Women and human rights

Women and human rights

COUNTRY REPORTS ON HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES – 2002

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE, WASHINGTON DC / MARCH 31, 2003

RELEASED BY THE BUREAU OF DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS AND LABOR

FROM THE PREFACE BY COLIN L. POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE

“The year 2002 offered a stern test for the advancement of human rights by the United States of America. This is not necessarily because human rights violations grew in number or severity — although there is no lack of challenge in that area — but because we have been given greater opportunity to make good on our commitment to uphold standards of human dignity and liberty…

The Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2002 are grounded in the conviction that we must recognize the problem and describe it with full objectivity if we are to proceed to solving it. We gain little by ignoring human rights abuses or flinching from reporting them. This year’s report covers 196 countries, ranging from defenders of human rights and democracy to the worst violators of human dignity. But in truth, no country is exempt from scrutiny, and all countries benefit from constant striving to identify their weaknesses and improve their performance in this less-than-perfect world. Furthermore, the Reports serve as a gauge for our international human rights efforts, pointing to areas of progress and drawing our attention to new and continuing challenges.

In a world marching toward democracy and respect for human rights, the United States is a leader, a partner and a contributor. We have taken this responsibility with a deep and abiding belief that human rights are universal.. . .It is with this responsibility firmly in mond that we have prepared, and now transmit, the Department of State’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2002 to the U. S. Congress.”

HOW THE REPORTS ARE PREPARED

“The 2002 human rights reports reflect a year of dedicated effort by hundreds of State Department, Foreign Service and other U.S. Government employees.

Our embassies, which prepared the initial drafts of the reports, gathered information throughout the year from a variety of sources across the political spectrum, including government officials, jurists, armed forces sources, journalists, human rights monitors, academics, and labor activists. This information-gathering can be hazardous, and U.S. Foreign Service Officers regularly go to great lengths, under trying and sometimes dangerous conditions, to investigate reports of human rights abuse, monitor elections and come to the aid of individuals at risk, such as political dissidents and human rights defenders whose rights are threatened by their governments.

After the embassies completed their drafts, the texts were sent to Washington for careful review by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, in cooperation with other State Department offices. As they worked to corroborate, analyze and edit the reports, the Department officers drew on their own sources of information. These included reports provided by U.S. and other human rights groups, foreign government officials, representatives from the United Nations and other international and regional organizations and institutions, experts from academia, and the media. Officers also consulted with experts on worker rights issues, refugee issues, military and police topics, women’s issues and legal matters. The guiding principle was to ensure that all relevant information was assessed as objectively, thoroughly and fairly as possible.

The reports in this volume will be used as a resource for shaping policy, conducting diplomacy and making assistance, training and other resource allocations. They also will serve as a basis for the U.S. Government’s cooperation with private groups to promote the observance of internationally recognized human rights.

The Country Reports on Human Rights Practices cover internationally recognized individual, civil, political and worker rights, as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. There rights include freedom from torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; from prolonged detention without charges; from disappearance or clandestine detention; and from other flagrant violations of the right to life, liberty and the security of the person.

Universal human rights seek to incorporate respect for human dignity into the processes of government and law. All persons have the inalienable right to change their government by peaceful means and to enjoy basic freedoms, such as freedom of expression, association, assembly, movement and religion, without discrimination on the basis of race, religion, national origin or sex.”

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE, WASINGTON DC / MARCH 31.2003

RELEASED BY THE BUREAU OF DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS, AND LABOR MARCH 31, 2003

WHY THE REPORTS ARE PREPARED

“This report is submitted to the Congress by the Department of State in compliance with Sections 116(d) and 502B(b) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (FAA), as amended, and Section 504 of the Trade Assistance Act of 1974, as amended. The law provides that the Secretary of State shall transmit to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate, by February 25 “a full and complete report regarding the status of internationally recognized human rights, within the meaning of subsection (A) in countries that receive assistance under this part, and (B) in all other foreign countries which are members of the United Nations and which are not otherwise the subject of a human rights report under this Act.” We have also included reports on several countries that do not fall into the categories established by these statutes and that thus are not covered by the congressional requirement.

The responsibility of the United States to speak out on behalf of international human rights standards was formalized in the early 1970s. In 1976 Congress enacted legislation creating a Coordinator of Human Rights in the Department of State, a position later upgraded to Assistant Secretary. In 1994 the Congress created a position of Senior Advisor for Women’s Rights. Congress has also written into law formal requirements that U.S. foreign and trade policy take into account countries’ human rights and worker rights performance and that country reports be submitted to the Congress on an annual basis. The first reports, in 1977, covered only the 82 countries receiving U.S. aid; this year 196 reports are submitted.”

FROM THE INTRODUCTION

http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2002/1813.htm

“Spreading democratic values and respect for human rights around the world is one of the primary ways we have of advancing the national security interests of the United States. The defense of liberty is both an expression of our ideals and a source of strength that we have drawn on throughout our history. Democratic values have also been at the heart of America’s most enduring partnerships.

The Country Reports on Human Rights Practices reflect America’s diligence in the struggle to expand freedom abroad. . .this compendium is a snapshot of the global state of human rights that depicts work in progress and points to future tasks. It is a statement of our fundamental belief that human rights are universal; they are indigenous to every corner of the world, in every culture and in every tradition.

The Country Reports on Human Rights Practices call attention to patterns and instances of violations of basic human rights as recognized in such fundamental documents as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations in 1948. They serve as the starting point — not the end — of U.S. policy to advance human rights around the world. The Reports are one of the most significant tools available to the U.S. Government to help determine foreign policy strategies that promote the development of democratic systems and principles, and remedy abuse and disregard for human rights.

In Afghanistan, human rights improvements included women and ethnic minorities-serving in the. government and an estimated one million girls back in school. In Burma on the other hand, the State Department documented stories of rape of ethnic minority women by the Burmese military that were similar to NGO reports on the issue suggesting that rape continued to be a widespread practice…

CHILD LABOR in the informal sector, especially children forced into the commercial sex industry, continued to be a serious problem in Cambodia, along with trafficking in women and children.. Child soldiers were used in other conflicts, including in Colombia, where both paramilitaries and guerrillas recruited children, and there is evidence that guerrillas forcibly used children …

TRAFFICKING: In the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon acknowledged trafficking in persons as problems in their countries and are taking steps to address it by curbing abuses of foreign workers.. . and combating commercial sexual exploitation. Awareness about trafficking in persons throughout Africa grew. More African countries participated in time-bound programs designed to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. . .In East Asia and Pacific countries, governments paid more attention to the problem of trafficking in persons. Indonesia passed two national plans aimed at reducing trafficking in women and children. . .The push for stronger anti-Trafficking in Persons (TIP) legislation was enhanced in the past year in many European countries. The governments of Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria all passed specific articles on trafficking in their criminal codes. Russia, the Kyrgyz Republic and Kazakhstan continued work on drafts. . Ratification of the UN Protocol on Trafficking w as also a focus throughout the world.”

NOTES ON PREPARATION OF THE COUNTRY REPORTS

“The annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices are based on information available from a wide variety of sources, including U.S. and foreign government officials, victims of human rights abuse, academic and congressional studies and reports from the press, international organizations, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) concerned with human rights. We find particularly helpful, and make reference in the reports to, the role of NGOs, ranging from groups within a single country to those that concern themselves with human rights worldwide. While much of the information that we use is already public, information on particular abuses frequently cannot be attributed.

By law we must submit the Country Reports to Congress by February 25. [Editor’s Note: This year, the Reports were published on March 31, 2003.] To comply with this requirement, we provide guidance to U.S. diplomatic missions in July for submission of draft reports in September and October, which we update at year’s end as necessary. Other offices in the Department of State provide contributions, and the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor prepares a final draft. Because of the preparation time required, it is possible that yearend developments may not be reflected fully. We make every effort to include reference to major events or significant changes in trends.

We have attempted to make the reports as comprehensive, objective, and uniform as possible in both scope and quality of coverage. We have paid particular attention to attaining a high standard of consistency in the reports despite the multiplicity of sources and the obvious problems associated with varying degrees of access to information.

Evaluating the credibility of reports of human rights abuses often is difficult…There are often few eyewitnesses to specific abuses… Many governments that profess to oppose human rights abuses in fact…tacitly condone them or simply lack the will or the ability to control those responsible for them.

We have continued the effort from previous years to expand coverage of human rights problems affecting women, children, persons with disabilities, and indigenous people in the reports. The appropriate section of each country report discusses any abuses that are targeted specifically against women (for example, rape or other violence perpetrated by governmental or organized opposition forces, or discriminatory laws or regulations). In Section 5, we discuss socioeconomic discrimination; societal violence against women, children, persons with disabilities, or ethnic minorities; and the efforts, if any, of governments to combat these problems.

The following notes on specific section headings in each country report are not meant to be comprehensive descriptions of each subject but to provide an overview of the key issues covered and to show the overall organization of subjects:

– Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life–Includes killings with evidence of government involvement

– Disappearance — Covers cases in which political motivation appears likely

– Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

– Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

– Denial of Fair Public Trial

– Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

– Use of Excessive Force and Violations of Humanitarian Law in Internal Conflicts

– Freedom of Speech and Press

– Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

– Freedom of Religion

– Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

– Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens to Change Their Government

– Governmental Attitude Regarding International and Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human Rights

– Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, Disability, Language, or Social Status — Contains a subheading on Women, Children, and Persons with Disabilities. As appropriate also includes subheadings on Indigenous People, Religious Minorities, and National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities.”

GHANA – WOMEN

AFRICA

“Violence against women, including rape and domestic violence, remained a significant problem. A 1998 study revealed that particularly in low-income, high-density sections of greater Accra, at least 54 percent of women had been assaulted in recent years.. These abuses usually went unreported and seldom came before the courts. The police tended not to intervene in domestic disputes. The media increasingly reported cases of assault and rape. The police administration’s Women and Juvenile Unit (WAJU) handled cases involving domestic violence, child abuse, and juvenile offenses. With offices in nine cities around the country, the WAJU worked closely with the Department of Social Welfare, FIDA, and the Legal Aid Board. As of September 30, WAJU recorded a total of 3,155 cases, including 1,052 instances of assault, 380 cases of defilement, 113 rapes, and 53 abductions.

FIDA presented the draft of the country’s first domestic violence bill to the Director of Legislative for eventual consideration by Parliament. On November 11, the Attorney General’s office held a public consultative forum on the draft bill; however it had not gone before Parliament by year’s end.

In late 1998, a series of “mysterious” murders of women occurred in the Mateheko area of Accra. There were more than 30 murders between 1993 and 2000, which were referred to as “serial murders.” In May 2001, a suspect who police had arrested confessed to eight of the murders. On August 7, he was convicted of murder and sentenced to death.

GHANA

The Criminal Code bans the practice of customary servitude (known as Trokosi), protects women accused of witchcraft, makes the age of criminal responsibility 12 years, criminalizes indecent assault and forced marriages, and imposes punishments for defilement, incest, and child prostitution Belief in witchcraft still was strong in many parts of the country. Most accused witches were older women, often widows, who were identified by fellow villagers as causing illness, crop failure, or financial misfortune. Many of these women were banished by traditional village elders or their families to go to live in “witchcamps,” in the north, populated by suspected witches. . . The women did not face formal legal sanction if they returned home; however, most feared that they could be beaten or lynched if they returned to their villages. The law provides protection to alleged witches. . . Observers estimated that there were between 550 and 1,150 women in these camps. Human rights NGOs mounted a campaign to end this traditi onal practice but had little success. . .

