Rape and Domestic Violence: Rape, including spousal rape, is a criminal offense, and the government effectively prosecuted such crimes. A law passed during the year broadened the definition of rape and increased the sentence to 12 years with added penalties in aggravated circumstances. Through September, seven persons faced rape charges in the courts.
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 police had brought no new cases related to domestic violence. Several previous cases were pending.
In April parliament enacted a Gender-based Violence and Domestic Violence Act to integrate fully the provisions of the Istanbul Convention into national law.
Authorities provided training on domestic violence awareness to police and social workers. The police and Agenzija Appogg, the social welfare agency, signed an interagency protocol on Adult Victims of Domestic Violence for closer collaboration.
In September, NGOs and activists organized protests after a mother of six was allegedly killed by her partner. The victim was the fourth woman killed in a case involving domestic violence in four months.
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 up to 10,000 euros ($11,500), up to two years imprisonment, or both. As of September the Commission for the Promotion of Equality (NCPE) received one allegation of sexual harassment during the year. In 2017 government women’s rights experts stated that workplace sexual harassment at the workplace was “rampant” but rarely reported due to cultural reasons.
Coercion in Population Control: There were no reports of coerced abortion or involuntary sterilization.
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 gender 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 2017 child abuse referrals to Appogg fell compared with 2016. Between January and August, police vice squad received eight 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 between five and 12 years. Possession of child pornography is punishable by imprisonment of three to four years. The minimum age of consensual sex is 16. Rape of an underage person is punishable by sentences of six to 20 years. As of the end of August, five persons were charged 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 https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/International-Parental-Child-Abduction/for-providers/legal-reports-and-data.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 protects the rights of persons with disabilities and prohibits both the public and private sectors from discriminating against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, and mental disabilities. The government effectively enforced these provisions. Authorities took official action to investigate cases of violence or abuse against persons with disabilities. 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.
From January to September, the Commission for the Rights of Persons with Disability opened 161 cases of alleged discrimination related to employment, education, housing, access, provision of goods and services, health, and other areas.
The population included more than 43,000 registered foreign workers. Of these, 12,407 were nationals of non-EU countries mainly 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, including discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex persons in housing, employment, nationality laws, and access to government services, including health care. The government enforced the laws.