Rape and Domestic Violence: Conviction for rape of women and men is punishable by eight to 16 years’ imprisonment, and conviction for domestic violence is punishable by one to five years’ imprisonment. Spousal rape is implicitly covered by the law; penalties for conviction range from one to five years’ imprisonment. The law calls for increasing protection of victims, raising awareness of gender-based violence, and establishing several care centers with financial and management autonomy, but implementation lagged due to inadequate staffing. The government did not always enforce laws against rape and domestic violence effectively. Gender-based violence and discrimination against women remained significant problems. The Attorney General’s Office reported 1,865 cases of gender-based violence between August 2021 and July, an approximately 11 percent decrease from August 2020 to July 2021.
The National Police regularly accompanied survivors of sexual violence and other forms of gender-based violence to the hospital and escorted them to their homes to collect their belongings. Police officers helped survivors go to a safe location. The Cabo Verdean Institute for Gender Equality and Equity ran five shelters on four islands, two on Santiago and one each on Fogo, Sao Vicente, and Boa Vista.
Sexual Harassment: The law criminalizes sexual harassment, although it does not refer to harassment online. Penalties for conviction include up to one year in prison and a substantial monetary fine. Although authorities generally enforced the law, sexual harassment was common.
Reproductive Rights: There were no reports of coerced abortion or involuntary sterilization on the part of government authorities. Health care facilities provided emergency care, including postabortion care. Emergency contraception was available at family planning centers throughout the country. The centers also provided skilled assistance and counseling before and after childbirth, and sexual and reproductive health services, including for survivors of sexual violence. Emergency contraception was available as part of clinical management of rape. Postnatal services included family planning and free oral and injectable contraceptives. When girls became pregnant while still in school, they generally dropped out of school and did not resume their education, although it was not required that they drop out.
Discrimination: The law, including that related to family, religious, personal status and nationality, labor, property, inheritance, employment, access to credit, and owning or managing business or property, provides for the same legal status and rights for women as for men, and the government enforced the law somewhat effectively.
Systemic Racial or Ethnic Violence and Discrimination
The constitution provides protections against racial discrimination and upholds the rights of immigrants and foreigners. In addition, the law prohibits discrimination in employment and criminalizes activities that incite racial discrimination, hatred, or violence. The government enforced these laws effectively.
Birth Registration: Citizenship is derived from one’s parents or grandparents or by birth within the country if the parents have been legal residents for five years. When those conditions are not met, and if the child does not receive citizenship from the country of at least one of its parents, the parents must obtain a lawyer to petition for an exception. Birth registration was not denied or provided on a discriminatory basis.
Education: (See section 6, Women, Reproductive Rights)
Child Abuse: Laws prohibit physical, psychological, and moral violence against children, including sexual violence. Of the 588 sex crimes reported between August 2021 and July, 32 percent involved sexual abuse of children. Government efforts to combat child abuse employed a national network that included the child welfare government body Institute for Children and Adolescents, various police forces, the Attorney General’s Office, hospitals, local civil society organizations, and health centers. During the year the government renewed a national action plan to prevent and combat sexual abuse and violence against children and adolescents for the years 2022 to 2024. The Institute for Children and Adolescents maintained a presence on all inhabited islands.
Child, Early, and Forced Marriage: The legal minimum age of marriage is 18.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: The law punishes those who foment, promote, or facilitate commercial sexual exploitation or sexual exploitation of children younger than age 17. The law punishes those who induce, transport, or provide housing or create the conditions for sexual exploitation and commercial sexual exploitation of children younger than age 17 in a foreign country. The law prohibits the exploitation of children younger than age 18 in pornography, and authorities generally enforced the law. The minimum legal age for consensual sex is 16. Sexual relations with a child younger than age 14 are considered a public crime and invoke mandatory reporting from anyone who becomes aware of the crime. By law at ages 14 and 15, sexual relations are a crime and may be reported by any involved party (the child or the child’s parents or guardians).
Authorities generally enforced laws against sexual exploitation of children. The government continued efforts to prevent the sexual exploitation of children through a national coordinating committee. The government also continued to enforce the Ethics Code of Conduct for Tourism, which includes provisions countering child sex tourism. The Observatory for Monitoring and Rapid Identification of Trafficking in Persons, which assembles numerous government agencies and partners, continued to hold meetings to advance priorities related to human trafficking and child sexual exploitation.
The Jewish community was very small, and there were no reports of antisemitic acts.
Trafficking in Persons
See the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at https://www.state.gov/trafficking-in-persons-report/.
Acts of Violence, Criminalization, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity or Expression, or Sex Characteristics
Criminalization: There were no laws criminalizing consensual same-sex conduct between adults or so-called cross-dressing or debauchery. There were no reports of laws related to immorality or loitering being disproportionately applied to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI+) persons.
Violence against LGBTQI+ Persons: There were no reports of police or other government agents inciting, perpetrating, condoning, or tolerating violence against LGBTQI+ individuals or those reporting such violence. There were no reported instances of state or nonstate actor violence targeting LGBTQI+ persons.
Discrimination: Antidiscrimination laws exist, and state and nonstate employers may not discriminate based on sexual orientation, family situation, habits and dress, health status, or membership or nonmembership in any organization. Laws prohibit discrimination in the provision of a good or service, engaging in normal economic activities, and employment. The government generally enforced these laws.
Availability of Legal Gender Recognition: Legal gender recognition was not available.
Involuntary or Coercive Medical or Psychological Practices Specifically Targeting LGBTQI+ Individuals: There were no reports of such practices or of efforts to condemn them.
Restrictions of Freedom of Expression, Association, or Peaceful Assembly: There were no reports of restrictions on those speaking out on LGBTQI+ issues.
Persons with Disabilities
Persons with disabilities could access education and health care on an equal basis with others, although some problems remained for equal access to public buildings, communications, and transportation. The government generally enforced such access effectively and made information available in accessible formats.
The law prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities and provides for access to services in the areas of employment, training, health, housing, transportation, mobility, culture, sports, and leisure. Persons with intellectual or mental disabilities, as determined by the Ministry of Health, are not allowed to vote, according to the National Elections Commission, if they are deemed not to have the mental capacity to exercise that right.