Two elderly women in Komenda, Central Region, who were accused of being witches were abducted and tortured to obtain confessions. A woman in the Volta Region, was beaten to death by persons who accused her of witchcraft.

There are traditional practices injurious to the health of young girls. In particular female genital mutilation (FGM) is a serious problem. A Ministry of Health survey conducted between 1995 and 1998 found that FGM was practiced among nearly all the northern sector ethnic groups, up to 86 percent in rural parts of the Upper West and Upper East Regions. Often it is performed on girls under the age of 15. Officials at all levels have spoken against the practice, and local NGOs made some inroads through their educational campaigns to encourage abandonment of FGM. . .

GHANA

The law prohibits FGM; however, members of the legal community advocated legislation to close loopholes in the law and extend culpability to those who aid in carrying out FGM and to citizens who commit the crime outside the country’s borders. On September 6, two women were arrested in Kpatia, Upper East District, for assisting a woman in the circumcision of 5 of their teenage grandchildren.

There is a Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs to address gender and children’s issues; however, women continued to experience discrimination: Women in urban centers and those with skills and training encountered little overt bias, but resistance to women entering nontraditional fields persisted. Women, especially in rural areas, remained subject to burdensome labor conditions and traditional male dominance. Traditional practices often denied women their statutory entitlements to inheritances and property. Women’s rights groups were active in educational campaigns and to provide vocational training, legal aid, and other support to women. The Government was active in educational programs. Former President Rawlings and his wife were among the most outspoken advocates of women’s rights.

CHILDREN: There was little discrimination against female children in education, but girls and young women frequently dropped out of school due to societal or economic pressures. The Government actively campaigned for girls’ education. There was a girls’ education unit within the basic education division of the Ghana Educational Service. The percentage of girls enrolled in school continued to decrease. In September the Government estimated that girls’ enrollment in primary school had decreased from 75 percent in 1992 to 71 percent in 2001.

CHAD-WOMEN

AFRICA

“Domestic violence against women is common, although no statistics were available. By tradition wives were subject to the authority of their husbands, and they only had limited legal recourse against abuse. Family or traditional authorities could act in such cases; however, police rarely intervened. Rape, prostitution, and sexual harassment were all problems. Rape and prostitution were prohibited by law; however, sexual harassment was not.

FGM is widespread and deeply rooted in tradition. A U.N. study estimated that approximately 60 percent of all women in the country had undergone FGM; the practice is especially prevalent among ethnic groups in the east and south, where it was introduced from Sudan. All three types of FGM were practiced; the least common but most dangerous and severe form of FGM, infibulation, is confined largely to the region on the eastern border with Sudan. FGM usually is performed prior to puberty as a rite of passage.

CHAD

Opposition to the elimination of FGM is strong; however, some progress has been made. On March 28, the Parliament passed a law on reproductive health, which included a section banning violence against women, including FGM. In previous years, both the Government and the NGO community conducted active and sustained public education campaigns against this practice. In April a parliamentary delegation met with local opinion leaders in the eastern town of Am-Timan to discuss FGM and its public health implications. In May the first regional symposium on FGM was held, bringing together around 40 members of civil society associations, traditional leaders, religious authorities and others from the 5 southeastern and south-central administrative departments. A prominent NGO continued its anti-FGM education campaign during the year. The Ministry of Social Action and the Family was responsible for coordinating activities to combat FGM. The law makes FGM theoretically a prosecutable offense as a form of assault, and charg es can be brought against the parents of FGM victims, medical practitioners, or others involved in the action; however, no such suits were brought by year’s end.

Discrimination against women remained widespread. In practice women do not have equal opportunities for education and training, making it difficult for them to compete for the few formal sector jobs. Property and inheritance laws based on the French code do not discriminate against women, but most inheritance cases were not adjudicated in the court system. Rather, they are resolved by local leaders, with traditional practice favoring men. A 1999 study found that 21 percent of housewives could not work outside the home because their husbands forbade them to do so. The exploitation of women was pervasive especially in rural areas, where women do most of the agricultural labor and are discouraged from formal schooling. Illiteracy is estimated at 66 percent for women as compared with 41 percent for men. Under the law, polygyny is sanctioned; however, spouses may opt for monogamy. If a monogamous relationship was violated, the wife has the right to request that the marriage be dissolved; however, she must repay th e bride price and other expenses related to the marriage.

CHAD

CHILDREN: The Government took some actions to improve children’s rights and welfare, but it had few resources for these purposes. Although the Government continued to increase modestly its assistance to the education sector, the Government did not have enough money to provide adequate funding to public education and medical care. Government education policy for children and youth is focused on increasing classroom facilities and infrastructure.

The Government did not enforce compulsory education. The Constitution provides for compulsory education, but it does not specify until which age. The Constitution also provides for free education; however, parents complained that they must pay tuition to public schools. Educational opportunities for girls are limited, mainly because of tradition. Approximately as many girls as boys are enrolled in primary school, but the percentage of girls enrolled in secondary school is extremely low, primarily because of early marriage. The law considers any citizen under the age of 18 years as a minor. Sexual relations, even with consent, before the age of 13 years are considered to be rape and the prescribed sentence is for hard labor in perpetuity; the age of consent was 14. Child abuse is a problem.

Although the law prohibits sexual relations with a girl under the age of 14, even if married, this law rarely was enforced, and families arrange marriages for girls as young as the age of 12 or 13; the minimum age for engagements is 11 to 12. There are some forced marriages, for the financial gain of a dowry. Many young wives then are forced to work long hours for their husbands in fields or homes.”

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC – WOMEN

AFRICA

“Domestic violence against women, including wife beating, reportedly is common; however, inadequate data made it impossible to quantify. Spousal abuse is considered a civil matter unless the injury is severe. Victims seldom reported incidents. The courts tried very few cases of spousal abuse, although litigants cited these abuses during divorce trials and civil suits. Some women reportedly tolerated abuse to retain a measure of financial security for themselves and their children. The Government does not address this problem.

Rape is a crime, but spousal rape was not specified in the legislation. Men sometimes are arrested for rape, but the social stigma induced many families to avoid formal court action. There are numerous credible reports that government soldiers and rebels raped women during and following the October coup attempt

The law prohibits FGM; however, girls continued to be subjected to this traditional practice in certain rural areas, and to a lesser degree in Bangui. According to a study published in April 2001 jointly by UNICEF and the statistics office of the Ministry of Economy, Planning, and International Cooperation, approximately 36 percent of adult females had undergone FGM. In 2000 the International Committee of African Women for Development (CIFAD), a central African-based women’s rights organization, began a national campaign against FGM with financial assistance from a foreign donor. Trafficking alsi is a problem.

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

Women are treated as inferior to men both economically and socially. Single, divorced, or widowed women, even with children, are not considered socially to be heads of households. Only men are entitled to family subsidies from the Government. Women in rural areas generally suffer more discrimination than women in urban areas. There are no accurate statistics on the percentage of female wage earners. Women’s access to educational opportunities and to jobs, particularly at upper levels in the professions or in government service, is limited.

Polygyny is legal, although this practice faced growing resistance among educated women. The law authorizes a man to take up to four wives, but a prospective husband must indicate at the time of the first marriage contract whether he intends to take additional wives. In practice many couples never are married formally because men cannot afford the traditional bride payment. Women who are educated and financially independent fend to seek monogamous marriages. Divorce is legal and can be initiated by either partner.

The law does not discriminate against women in inheritance arid property rights, but a number of conflicting customary laws often prevail. A family code strengthens women’s rights, particularly in the courts. The Association of Central African Women Lawyers advised women of their legal rights. The organization also published pamphlets in conjunction with the Ministry of Social Affairs on the dangers of FGM. Several active women’s groups organized workshops and seminars to promote women’s and children’s rights and to participate fully in the political process.

CHILDREN: Although there Is no official discrimination against children, the Government spent little money on programs for them. Churches and NGOs have relatively few programs for youths. The failure of the education system, caused by a meager budget and salary arrears, results in a shortage of teachers and an increase in the number of street children. Education is compulsory from ages 6 to 14; however, parents rarely are prosecuted for their children’s nonattendance. In practice the age that a child started school often varied by 2 to 3 years in rural areas. At the primary level, girls and boys have equal access to education, but the majority of young women dropped out at age 14 or 15 due to societal pressure to marry and bear children.

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

According to the Ministry of Economy and Planning only 42.9 percent of students of primary school age were enrolled in school, 46.5 percent of boys and 39.1 percent of girls. Among those of secondary school age. only 11.4 percent were enrolled, 11.5 percent boys and 11.4 percent girls in urban areas.

The Government does not provide medical coverage for uninsured children. There were more than 3,000 street children between the ages of 5 and 18 in Bangui. Many children beg and steal – trafficking and child prostitution is a problem: several charitable organizations provide humanitarian assistance.

According to numerous credible reports, male teachers in primary and secondary schools as well as at the University level routinely press their female students into having a sexual relationship in exchange for passing grades: the spread of HIV/AIDS is extremely prevalent between teachers and their female students.”

BOTSWANA – WOMEN

AFRICA

“Domestic violence against women remains a serious problem. Under customary law and in common rural practice, men have the right to “chastise” their wives. Police rarely are called to intervene in cases of domestic violence. Reports of sexual exploitation, abuse, and assault increased an estimated 18.4 percent during the year, in part due to public awareness of the problem and a willingness of victims to come forward. The national police force began training officers in handling domestic violence cases. Although the Government has become far tougher in dealing with sexual assault, societal attitudes toward other forms of domestic violence remained lenient. Half of the murders of women were linked to histories of domestic violence. Human rights activists estimated that 6 women in 10 were victims of domestic violence at some time in their lives.

Rape is another serious problem, and given the high incidence of HIV/AIDS, sexual assault became an even more serious offense. By law the minimum sentence for rape is 10 years, with the minimum increasing to 15 years with corporal punishment if the offender is HIV-positive, and to 20 years with corporal punishment if the offender knew of his HIV status. The law does not address the issue of marital rape. Women’s groups acknowledged an improvement in the treatment of alleged victims by police officials during rape investigations; however, they noted that police still lacked basic investigative knowledge of rape cases.

Sexual exploitation and harassment continue to be problems with men in positions of authority, including teachers, supervisors, and older male relatives pressuring women and girls to provide sexual favors. In 2000 the Government amended the Public Service Act to recognize sexual harassment as misconduct carrying penalties under the law. Greater public awareness and improved legal protection have led more victims of domestic violence and sexual assault to report incidents to the authorities. In May 2001, the Women’s Affairs Department held a national workshop on violence toward women and issued a report that promoted the use of an integrated approach among all interested parties to gender based violence.

BOTSWANA

Women legally enjoyed the same civil rights as men; however, in practice societal discrimination persisted. A number of traditional laws enforced by tribal structures and customary courts restricted women’s property rights and economic opportunities. A woman married under traditional law or in “common property” was held to be a legal minor and required her husband’s consent to buy or sell property, apply for credit, and enter into legally binding contracts. Under the law, women married under an intermediate system, referred to as “in community of property,” were permitted to own immovable property in their own names; however, their husbands still retained considerable control over jointly held assets of the marriage.. .

