agency operated a diagnostic and short-term treatment center for abused and troubled minors, and was responsible for three long-term treatment facilities. It also coordinated the work of 27 committees throughout the country that were responsible for local management of child-protection cases.
The government maintained a children’s assessment center to accelerate prosecution of child sexual abuse cases and lessen the trauma experienced by the child.
The prime minister appoints the children’s ombudsman, who acts independently of the government. While the ombudsman’s recommendations are not binding on authorities, generally the government adopted them.
Early and Forced Marriage: The country’s minimum age for marriage is 18 for both sexes.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: The law prohibits, with fines or imprisonment for up to two years, the payment, or promise of payment or consideration of another type, for the commercial sexual exploitation of a child under the age of 18. The law punishes child pornography by up to two years in prison. The law criminalizes statutory rape with incarceration for one to 16 years. The government effectively enforced these laws. The minimum age for consensual sex is 15.
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 https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/International-Parental-Child-Abduction/for-providers/legal-reports-and-data.html.
Officials estimated the Jewish community to be fewer than 100 individuals, and there is no officially registered synagogue or Jewish cultural center in the country. The first rabbi arrived in the country in the summer to establish and register the country’s first Jewish society.
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 prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities. The law provides that persons with disabilities have access to buildings, information, and communications. Disability rights advocates complained that authorities did not fully implement the law and regulations. While violations of these regulations are punishable by a fine or a jail sentence of up to two years, one of the main associations for persons with disabilities contended that authorities rarely, if ever, assessed penalties for noncompliance.
In June parliament adopted the Independent Living for People with Disabilities (or NPA in Icelandic), which grants more freedom to persons with disabilities in hiring their own assistants and tailors assistance to their needs.
In June parliament approved legislation prohibiting all forms of discrimination, including race and ethnicity, to provide for the incorporation of equal treatment in all fields of society, excluding in the labor market, which was covered by separate legislation. Immigrants, mainly of non-Western origin or from Eastern Europe and the Baltic countries, and asylum seekers, suffered occasional incidents of social harassment based on their ethnicity.
Acts of Violence, Discrimination, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
While the constitution does not specifically prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, it does so implicitly. The law prohibits anyone from denying a person goods or services on grounds of that person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. It also prohibits denying a person access to a public meeting place or other places open to the public on the same footing with others on grounds of that person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The law further prohibits incitement to hatred against persons on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and the dissemination of hateful material.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) activists continued to note the lack of explicit protections for LGBTI individuals on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics in hate crime laws.
Other Societal Violence or Discrimination
Immigrants and asylum seekers, mainly of non-Western origin, suffered occasional incidents of harassment based on their religious beliefs. The 2017 report by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) noted “the growing incidence of anti-Muslim sentiment” in the country, including on social media.