Women increasingly exercised the right to marriage “out of common property,” in which case they retained their full legal rights as adults. Polygyny still was legal under traditional law with the consent of the first wife, but it rarely was practiced. The Government and local NGOs focused on constructive methods to address discrimination against women in the areas of marital power, legal disabilities, and proprietary consequences of marriage under common law, customary law, and the Married Persons Property Act. In 2001 the Government amended the marriage laws. Prior to the amendment, girls could be married with parental consent at age 14, and boys with parental consent at age 16. The new law sets the age of marriage with parental consent at 18 for both sexes, and at age 21 if parental consent is not given. All marriages must be registered, regardless of customary law or religious belief.

Well trained urban women enjoyed growing entry level access to the white collar job market, but the number of opportunities decreased sharply as they rose in seniority. Discrimination against women was most acute in rural areas where women engaged primarily in subsistence agriculture had few property rights. The Women’s Affairs Department of the Ministry of Labor and Home Affairs, in conjunction with the U.N. Development Program, developed the Program Support Document (PSD).

A number of women’s organizations emerged to promote the status of women, and the Government entered into a dialog with many of these groups. While some women’s rights groups reportedly felt that the Government was slow to respond concretely to their concerns, women’s NGOs stated that they were encouraged by the direction of change and by the increasingly collaborative relationship with government authorities. Major women’s NGOs promoted the social, economic, and legal status of women and the Botswana Council of Women.

UGANDA – WOMEN

AFRICA

“Domestic violence against women, including rape, are common. According to the 2001 Law and Advocacy for Women Projects Report on Domestic Violence, wife beating ranked highest among the Acholi people atan estimated 80 percent. The Bakiga in the south ranked second with 75 percent. There are no laws that specifically protect women from battery or spousal rape, although there is a general law concerning assault. Law enforcement officials, reflecting general public opinion, continued to view wife beating as a husband’s prerogative and rarely intervened in cases of domestic violence. Women remained more likely to sue for divorce than to file assault charges against their husbands.

These problems continued to receive increasing, public attention. Numerous women’s rights NGOs sponsored conferences, empowerment sessions, and training programs throughout the country. The revised 1964 bride-price by-law, which was passed by a referendum in Tororo in December 2001 ,made the bride price a nonrefundable gift to the parents of the bride and was expected to lessen domestic violence when either party sought divorce. During the 2001 presidential elections, the Government set up a hotline for women to call the UPDF to seek redress if their husbands threatened violence against them for exercising their right to choose a candidate.

UGANDA

The Karamojong ethnic group in the northeast has a cultural practice of claiming unmarried women as wives by raping them; however, no cases of this practice were reported during the year. An undetermined number of women were victims of abduction and rape by rebel forces.

FGM is practiced by the Sabiny tribe, located in the rural Kapchorwa District, and the Pokot tribe (also known as the Upe), which inhabited the northeastern border with Kenya. There were approximately 10,000 Sabiny and approximately 20,000 Upe who live in the country. Among the Sabiny, initiation ceremonies involving FGM were carried out every 2 years. During the year, initiation ceremonies took place in Kapchorwa. The NGO REACH recorded a total of 586 women who underwent FGM.

There is no law against the practice, but the Government and women’s groups working with the U.N. Population Fund continued to carry out programs to combat the practice through education. These programs received strong government support and some support from local leaders. The programs emphasized close cooperation with traditional authority figures and peer counseling. Significant press attention to these ongoing efforts brought public attention to the problem during the year. Prostitution is illegal; though common, with no credible statistics available. There were reports of trafficking in persons during the year.

Sexual harassment also is common. On May 9, the Board of the Faculty of Law at Makerere University approved a sexual harassment policy intended to combat sexual abuse and harassment at the University. The July International Women’s Congress held in Kampala heard from female police officers who were pressured into giving sexual favors and denied promotions.

Traditional and widespread societal discrimination against women continued, especially in rural areas. Many customary laws discriminate against women in the areas of adoption, marriage, divorce, and inheritance. In most areas, women could not own or inherit property, nor retain custody of their children under local customary law. Divorce law requires women to meet stricter evidentiary standards than are required for men in order to prove adultery. Polygyny is legal under both customary and Islamic law, and a wife has no legal status to prevent her husband from marrying another woman. In some ethnic groups, men also could “inherit” the widows of their deceased brothers. Women do most of the agricultural work but own only 7 percent of the agricultural land. There are limits on a married woman’s ability to travel abroad with her children.

There are active women’s rights groups, including FIDA, Action for Development, the National Association of Women Judges (NAWJ), Akina Mama Wa Afrika, the Forum for Women in Democracy, and NAWOU, who promote greater awareness of the rights of women and children. Women as Partners for Peace sponsor a forum to discuss democracy and conflict resolution. FIDA continues with its program on proposed reforms of outdated and discriminatory laws.

CHILDREN.

UGANDA

The Government demonstrates a commitment to improving children’s welfare. Education received the largest percentage of the budget. During the year, the Government did not enforce effectively the 1996 Children’s Statute on protections for children. Government efforts to enforce the statute were hampered by the large proportion of the population below 18 years of age (50 percent was under 15).”

KUWAIT – WOMEN NEAR EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

“Violence against women is a problem. Each of the country’s 50 police stations reportedly receive on average 1 to 2 complaints of spousal abuse each week, although this may be understated. Of the eived, Approximately 60 percent of the complaints involved abuse of noncitizen women. The police and the courts generally try to resolve family disputes informally. The police referrs serious cases to the Ministry of Health. The courts have found husbands guilty of spousal abuse.

Rape and sexual assault remain serious problems, particularly for foreign domestic servants or unskilled workers. The police occasionally arrests rapists who hold their victims for a period of days. The law provides that citizens found guilty of crimes that violate moral integrity, such as rape or incest, are forbidden from holding public jobs. In January, the court upheld a 15-year prison sentence of a police officer who kidnaped and raped a woman. There were 10 reported incidents of gang rape during the year.

KUWAIT

Some employers physically abuse foreign women working as domestic servants, and, despite economic and social difficulties for a domestic servant who lodges a complaint, there are continuing reports of the rape of such women by male employers and male coworkers. The local press devotes considerable attention to the problem, and both the police and the courts have taken action against employers. Foreign-born domestic employees have the right to sue their employers for abuse, but few do so, fearing judicial bias and deportation. A specialized police facility investigates some complaints and provides some shelter for runaway maids … Runaway servants, often seek shelter at their country’s embassy for repatriation or a change in employers At one time, nearly 1,000 women were reported to be in embassy shelters.

Unemployed, runaway foreign domestic workers are susceptible to recruitment into prostitution. The police actively enforce laws against pandering and prostitution, with arrests reported almost every week. Prostitutes generally are deported to their countries of origin. Recently procurers received stiff jail terms. There are at least three reports each year of procurers kidnaping maids off the street and forcing them into prostitution … There have also been reports of women, mainly from Asia who have been brought into the country to work as prostitutes, many initially came as domestic servants.

Women continued to experience legal and social discrimination. Women are denied the right to vote Their testimony is worth half that of a man’s in proceedings before the family courts Married women require their husbands’ permission to obtain a passport. Bylaw only men are able to confer citizenship; therefore, children born to citizen mothers and stateless fathers are themselves stateless. The Government forbids marriage between Muslim women and non-Muslim men. Inheritance is governed by Islamic law, which differs according to the branch of Islam. In the absence of a direct male heir, Shi’a women may inherit all property, while Sunni women inherit only a portion, with the balance divided among brothers, uncles, and male cousins of the deceased. KUWAIT

In January, the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Education stated that the election law was the main hurdle to women’s political rights. In February the Court of First Instance postponed a decision on the case of two women seeking the right to vote. On February 18, women participated in a march to be included in the electoral rolls. In March, the Interior and Defense Committee of the National Assembly rejected the women’s suffrage bill on the basis that the Legislative and Legal Committee had earlier rejected it. Women traditionally are excluded from choosing certain roles in society, and the law restricts women from working in “dangerous industries” and trades “harmful” to health.

Almost all citizens work for the state in office jobs. Educated women maintain that the conservative nature of society limits career opportunities. An estimated 33 percent of citizen women of working age are employed. The law provides for “remuneration equal to that of a man provided she does the same work.” This provision is respected in practice. A few women have been appointed to senior positions in the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Planning, and the state-owned Kuwaiti Petroleum Corporation. There is one female ambassador and two female undersecretaries; however, no female judges or prosecutors

In cases of divorce, the Government makes family entitlement payments to the divorced husband, who is expected by law and custom to provide for his children even though custody of minor children usually is given to the mother … Polygyny is legal; however, it is more common among tribal groups There are several women’s organizations that follow women’s issues, among the most active of which are the Women’s Cultural and Social Society (WCSS) and the Women’s Affairs Committee.”

YEMEN – WOMEN

NEAR EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

“Subsequently, the Government removed the provisions that forced women to return to their husbands after they had left them. Women who seek to travel abroad must obtain permission from their husbands or fathers to receive a passport and to travel. They also are expected to be accompanied by male relatives. However, enforcement of this requirement is not consistent.

Shari’a-based law permits a Muslim man to marry a Christian or Jewish woman, but no Muslim woman may marry outside of Islam. Women do not have the right to confer citizenship on their foreign-born spouses; however, they may confer citizenship on children born in the country of foreign-born fathers.

According to an Interior Ministry regulation, any citizen who wishes to marry a foreigner must obtain the permission of the Ministry. A woman wishing to marry a foreigner must present proof of her parents’ approval to the Interior Ministry. A foreign woman who wishes to marry a citizen man must prove to the Ministry that she is “of good conduct and behavior,” and “is free from contagious disease.” There are no corresponding requirements for men. Although the regulation does not have the force of law and is applied irregularly, some human rights groups have raised concerns about it.

The Government consistently supported women’s rights as exemplified by local law and the expansion of the public role of women. The President frequently speaks publicly about the importance of women in politics and economic development. Several ministries have a number of female directors general. In 2000 the Prime Minister established the Supreme Council for Women, an independent governmental body charged with promoting women’s issues in the Government.

According to 2000 government statistics, approximately 68 percent of women are illiterate, compared with approximately 28 percent of men. The fertility rate is 6.5 children per woman. Most women have little access to basic health care.

YEMEN

In general women in the south, particularly in Aden, ase better educated and have had somewhat greater employment opportunities than their northern counterparts. However, since the 1994 war of secession, the number of working women in the south appears to have declined, due not only to the stagnant economy but also to increasing cultural pressure from the north. According to the UNDP, female workers account for 19 percent of the paid labor force. There are no laws prohibiting sexual harassment, which occurs in practice.

Prior to unification, approximately half of the judges working in the PDRY were women. However, after the 1994 war of secession, conservative leaders of the judiciary reassigned many southern female judges though several continue to practice in Aden. There are no female judges in northern courts.

The National Women’s Committee (NWC), a government-sponsored semi-independent women s association, promotes women’s education and civic responsibility through seminars and workshops and by coordinating donors’ programs. The committee’s chairwoman sits on the Prime Ministerial Supreme Council for Women. In July 2001, the NWC, in a legal reform project financed by the World Bank, completed a 6 month review of 58 significant national laws to find and rectify provisions that discriminated against women or violated equal status requirements agreed to by the Government in international conventions.

The NWC’s seven-member legal committee identified problems and recommended legal changes. The Cabinet approved the recommended changes in principle, with some revisions; however, Parliament passed no legislation regarding this matter by year’s end. During the year, the NWC also pushed for a quota system to reserve at least 10 percent of the parliament seats for women. The Government passed no legislation regarding the guarantee by year’s end.

YEMEN

There were a number of recently formed NGOs working for women’s advancement, including the Social Association for Productive Families, promoting vocational development for women; the Women and Children’s Department of the Center for Future Studies, organizing seminars and publishing studies on women and children; the Woman and Child Development Association, focusing on health education and illiteracy; and the Yemeni Council for Motherhood arid Childhood, providing microcredit and vocational training to women.

CHILDREN: While the Government asserts its commitment to protect children’s rights, it lacked the resources necessary to ensure adequate health care, education, and welfare services for children. Malnutrition is common. The infant mortality rate in 1999 was 75 deaths per 1,000 births. Many children, especially girls, do not attend primary school. FGM Is still practiced – on a limited scale…”

NEW ZEALAND – WOMEN

EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC

“Violence against women is a serious and growing problem. Assaults by males against females increased by more than 5 percent from 6,956 for the 12-month period ending in June 2000 to 7,324 for the 12-month period ending in June 2001 (latest statistics).

According to a 1996 National Survey of Crime Victims (the latest such statistics available), an estimated 20 percent of all Maori, 11 percent of all persons of European ancestry, and 9 percent of all Pacific Islanders reported domestic abuse by a partner. According to the Injury Prevention Research Center, 15 to 35 percent of all women reported having been hit or forced to have sex by their partners at least once in their lifetime. Although Maori women and children constitute less than 10 percent of the population, half the women and children who used the National Council of Independent Women’s Refuges are Maori. According to 1998 government statistics, 5,056 men were prosecuted for domestic assault and approximately 1,000 on less serious family violence charges.

NEW ZEALAND

In this study. Maori men constituted 41 percent of men convicted of assaulting a woman and 43 percent of men convicted of assaulting a child. Disproportionately high rates of domestic abuse also were documented among Pacific Islander families. Convictions for “male assaults female” (all races) increased 30 percent from 2000 to 2001, rising from 2,240 to 2,921 cases. Assaults on a child increased nearly 60 percent in the same period, from 186 to 296 cases. However, convictions for breaching protection orders under the Domestic Violence Act fell 46 percent, from 4,429 to 2,366.

The law penalizes spousal rape. The Government prosecuted and convicted persons on this charge during the year; however, specific statistics were not available. The National Collective of Rape Crisis groups disbanded during the year; however, local groups continued to be active. Rape crisis groups asserted that most sexual assault cases went unreported, and only few cases resulted in convictions.

The 1995 Domestic Violence Act broadened the definition of violence to include psychological abuse, threats, intimidation, harassment, and allowing children to witness psychological abuse. It expanded intervention measures, such as the use of protection orders; education programs for men, women, and children; stronger police powers to arrest and detain offenders; improved access to legal services for women eligible for legal aid; and tougher penalties for breach of a protection order. As of June 30, 2001, the family court had received 22,369 applications for protection orders under the Act.

In March the Government introduced “Te Rito,” a national strategy to combat domestic violence. It includes a range of programs to expand initiatives for prevention of family violence, provides victim support, incorporates best practices from family violence centers into the national family violence programs, ensures safety from violence, and ensures that approaches to family violence were culturally relevant and effective for minority populations, such as the implementation of Maori-designed and delivered programs. The Government partially funds women’s shelters, rape crisis centers, sexual abuse counseling, family violence networks, and violence prevention services.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is not practiced in the country. However, in the mid-1990s, cases of FGM were documented in the Somali, Sudanese, and Ethiopian immigrant communities. A 1996 law made it illegal to perform FGM or to remove a child from the country to carry out the procedure; violations of the law are punishable by up to 7 years in prison. The Government also funds a national FGM education program. The Government sponsors ongoing public awareness campaigns to address FGM, a child protection network, and a special clinic at the country’s largest women’s hospital.

Prostitution is legal; however, organizing and recruiting women into prostitution is not. The law prohibits sex tourism, and citizens who commit child sex offenses overseas can be prosecuted in New Zealand courts. There were no reports of abuse or the involuntary detention of women involved in prostitution, however, there were several credible reports that women smuggled into the country were forced into prostitution to repay substantial debts to traffickers.

NEW ZEALAND

The law prohibits sexual harassment; however, it is a serious problem. In a survey commissioned by the National Human Rights Commission in 2001, 31 percent of women and 13 percent of men reported experiences of sexual harassment. In September 2001, the commission started a Sexual Harassment Prevention Campaign, including a week focused on the issue.

While the law prohibits discrimination in employment and requiews equal pay for equal or similar work, the Government acknowledged that a gender earnings gap persisted in practice. Statistics as of August indicated that women earned 76 percent of men’s average total wage and 84.4 percent of menus average ordinary hourly wage.”

TAIWAN – WOMEN

EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC

“Violence against women, including domestic violence and rape, remains a serious problem. Domestic violence is especially widespread. The authorities fund domestic violence hot lines, which also handle calls for assistance from victims of sexual assault and child abuse. From January through September, the hot line run by the Domestic Violence Prevention and Control Center under the Ministry of Interior received 55,310 calls. The Ministry of Justice continued to take steps to strengthen the protection of women and children against violence in accordance with the 1999 Domestic Violence and Protection Control Law. The law allows prosecutors to take the initiative in investigating complaints of domestic violence without waiting for a spouse to file a formal lawsuit. Although some cases were prosecuted, strong social pressure discouraged abused women from reporting incidents to the police in order to avoid disgracing their families.

Rape also remained a serious problem, and its victims were stigmatized socially. One expert estimated that 7,000 rapes–10 times the number reported to the police–occurr annually. In 1999 legislation was passed that permits the prosecution of the crime of rape without requiring the victim to press charges. Under the law, rape trials may not be open to the public unless the victim consents. The Code of Criminal Procedure establishes the punishment for rape as not less than 5 years’ imprisonment, and those convicted usually were given sentences of 5 to 10 years in prison. There were 2,943 cases of rape or sexual assault reported in 2001. Spousal rape is a crime. In 2001 the Ministry of Interior (MOI) adopted a new procedure under which doctors, social workers, police, arid prosecutors jointly question victims of sexual abuse in order to reduce the number of times a victim is questioned. From January through November, 1,431 persons were indicted for rape or sexual assault, and 1,143 persons, most indicted in pr evious years, were convicted.

TAIWAN

The law requires all city and county governments to set up domestic violence prevention and control centers to to provide victims with protection, shelter, legal counseling, and other services on a 24-hour basis. From January through September, the city and county domestic violence prevention and control centers consulted with a total of 54,180 persons, set up follow-up files on the cases of 14,903 persons, helped obtain 2,429 court protection orders, and assisted in obtaining emergency shelter for 1,161 persons. Under the law, a judicial order may be obtained to prohibit violators from approaching victims. The MOI also provided assistance, such as financial assistance and shelter, to victims of rape or domestic violence. In 1999 the Ministry established a domestic violence prevention committee to implement a comprehensive program for the protection of women and children. The committee worked to ensure that the various prevention and control centers were functioning effectively, and that other government agen cies, such as the police, handled domestic violence cases appropriately.

Prostitution, including child prostitution, also is a problem. The authorities are phasing out legalized prostitution. In 1999 prostitution was banned, but 23 brothels were exempted as well as 119 registeed prostitutes. No new houses of prostitution may be registered. There are reports of a growing trend of young women, often well educated, entering prostitution. Sexual harassment is a problem, but the Government actively addressed the issue. The authorities reacted quickly to investigate allegations of sexual harassment by a high-ranking government official. The law prohibits sex discrimination. Many sections of the legal code that discriminated against women have been eliminated. For example, women are no longer required to adopt their husband’s last name; the citizenship law was amended in 2000 to permit transmission of citizenship through either parent.

TAIWAN

In March the 2001 Gender Equality in the Workplace Act went into effect, providing for equal treatment with regard to salaries, promotions, and assignments. The law also stipulates that measures be taken to eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace. Women’s advocates noted that women were promoted less frequently and worked for lower pay than their male counterparts, and that women were not granted maternity leave or were forced to quit lobs due to marriage, age, or pregnancy, despite the fact that labor laws afforded women protections against gender-based discrimination. According to the Council on Labor Affairs, salaries for women averaged 85 percent of those for men performing comparable jobs. Most city and county administrations have set up committees to deal with complaints of sexual discrimination in the workplace.

In 2001 the Ministry of Education initiated a program to promote equal educational opportunities including units on family life, and equal opportunity at all levels. The same year 60 women’s organizations joined together to form the National Union of Taiwan Women to promote women’s rights.. Also in 2001, President Chen reiterated his administration’s determination to protect teenage girls from commercial sexual exploitation, and protect their rights.”

CHINA – WOMEN

EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC

“The Law on the Protection of Women’s Rights and Interests was designed to assist in curbing gender-based discrimination. However, women continued to report that discrimination, sexual harassment, unfair dismissal, demotion, and wage discrepancies were significant problems. Efforts have been made by social organizations as well as by the Government to educate women about their legal rights, and there was anecdotal evidence that women increasingly were using laws to protect their rights.

Nevertheless, women frequently encountered serious obstacles to the enforcement of laws. According to legal experts, it was very hard to litigate a sex discrimination suit because the vague legal definition made it difficult to quantify damages. As a result, very few cases were brought to court. Some observers also noted that the agencies charged with protecting women’s rights tend to focus on maternity-related benefits and wrongful termination during maternity leave rather than sex discrimination and sexual harassment. The structure of the social system also prevented women from having a full range of options. Women who sought a divorce faced the prospect of losing their housing since government work units allot housing to men when couples marry.

CHINA

Women have borne the brunt of the economic reform of state-owned enterprises. Of the millions of workers laid off due to the reform of state-owned enterprises, a disproportionate percentage were women, many of whom did not find new jobs. Discriminatory hiring practices appeared to be on the increase as unemployment rose. Increasingly, companies discriminated by both sex and age, although such practices violate labor laws. Many employers preferred to hire men to avoid the expense of maternity leave and childcare, and some even lowered the effective retirement age for female workers to 40 years (the official retirement age for men is 60 years and for women 55 years). Lower retirement ages also had the effect of reducing pensions, which generally were based on years worked.

The law provides for equal pay for equal work. However, a recent Government survey found that women were paid only 70 to 80 percent of what men received for the same work. Most women employed in industry worked in lower skilled and lower paid jobs.

CHINA

According to official figures, in 1995 there were 145 million illiterate persons above the age of 15. Women made up approximately 70 percent of this total. A 1998 Asian Development Bank report estimated 25 percent of all women were semi-literate or illiterate, compared with 10 percent of men.

A high female suicide rate continued to be a serious problem. According to the World Health Organization, some 56 percent of the world’s female suicides occur in China (approximately 500 per day). The World Bank estimated the suicide rate in the country to be three times the global average; among women. Many observers believed that violence against women and girls; discrimination in education and employment; the traditional preference for male children; the country’s birth limitation policies; and other societal factors contributed to the especially high female suicide rate.

While the gap in the education levels of men and women was narrowing, men continued to constitute a disproportionate number of the small percentage that received a university-level education. According to figures released by the All-China Women’s Federation, at the end of 1997, women made up 36 percent of all university students, and 30 percent of all graduate students. However, educators in the large cities reported that there was a trend toward greater gender balance in universities, and that in some undergraduate and graduate departments women were beginning to outnumber men. However, women with advanced degrees reported an increase in discrimination in the hiring process.

CHILDREN: The Constitution provides for 9 years of compulsory education for children, but in economically disadvantaged rural areas, many children do not attend school for the required period. Public schools did not charge tuition, but after the central Government stopped subsidizing primary education in the early 1990s, many public schools began to charge to meet revenue shortfalls. Such fees made it difficult for poorer families to send their children to school. … Some charitable schools have opened in rural areas, but not enough to meet demand. The government campaign for universal primary school enrollment by 2000 (which was not met) helped to increase enrollment in some areas.

Female infanticide, sex selective abortions, and the abandonment and neglect of baby girls remained problems due to the traditional preference for sons, and the birth limitation policy. Many families, especially in rural areas, used ultrasound to identify female fetuses and terminate pregnancies. Official figures from November 2000 put the overall male-female birth ratio at 116.9 to 100 (as compared to the statistical norm of 106 to 100).”

INDONESIA – WOMEN

EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC

“Violence against women remained poorly documented, and NGOs estimated that only 15 percent of domestic violence incidents wore reported. On July 17, the Minister of Women’s Empowerment said the number of domestic violence incidents had increased 29 percent from the previous year. The NGO Mitra Perempuan reported 111 cases of domestic violence in Jakarta and its suburbs during the first half of the year. In September Jakarta’s biggest hospital, Cipto Mangunkusumo, admitted 72 women injured in domestic violence, It was unknown how many spouses were prosecuted for domestic violence due to the fact that police refused to provide relevant information. A study of the problem of domestic violence showed that it was more common than before the 1997-98 financial crisis. Two types of crisis centers were available to women in distress: Government-run centers in hospitals and NGO centers operated in the community.

Rape is an offense punishable by 4 to 12 years in jail, the Government jailed perpetrators for rape and attempted rape. Comprehensive statistics were unavailable, but in the month of September alone, Cipto Mangunkusumo admitted 56 women and 96 girls who were raped and 106 girls who were assaulted sexually. Women’s rights activists speculated that these figures were lower than actual occurrences of rape because the social stigma associated with rape resulted in the underreporting of rape. The law does not treat rape by a spouse as a crime, and requires penile penetration to constitute rape. A women’s activist in Aceh said that on several occasions during the year, soldiers used bottles and other foreign objects to violate local women; however, legally this was not considered rape, and no one had been held accountable by year’s end.

INDONESIA

Rapes committed by members of the security forces were most numerous in Aceh and other conflict zones. In the Papuan provincial capital of Jayapura, human rights activists said at least 82 documented crimes against women and children were committed during the year, including 8 rapes by soldiers or police. A senior police official in Jayapura, however, denied that any of his officers had committed rape. At some police stations the burden of rape was placed on the victims, with posters that exhorted women not to wear revealing clothing lest they be raped.

During the year, some women from Aceh turned down marriage proposals by security force members, only to have their parents threatened. Women who did become engaged to security force members sometimes became targets for GAM rebels.

Women made some progress during the year in promoting awareness of crimes against women. In July in Jayapura, Papua, LBH held an interactive program over national radio, during which rape was discussed. A police representative took part in the dialog.

Female genital mutilation (FGM), is practiced in some parts of the country. The NGO Population Council Indonesia carried out an 18-month study of the nature and scope of FGM, mainly in West Java and on the island of Madura. Researchers found that although FGM is prevalent in those areas, the preliminary findings suggest minimal short-term pain, suffering, and complications. Two types of people performed the procedure: midwives and local traditional practitioners. Researchers said the midwives’ procedure involves the tearing, cutting or piercing of part of the genitals, but not the removal of tissue. Most of the local traditional practitioners, on the other hand, said they customarily removed tissue, but the extent of this removal remains unclear. Likewise, it is unclear whether the removed tissue is from the clitoris, labia minora, or elsewhere. Some NGO activists dismissed any claims of mutilation, saying the ritual as practiced in the country is largely symbolic, cind involves softly touching a young girl w ith a metal blade, or at worst, nicking her.

INDONESIA

During the year there were reports that in some areas of the country, parents encourage their daughters to work as prostitutes in large urban areas. Trafficking in women and young girls is a serious problem Sexual harassment is not a crime, but “indecent behavior” is illegal. The law reportedly only covers physical abuse and requires two witnesses.

The Guidelines of State Policy, legal statutes adopted by the MPR, explicitly state that women have the same rights, obligations, and opportunities as men. However, the guidelines also state that women s participation in the development process must not conflict with their role in improving family welfare and the education of the younger generation. Marriage law designates the man as the head of the family.”

EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC

“Divorce is a legal option open to both men and women. Muslims who seek a divorce generally have to turn to the Islam-based family court system. Non-Muslims obtained divorce through the national court system. Women often faced a heavier evidentiary burden than men, especially in the family court system. Many divorcees received no alimony, as there is no system to enforce alimony payments.

The Citizenship Law states that a child’s citizenship is derived solely from the father. Children of citizen mothers and foreign fathers are considered foreigners, and required visas to remain in the country until 18, at which age they can apply for citizenship. These children are prohibited from attending public schools, and many are forced to attend private international schools. In cases in which a citizen mother lived abroad with her foreign husband, a break-up sometimes caused severe child custody problems. The children of foreign women married to Indonesian men also faced difficulties. A foreign woman married to a citizen could obtain Indonesian citizenship after 1 year, if she desired.

In Papua, as part of the province’s Special Autonomy status, 30 percent of seats in the proposed Papuan People’s Council are slated for women. The Council, however, had not been formed yet, and Papua’s provincial legislature did not pass implementing regulations in support of the Special Autonomy Program by year’s end.

INDONESIA

In Aceh there was no compelling evidence to suggest that women’s rights were undermined when the province gained authority to implement Shari’a during the year. However, in January police in Banda Aceh stopped a number of women who were riding on motorbikes and not wearing headscarves. If the woman was a Muslim, the police gave her a headscarf, but did not force her to wear it. This practice did not last long. Women’s rights activists reportedly succeeded in halting a plan to create a scarf compulsory zone elsewhere in Banda Aceh.

Women suffered disproportionately from poor health and illiteracy. According to UNICEF, the illiteracy rate among women was 18 percent, compared to 8 percent among men.

A number of regulations that discriminate against women remained in place during the year. At a May 22 forum in Jakarta on the role of the military, an activist criticized the TNI’s longstanding practice of requiring female applicants to the military academy to prove they were virgins; males are not asked to meet this requirement.

Although some women had a high degree of economic and social freedom, most remained at the lower end of the socioeconomic scale. The Government stated that 38 percent of civil servants were women, but that only 14 percent of these women held positions of authority. Despite laws that provide women with 3 months of maternity leave, employers sometimes replaced pregnant women while they were on leave from their lobs.

INDONESIA

In manufacturing, employers traditionally steer female workers toward lower-paying, lower-level jobs. Many female factory workers are hired as day laborers instead of as full-time permanent employees, and companies are not required to provide benefits, such as maternity leave, to day laborers. According to the government’s Central Statistics Bureau, in May 2002, the unemployment rate for men was higher than for women. If a husband and wife both work for a government agency, the couple’s head-of-household allowance is given to the husband. There are reports that female university graduates receive an average salary that is 25 percent less than their male counterparts.

The Indonesian Women’s Association for Justice facilitates public awareness programs in Jakarta to educate young women regarding the dangers of trafficking. The NGO Mitra Perempuan operates a hotline to record abuse cases and help abused women. There are many NGOs that address women’s issues, including Yayasan Humi Inana and the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC).

CHILDREN: The Government stated its commitment to children’s rights, education, and welfare, but devotes insufficient resources to fulfill that commitment. Poverty puts education out of reach for many children. Child labor and sexual abuse are serious problems. .Among girls aged 7 to 12, 7 percent, or 923,000, did not attend school. Although girls and boys ostensibly receive equal educational opportunities, boys are more likely to finish school: many parents cannot afford to educate all of their children, and concentrate their resources on their sons.

The Government estimated the number of prostitutes under the age of 18 at 49,500, but the actual number may have been much higher. At the country’s biggest red light district, in Surabaya, 40 percent of the prostitutes are under the age of 18. . .”

PAKISTAN – WOMEN

SOUTH ASIA

“Domestic violence is a widespread and serious problem. Human rights groups estimated that a large number of women are victims of domestic violence at the hands of their husbands, in-laws, or other relatives. One out of every two women is the victim of mental or physical violence. The Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Women reported in 2001 that violence against women “has been described as the most pervasive violation of human rights” in the country, and it called for legislation clearly stating that domestic violence against women is a criminal offense. Husbands are known to kill their wives even for trivial offenses, and often newly married women are abused and harassed by their in-laws. While abusers may be charged with assault, cases rarely are filed.

PAKISTAN

Police usually return battered women to their abusive family members. Women are reluctant to file charges because of societal mores that stigmatize divorce and make women economically and psychologically dependent on their relatives. Relatives also are reluctant to report abuse to protect the reputation of the family. There are no specific laws pertaininq to domestic violence, except for the Qisas and Diyat ordinances, which rarely are invoked and may privatize the crime. However, Qisas and Diyat cannot be invoked where the victim is a direct lineal descendant of the perpetrator. Police and judges see domestic violence as a family problem, and are reluctant to take action in such cases. Thus it is difficult for women to obtain relief from the justice system in cases of domestic violence.

During the year, the press reported on hundreds of incidents of violence against women and drew attention to the killings of married women by relatives over dowry or other family-related disputes. Most of the victims are burned to death, allegedly in kitchen stove accidents; some women reportedly are burned with acid. During 2001, 471 dowry deaths were reported, but according to one NGO, only 60 to 70 percent of such cases are reported. During the year, 317 burn cases were reported to the Progressive Women’s Association (PWA). Human rights monitors asserted that many cases are not reported by hospitals and that, even when they are, the police are reluctant to investigate or file charges. Furthermore, human rights monitors agree that most “stove deaths” in fact are killings based upon a suspicion of illicit sexual relationship or upon dowry demands. Increased media coverage of cases of wife burnings, spousal abuse, spousal killing, and rape has helped to raise awareness about violence against women.

By year’s end, The Crisis Center for Women in Distress helped over 85 women through legal and medical referrals, counseling from trained psychologists, and a hotline for women in distress. A second crisis centerwas opened in Vehari, in southern Punjab.

PAKISTAN

Rape is a pervasive problem. It is estimated estimated that large numbers of women – many of them minors, are raped in every city every day, and more than two-thirds are gang-raped. The law provides for the death penalty for persons convicted of gang rape. No executions have been carried out under this law and conviction rates remain low. It is estimated that less than one-third of all rapes are reported to the police. Police rarely respond to and sometimes are implicated in these attacks On June 22, a woman in Meerwala, Punjab was gang-raped on the orders of a council of tribal elders

According to HRCP, in most rape cases the victims are pressured to drop charges because of the threat of Hudood adultery or fornication charges against them if they cannot prove the absence of consent. All consensual extramarital sexual relations are considered violations of the Hudood Ordinances, and carry Hadd (Koranic) or Tazir (secular) punishments Accordingly, if a woman cannot prove the absence of consent, there is a risk that she may be charged with a violation of the Hudood ordinances for fornication or adultery. The Hadd–or maximum punishment for this offense–is public flogging or stoning; however, for Hadd punishments to apply, especially stringent rules of evidence were followed. Hadd punishments is mandatory if evidentiary requirements are met; for sexual offenses, four adult male Muslims must witness the act or the alleged perpetrator must confess.

For non-Muslims or in cases where all of the 4 male witnesses are not Muslim, the punishment is less severe. The testimony of four female witnesses, or that of the victim alone, is insufficient to impose Hadd punishments; therefore, even if a man rapes a woman in the presence of several women, he cannot be subjected to the Hadd punishment.

If Hadd punishment requirements are not met, the accused may be sentenced to a lesser class of penalties (Tazir); in practice most rape cases are tried at this level. Under Tazir a rapist may be sentenced to up to 25 years in prison and 30 lashes.”

PAKISTAN – WOMEN

SOUTH ASIA

“According to an Human Rights lawyer, the Musharraf Government has brought fewer charges against women under the Hudood Ordinance than were brought in the past, and the courts have shown greater leniency toward women in their sentences and in the granting of bail. According to Amnesti International, men accused of rape sometimes are acquitted and released, while their victims are held on adultery charges.

According to a 2001 HRW (Human Rights Watch) report, women face difficulty at every level of the judicial system in bringing rape cases to trial. Police are reluctant to take the complaint and sometimes are abusive toward the victim; the courts do not have consistent standards of proof as to what constitutes rape and what corroboration is required; and judges, police, and prosecutors are biased against female rape victims, tending towards a presumption of female consent and the belief that women lie about such things.

PAKISTAN

Judges reportedly are reluctant to convict; however, if there is some evidence, judges have been known to convict the accused of the lesser offense of adultery or fornication (consensual sex). In 2001 HRW also reported that women face problems in the collection of evidence; that the doctors tasked to examine rape victims often believe that the victims are lying; that the doctors are trained insufficiently and have inadequate facilities for the collection of forensic evidence pertaining to rape. . . Medical examiners and police personnel sometimes are abusive physically or verbally during these exams. .

Police and doctors often do not know that a woman must consent to this type of exam before it can be performed, and judges may not inform women of their right to decline, If they report rape to the police, women’s cases often are delayed or mishandled, and women frequently are harassed by police or the alleged perpetrators to drop the case. Police sometimes accept bribes from the accused rapist to get the victim to drop a case; however, in other cases, police will request bribes from the victim to pursue the case against the accused rapist. . .

The Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Women in 2001 criticized Hudood Ordinances relating to extramarital sex and recommended that they be repealed, asserting that they are based on an erroneous interpretation of Shari’a. . . . the Commission pointed out that, the woman may have spent months in jail, suffered sexual abuse at the hands of the police, and seen her reputation destroyed. According to one human rights monitor, 80 percent of adultery-related Hudood cases were filed without supporting evidence. The Commission found that the main victims of the Hudood Ordinances are poor women unable to defend themselves against slanderous charges. These ordinances also have been used by husbands and other male family members to punish their wives and female relatives for reasons having nothing to do with sexual propriety, according to the Commission

One NGO run by a prominent human rights activist reported that 262 women were on trial for adultery in Lahore as of May 2001 An additional 33 were awaiting trial and 26 had been convicted under the Hudood Ordinances in 2001, the most recent statistics available.

Marital rape is not a crime. The Hudood Ordinances abolished punishment for raping one’s wife. However, the Commission of Inquiry for women has recommended reinstating penalties for marital rape. Marriage registration (nikah) sometimes occurs years before a marriage is consummated (rukh sati). The nikah (unconsummated) marriage is regarded as a formal marital relationship, and thus a woman or girl cannot be raped by a man to whom her marriage is registered, even if the marriage has not yet been entered into formally.

PAKISTAN

There were numerous reports of women killed or mutilated by male relatives who suspected them of adultery. Few such cases were investigated seriously and those who are arrested often are acquitted on the grounds that they were “provoked,” or for a lack of witnesses. While the tradition of killing those suspected of illicit sexual relations, in order to restore tribal or family honor, women are far more likely to be killed than men. It was estimated in 2001 that as many as 204 women were killed by their husbands or family, mostly as a result of honor killings, known as “karo/kari” (or adulterer/adulteress) in Sindh. Around 278 honor killings took place in Punjab . More than 800 women were killed by family members in honor killings during 2001.

The problem was believed to be even more extensive in rural Sindh and Baluchistan, where “karo/kari” killings are common. Tribal custom among the Baluch and the Pathans sanctions such killings. The Commission of Inquiry for Women has rejected the concept of “honor” as a mitigating circumstance.”

PAKISTAN – WOMEN

SOUTH ASIA

“Women who are the victims of rape may become the victims of their families (1) vengeance against the victims’ “defilement.” The Government failed to take action in honor killing cases, particularly when influential families are involved. In April 2001 Mehvish Miankhel was killed by her uncle and the Government did not arrest her attacker.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is practiced by the Bohra Muslims. There are an estimated 100,000 Bohra Muslims in the country; the Bohra observe a form of Shi’a Islam that was practiced in medieval Cairo. There are no available statistics on the extent to which the Bohra practice FGM.

Sexual harassment is a widespread problem in the country but there is no separate law to prosecute offenders. There is one article in the Pakistan Penal Code that deals with harassment.

Significant barriers to the advancement of women begin at birth. In general female children are less valued and cared for than are male children. According to a U.N. study, girls receive less nourishment, health care, and education than do boys. In June, the New York Times reported that the country has only 94 females for every 100 males, when the international average is 104 females for every 100 males.

Human rights monitors and women’s groups believe that a narrow interpretation of Shari’a has had a harmful effect on the rights of women and minorities, as it reinforces popular attitudes and perceptions and contributes to discriminatory treatment of women. . . The value of women’s testimony is not equal to that of a man’s in certain court cases tried under the Hudood Ordinances or before a federal Shariat Court.

PAKISTAN

In inheritance cases women generally do not receive–or are pressed to surrender–the share of the inheritance they legally are due. Civil marriages do not exist; marriages are performed and registered according to religion.

Both civil and religious laws theoretically Protect women’s rights in cases of divorce, but many women are unaware of their rights, and often the laws are not observed…. Judicial reforms begun in April with foreign funding included plans to publish laws in Urdu, which is understood by the majority of citizens.

The Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Women recommended that marriage registration (nikahnama) be obligatory and that women, as well as men, have the right to initiate divorce proceedings. It also called for the punishment of those who coerce women or girls into forced marriages. A husband legally is bound to maintain his wife until 3 months after the divorce. A father is bound to maintain his children until they reach the age of 14 for males, or 16 for females. However, the legal process is so complicated and lengthy that it can take years for the children to get maintenance.

Discrimination against women particularly is acute in rural areas. In some areas of rural Sindh and Baluchistan, female literacy rates were 2 percent or less. A survey of rural females by the National Institute of Psychology found that 42 percent of parents cited “no financial benefit” as the reason they kept their daughters from attending school and sent their sons instead. Similarly a study by the NWFP directorate of primary education concluded that most girls in rural areas do not go to school because they have to look after the household while their mothers help in the fields.

PAKISTAN

In Karachi only 28 percent of girls completing matriculation (10th grade) exams in science during the year would be able to find places in government-run colleges, as opposed to 83 percent of boys passing the same tests.

In Baluchistan conditions are much worse, with only 2 percent of the province’s women having received any formal education. Education activists noted that many parents would like to educate their daughters; however, many parents reportedly chose not to send their daughters to school due to the poor quality of instruction and the lack of facilities.

In rural areas, the practice of a woman “marrying the Koran” still is accepted widely if the family cannot arrange a suitable marriage or wants to keep the family wealth intact. A woman” married to the Koran” is forbidden to have any contact with males more than 14 years of age, including her immediate family members. Press reports indicate that the practice of buying and selling brides still occurs in some parts of the country.”

PAKISTAN – WOMEN

SOUTH ASIA

“A special three-member bench of the Lahore High Court upheld in 1997 the federal Shariat Court’s ruling that a Muslim woman can marry without the consent of her wali (guardian–usually her father). However, in practice social custom dictates that couples are to marry at the direction of family elders. When this custom is violated, especially across ethnic lines, violence against the couple may result, and the authorities generally fail to prosecute such cases..

Although a small number of women study and teach in universities, postgraduate employment opportunities for women largely remain limited to teaching, medical services, and the law. Nevertheless an increasing number of women are entering the commercial and public sectors.

Women’s organizations operate primarily in urban centers. Many concentrate on educating women about existing legal rights. Other groups concentrate on providing legal aid to poor women in prison who may not be able to afford an attorney.

In 2001 an amendment ordinance to the citizenship law was issued which enabled women married to foreigners to claim citizenship for their children”.

CHILDREN

PAKISTAN

“The Government does not demonstrate a strong commitment to children’s rights and welfare. There is no federal law on compulsory education, and neither the federal nor provincial governments provide sufficient resources to assure universal education. The education system is in disarray, with studies showing that only 65 to 70 percent of children under the age of 12 are enrolled in school, less than half of whom actually complete primary school. A reported 10,000 schools have closed in recent years due to a lack of teachers. Even those children who go to school are not assured of being able to read and write.

According to UNICEF figures in 2001, a nationwide sample of children in grade five revealed that only 33 percent could read with comprehension, while a mere 17 percent were able to write a simple letter. Development experts point to a number of factors for the poor state of public education, including the low percentage of gross national product devoted to education and inefficient and corrupt federal and provincial bureaucracies. Those fortunate enough to pursue higher education often face inordinate delays in receiving the results of final exams.

Information about progress in educating girls was contradictory. A survey in 2001 found that the enrollment rate for girls under age 12 was 65 percent, which was less than that of boys (75 percent), but considerably higher than the 1990 figure of 50 percent. Since official government figures count at most 1.5 million school-age children in public and private schools and madrassahs in Karachi (of an estimated 4 million or more between the ages of 5 and 14), enrollment figures of 65 and 75 percent are difficult to substantiate.

The female literacy rate has doubled during the past two decades, although, at roughly 27 percent, it was just more than half that of males.

Education is a provincial responsibility. In previous years, comprehensive surveys were performed to identify school buildings that were being misused as well as the large numbers of teachers and administrators who were not performing their duties or even showing up for work. Administrative action against these “ghost schools” began, and the Government was better placed to ensure that its education budget was not misused.

PAKISTAN

Children sometimes are kidnaped to be used as forced labor, for ransom, or to seek revenge against an enemy. In July in Punjab eight girls were forced to marry significantly older men in a rival family, in exchange for commuted death sentences on members of their families. In rural areas, it is a traditional practice for poor parents to give children to rich landlords in exchange for money or land, according to human rights advocates. These children frequently are abused by these landlords and held as bonded laborers for life.

Landlords also have been known to pay impoverished parents for the “virginity” of their daughters, whom the landlords then rape. Incidents of rape are common. A UNICEF-sponsored study of Punjab found that 15 percent of girls reported having been abused sexually. Sexual abuse of boys was more common in segments of society where girls traditionally remain within the home. A local NGO found 459 boys and 615 girls who were reported to have been sexually abused in just one locality.”

SRI LANKA – WOMEN

SOUTH ASIA

“Sexual assault, rape, and spousal abuse (often associated with alcohol abuse) continued to be serious and pervasive problems. Amendments to the Penal Code introduced in 1995 specifically addressed sexual abuse and exploitation and modified rape laws to create a more equitable burden of proof and to make punishments more stringent. Marital rape is considered an offense in cases of spouses living under judicial separation, and laws govern sexual molestation and sexual harassment in the workplace. While the Penal Code may ease some of the problems faced by victims of sexual assault, many women’s organizations believe that greater sensitization of police and judicial officials is required. The Government set up the Bureau for the Protection of Children and Women within the police in 1994 to respond to calls for greater awareness and attention; however, there was no information on any actions taken by the Bureau nor on the number of crimes against women.

SRI LANKA

In the previous year, police reported 500 rape case investigations. From January 1 to October 1, the police have reported a total of 865 rape investigations in country, and 29 involve security force personnel. In 2001 there were a number of reports of security forces raping women in custody. During the year, there was one such report. There were no convictions involving security force personnel.

Although laws against procuring and trafficking were strengthened in 1995, trafficking in women for the purpose of forced labor occurs

The Constitution provides for equal employment opportunities in the public sector. However, women have no legal protection against discrimination in the private sector where they sometimes are paid less than men for equal work, often experience difficulty in rising to supervisory positions, and face sexual harassment. Women constitute approximately one-half of the formal work force.

Women have equal rights under national, civil, and criminal law. However, questions related to family law, including divorce, child custody, and inheritance, are adjudicated by the customary law of each ethnic or religious group. The minimum age of marriage for women is 18 years, except in the case of Muslims, who continue to follow their customary marriage practices.

The application of different legal practices based on membership in a religious or ethnic group often results in discrimination against women.

CHILDREN

SRI LANKA

The Government is committed to protecting the welfare and rights of children, but is constrained by a lack of resources. The Government demonstrated this commitment through its extensive systems of public education and medical care. The law requires children between the ages of 5 and 14 to attend school. Approximately 85 percent of children under the age of 16 attend school. Education is free through the university level. Health care, including immunization, also is free.

In the period from January 1 to October, the police recorded 613 cases of pedophilia, compared with 767 cases of crimes against children for January 2001 to August 2001. Many NGOs attribute the problem of exploitation of children to the lack of law enforcement rather than adequate legislation. Many law enforcement resources were diverted to the conflict with the LTTE, although the police’s Bureau for the Protection of Children and Women conducts investigations into crimes against these two groups. In September the police opened an office to work directly with the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) on children’s issues to support NCPA investigations into crimes against children.

Under the law, the definition of child abuse includes all acts of sexual violence against, trafficking in, and cruelty to children. The law also prohibits the use of children in exploitative labor or illegal activities or in any act contrary to education regulations. The legislation further widened the definition of child abuse to include the involvement of children in war. The NCPA is comprised of representatives from the education, medical, retired police, and legal professions; it reports directly to the President.

The Government has pushed for greater international cooperation to bring those guilty of pedophilia to justice. The penalty for pedophilia is not less than 5 years and up to 20 years as well as an unspecified fine. Four cases of pedophilia were brought to court in 2000, one involving a foreigner. Two cases were brought to court during the year; however, in both cases the accused fled the country. There were few reported arrests for pedophilia during the year, but no convictions. Child prostitution is a problem in certain coastal resort areas. The Government estimates that there are more than 2,000 active child prostitutes in the country, private groups claim that the number is much higher. The bulk of child sexual abuse in the form of child prostitution is committed by citizens; however, some child prostitutes are boys who cater to foreign tourists. Some of these children are forced into prostitution …”

ECUADOR – WOMEN

WESTERN HEMISPHERE

“Although the law prohibits violence against women, including within marriage, abuses were widespread. The Law Against Violence Affecting Women and Children criminalized spousal abuse, including physical, sexual, and psychological abuse; created family courts; and reformed the Penal Code to give courts the power to remove an abusive spouse from the home. The law also gives legal support to the Government’s Women’s Bureau in cases of sexual harassment in the workplace.

The Office of Gender, in the Ministry of Government, reported 50,794 cases of sexual, psychological, or physical mistreatment of women in 2000. Women may file complaints against a rapist or an abusive spouse or companion only if they produce a witness. Some communities have established their own centers for counseling and legal support of abused women. The Government addressed such problems through its Women’s Bureau; however, although the Bureau can accept complaints about abuse of women, it has no authority to act on the complaints but refers cases to the prosecutor’s office. The Women’s Bureau has projects in all provinces.

ECUADOR

Many rapes were not reported due to the victims’ reluctance to confront the perpetrators. The penalty for rape is up to 25 years in prison. In cases of statutory rape involving “amorous” sex with a minor, if the rapist marries the victim the charges against him, or anyone else who took part in the rape, cannot be pursued unless the marriage subsequently is annulled. In 2001 Congress increased the penalty for rape where death occurred to 35 years in prison.

Sexual harassment in the workplace is common. Typical cases of sexual harassment reported in the press involved instances where a supervisor solicited sexual favors from an employee.

Regulated adult prostitution is legal so long as the businesses are registered with the Government and follow health regulations.

Discrimination against women is pervasive in society, particularly with respect to educational and economic opportunities for those in the lower economic strata. The increasingly active women s movement alleged that culture and tradition inhibited achievement of full equality for women. There were fewer women than men employed in professional work and skilled trades, and pay discrimination against women is common.

The Ecuadorian Women’s Permanent National Forum includes more than 320 women s organizations and promotes social, economic, and cultural change through various methods, including increasing political participation by women. In addition, the National Women’s Council provides support for approximately 500 women’s organizations, many of whom promote social consciousness and greater participation by women in the political process. The Women’s Political Coordinator, an NGO that operated in 22 provinces, promoted similar themes relating to women’s rights, with emphasis on political participation and human rights. It focuses on young Ecuadorian women.”

CHILDREN

ECUADOR

“The Government did not take effective steps to provide for the welfare of children. The Constitution requires that children achieve “a basic level of education,” estimated at 9 years of school; however, due to the lack of schools in many rural communities, the Government’s failure to provide adequate resources, and the economic needs of families, the Government rarely enforced this requirement in practice. The National Statistics Institute reported in 2001 that 1 out of 6 citizens between the ages of 13 and 20 had not completed the sixth grade. Education is free. The Constitution provides that 30 percent of the public budget must be devoted to education; however, in practice only half of that amount was spent. The Government has programs in 18 urban areas that provide families with educational subsidies as an incentive to keep children in school. In rural areas, many children attend school only sporadically after age 10, to be able to contribute to household income as farm laborers

There is no societal pattern of abuse against children. Child prostitution is a problem

Government resources to assist children traditionally have been limited. Approximately 61 percent of children under the age of 5 years are malnourished. After declining in previous years, it appeared that Government spending on education slightly increased during this year.

More than 20 NGOs promote child welfare. Several private organizations are very active in programs to assist street children, and UNICEF also ran a program in conjunction with the Central Bank. The children of the poor often experienced severe hardships, especially in urban areas.”

PANAMA – WOMEN

WESTERN HEMISPHERE

“Domestic violence against women continued to be a serious problem. The 1995 Family Cod criminalized family violence (including psychological, physical, or sexual abuse), but convictions were rare unless a death occurred. In September 2001, the code was revised to strengthen the penalties for domestic violence and to include penalties for domestic sexual assault. The PTJ registered 1,801 cases of domestic violence during the year, compared with 673 during 2001. As of November, the PTJ also received 506 cases of rape and 99 cases of attempted rape during the year, compared with 395 cases of rape and 82 cases of attempted rape in all of 2001. The Center for Women’s Development estimated that victims reported as few as 20 percent of sexual assaults to judicial or law enforcement authorities Spouses or other family members frequently were the perpetrators. The Foundation for the Promotion of the Woman, among other women’s advocacy groups and government agencies, operated programs to assist victims of abuse and to educate women on their legal rights.

PANAMA

Trafficking in women was a problem (see Section 6.f.).

The Labor Code prohibits sexual harassment; however, it remained a problem. Anecdotal evidence suggested that many women were propositioned for sexual favors at the time of their initial job interview.

The 1995 Family Code recognizes joint or common property in marriages. However, insufficient resources hampered government efforts to enforce the code’s provisions effectively. According to a Supreme Court justice, 80 family judges were required to handle this caseload; however, only 20 had been appointed due to lack of resources.

The Constitution mandates equal pay for men and women in equivalent jobs, but wages paid to women were on average 30 to 35 percent lower and increased at a slower rate. There were credible reports of irregular hiring practices based upon age and “appearance.” A 1998 law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex.

The Ministry of Women, Youth, Family, and Childhood was largely a consolidation of departments previously operating in other government ministries, and its activities did not attract a great deal of public attention. Through the National Directorate of Women and the Center for Gender Training, the Ministry promoted equality of women in the workplace and equal pay for equal work, attempted to reduce sexual harassment, and advocated legal reforms. A number of private women’s rights groups concentrated on disseminating information about women’s rights, countering domestic abuse, enhancing employment and other skills, and pressing for legal reforms.”

CHILDREN

PANAMA

“Minors (under 18 years of age) represented 37. percent of the population. Education is compulsory through the equivalent of 9th grade, but children do not always attend school due to traditional attitudes, financial considerations of the family, lack of transportation, and insufficient government resources to enforce the requirement. The problem was most extreme in Darien Province and among indigenous groups. The Government furnishes basic health care for children through local clinics run by the Ministry of Health, but clinics are difficult to reach from rural areas and often lack medicine. A central children’s hospital in Panama City operates with government funds as well as private donations.

The Ministry of Women, Youth, Family, and Childhood concentrated on child welfare problems such as children begging in the streets and roaming cities at night, infant and child malnutrition, and juvenile delinquency and gangs. The Ministry also sponsored a youth conference that attracted several thousand participants. A U.N. Development Program report showed that despite a relatively high proportion of public spending devoted to social programs, poor results on human development indicators suggested that the funds were not used efficiently.

The Superior Tribunal for Minors and Superior Tribunal for Families are judicial authorities charged with overseeing the protection and care of minors. The Minister of Women, Youth, Family, and Childhood acts much like an ombudsman, and the office proposes and reviewes laws and monitores government performance. Through November the PTJ registered 224 cases of child abuse, compared with 102 through September 2001. Neglect of children is a problem. Malnutrition and inadequate medical care are generalized problems, most severe among rural indigenous groups. Child labor and trafficking in children are problems”

CZECH REPUBLIC – WOMEN

EUROPE

“The actual extent of violence against women is unknown; however, some experts’ studies indicate that it is more common than publicly acknowledged. ROSA, an NGO that provides direct assistance to victims of domestic abuse, estimates that 1 in 10 women in domestic situations were emotionally or physically abused and that 30 percent of the abusers were university-educated. A 1998 study conducted by Prague’s Institute for the Study of Human Sexual Behavior indicated that 13 percent of women were raped at some point in their life. The study found that spouses and domestic partners were responsible for 51 percent of rapes, acquaintances committed an additional 37 percent of the rapes, and strangers attacked 12 percent of rape victims.

CZECH REPUBLIC

According to police statistics, there were 500 rapes reported countrywide in 2000. According to the Ministry of Justice, there were 140 convictions for rape throughout the country in 2001.. Institute researchers and NGOs estimated that approximately 3.3 to 7 percent of rape victims filed reports with the police. According to experts, both rape and domestic violence are greatly underreported.

There is no legislation specifically addressing spousal abuse; however, the Criminal Code covers other forms of domestic violence. An attack is considered criminal if the victim’s condition warrants medical treatment for 7 days or more and causes the victim to miss work. If medical treatment is necessary for less than 7 days, the attack was classified as a misdemeanor and punished by a fine of approximately one-fourth of the average monthly wage. Repeated attacks do not result in stricter sanctions.

Gender studies experts report that women were ashamed to report or even speak about rape, and that police are neither appropriately trained nor behave in a helpful manner toward rape victims. The Ministry of the Interior did run a training program in protocols for investigating family violence and sexual offenses in order to improve police responsiveness and prosecution efforts.

The police also trained some specialized personnel to handle cases of domestic violence. Training materials to help police officers improve the identification and investigation of domestic violence and sexual abuse cases and to help sensitize them in the treatment of victims of abuse were introduced into both the introductory and continuing education curriculums.

The Government maintained a comprehensive awareness and prevention program designed to address problems of trafficking, abuse, and violence against women.

CZECH REPUBLIC

Elektra is a crisis center for abused women where rape victims can seek psychological counseling through a number of hotlines. Victims are provided free psychiatric and legal counseling. Riaps is a hotline that counsels persons who have suffered some form of abuse. According to NGOs, there are 107 state-supported shelters located in most major cities and towns which take in women who have been raped or abused; NGOs also provide medical and social assistance to women. According to NGOs, there are not enough shelter places available…

Public debate about violence against women is rare, despite the efforts of women’s groups. The press occasionally reports on the problems of violence against women and trafficking in prostitutes Pimping is illegal; prostitution is not, although local communities have the right to regulate prostitution and enforce restrictions on it. The Interior Ministry estimates that up to 25,000 persons work in the sex industry during the year. Prostitution and sex shops are prevalent in the regions bordering Germany and Austria. ..The law prohibits forcing persons into prostitution; but trafficking in women is a problem

Sexual harassment is a recognized problem, and the labor law contains a definition of, and prohibition against sexual harassment. The law defines sexual harassment as unwanted, inappropriate, or offensive sexual behavior, affecting his or her status in the workplace. The law prohibits sexual harassment, but studies concluded that approximately one-half of all women have experienced it.

Women are equal under the law, and in principle women enjoy equal property, inheritance, and other rights with men. By law women receive equal pay for equal work. Although women constitute roughly half of the labor force, they are employed disproportionately in professions with a lower salary than men. Women’s median wages lagged behind those of men by approximately 20 percent. The law bans discrimination based on gender; however, in practice employers remain free to consider gender, age, or attractiveness when making hiring decisions. Amendments to the law in 1999 and 2000 explicitly prohibit employment discrimination based on a variety of factors including gender, race, skin color, sexual orientation, language, religion, health and family status. Repeated offenses are punishable by fines of up to $33,333 (1 million Czech crowns).”

KAZAKHSTAN – WOMEN

EUROPE

“Violence against women, including domestic violence, is a problem. In June a MVD (Ministry of Internal Affairs) survey said that 52 percent of women had reported some form of domestic abuse, with the highest incidence in rural areas. The MVD further stated that only 30 percent of domestic violence cases were prosecuted. A September press report indicated that on average 160 women died annually as a result of domestic violence. In February the head of the National Commission on Women reported that 28,000 crimes were committed against women in 2001 and that the majority of victims of violent crime were women. NGO activists and prison officials stated that domestic violence was a significant factor in the majority of cases of women serving sentences for murder.

KAZAKHSTAN

There was no specific law on domestic violence; however, it could be addressed under assault and battery provisions of the Criminal Code. The maximum sentence for wife beating was 10 years in prison, the same as for any beating. The punishment for rape ranged from 3 to 15 years imprisonment. There was no information on the percentage of crimes against women that were prosecuted successfully. Police often were reluctant to intervene in domestic disputes, considering them to be the family’s business, unless they believed that the abuse was life threatening. Under the Criminal Procedure Code, prosecutors could not initiate a rape case, absent aggravating circumstances such as gang rape, unless the victim filed a complaint. There were unconfirmed reports that prosecutors sometimes interpreted this provision to require rape victims to pay for forensic testing, pay the expenses of prosecution, and prosecute rape cases personally. Police also could not detain a suspect legally for more than 72 hours unless the victi m provided a written complaint, which women often refused to do.

One Almaty crisis center (there were three, two of which operated shelters) reported that it received 100-150 calls from women per month for domestic violence, and that a very small percentage followed through with charges. Another Almaty crisis center reported 1,800 calls from women in the first 10 months of the year, 9 of which were to report a rape. When victims did decide to press charges for domestic violence or rape, police often tried to persuade them not to pursue it. In one such incident, a police officer was disciplined.

There are domestic violence units within the Almaty and Astana police departments, which cooperate with the crisis centers. When domestic violence cases did come to trial, the charge is most often for light beating, the penalties for which include fines of up to $535 (82,300 tenge) or 3 months’ imprisonment. In approximately 30 cases during the year, the conviction of a husband resulted in a divorce. The National Statistics Agency reported 948 rapes and 138 attempted rapes in 2001. There was very little reporting on rape in the press.

Prostitution is not prohibited by law; however, forced prostitution or prostitution connected to organized crime is illegal. Prostitution is a serious problem. Trafficking in women is a serious problem

The Criminal Code and the Labor Code prohibit only some forms of sexual harassment, and legal and gender-issue experts regard the legislation as inadequate to address the problem. There are reports of sexual harassment, but none of those reports constituted situations where victims were protected under the law. Prosecutors, law enforcement agencies, and victims are generally not aware of the problem, and there are no reports of any cases being prosecuted.

KAZAKHSTAN

There is no legal discrimination against women, but traditional cultural practices limit their role in society and in owning and managing businesses or property. The President and other members of the Government spoke in favor of women’s rights, and the official state policy held that constitutional prohibitions on sex discrimination must be supported by effective government measures; however, women are underrepresented severely in senior positions in state enterprises and overrepresented in low-paying and some menial jobs. The head of the National Commission on Women noted that women’s salaries were, on average, 62 percent that of men’s. Women have unrestricted access to higher education.

There were approximately 150 women’s rights organizations registered in the country, 15 of which are active in Almaty. These included the Feminist League, Women of the East, the Almaty Women’s Information Center, and the Businesswomen’s Association.”

CHILDREN “The Government is committed to children’s rights and a new Children’s Rights Law was enacted in August; however, budget limitations and other priorities severely limited the Government’s effectiveness …. Primary and secondary education is both free and universal. The law provided for equal access to education by both boys and girls…Trafficking in girls was a problem…”

RUSSIA – WOMEN

EUROPE

“Domestic violence remains a major problem, and victims rarely have recourse to protection from the authorities. Police are reluctant and sometimes unwilling to intervene in what they regarded as purely domestic disputes. Many women are deterred from reporting such crimes, not only because of social and family pressure but also because the tight housing market makes it difficult either to find housing outside the family dwelling or to expel an abusive spouse, even after a final divorce action. Much of society, including some leaders in the human rights community, do not acknowledge domestic violence as a problem or do not believe that it is an area for concern outside of the family. No reliable statistics exist to permit evaluation of the true extent of the problem nationwide, and individual jurisdictions van in their statistical methodology. There is a general lack of understanding of these problems in the legal community, and there is no legal definition of domestic violence. Some forms of battering are add ressed in the Criminal Code but are defined too narrowly.. There also is no national political will to consider these problems seriously. Several NGOs express serious concern about guidance provided to the new justices of peace–to whom most such cases are expected to be referred– instructing the justices to reconcile the battered and the batterer and return the victim to the home as soon as possible.

In November 2001, an MVD official estimated that on average there were more than 250,000 violent crimes against women annually; however, government officials and NGOs agreed that such crimes usually are not reported. From January through mid-November 2001, police recorded more than 7,000 rapes (in 2000, 7,900 rape cases were registered for the year), and 6,300 other sexually related crimes.

The Government provides no support services to victims of rape or other sexual violence; however, victims can act as full legal parties to criminal cases brought against alleged assailants and can seek legal compensation as part of the verdict. Hospitals, crisis centers, and members of the medical profession provide assistance to women who are assaulted; however, to avoid spending a long time in court, some doctors are reluctant to ascertain details of a sexual assault or collect physical evidence.

Prostitution is not a crime, although a 2001 revision of the Administrative Code made prostitution and pimping administrative violations subject to fines calculated in multiples of weekly minimum wages. Prostitution carries a penalty of 5 times the minimum wage, or roughly $100 (3,000 rubles). Trafficking of women for sexual exploitation or forced labor is a serious problem

RUSSIA

Despite serious difficulties, many groups continue to address violence against women. NGOs, alone or in cooperation with local governments, operate more than 55 women’s crisis centers throughout the country, and they continue to grow. In addition, the crisis centers have formed an association to coordinate their efforts better. Several NGOs provide training on combating trafficking to police, procurators, justices of the peace, and others in government.

Women report sexual harassment in the workplace, and anecdotal information suggests that many potential employers seek female employees who are receptive to sexual relations. The Constitution states that men and women have equal rights and opportunities to pursue those rights. The new Labor Code retains from the previous Code prohibitions against discrimination, stating that every person has the right to equal pay for equal work; however, the phrase, “without complexes,” is used occasionally in job advertisements. Some firms ask applicants for employment to complete a form including the abbreviation “VBO,” a Russian-language abbreviation for “possibility of close relations,” to which the applicant is expected to reply “yes” or “no.” There is no law that prohibits sexual harassment, and women have no recourse when sexually harassed.

RUSSIA

Job advertisements often specify sex and age groups and sometimes physical appearance as well. Credible evidence suggests that women encounter considerable discrimination in employment. NGOs continue to accuse the Government of condoning discrimination against women, contending that the Government seldom enforces employment laws concerning women. Employers prefer to hire men, thereby saving on maternity and childcare costs and avoiding the perceived unreliability of hiring women. Employers also try to avoid the entitlement to a 3-year maternity leave and childcare.

Moscow human resources managers privately admit that discrimination against women in hiring is common. There also is a trend toward firing women rather than men when employees are laid off. Women are subject to age-based discrimination. While no official statistics are available, government officials estimate that of the 7.5 percent unemployed at least 70 percent are women. Women continue to report cases of being paid less for the same work than male colleagues. According to a 2001 report by the International Labor Organization (ILO), women account for about 47 percent of the working-age population but on average earn only two-thirds of the salaries of their male counterparts.”

COPYRIGHT 2003 Women’s International Network

COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group