RECENT MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

2008, 2009

 

A.  Reproductive Health and Rights (including Family Planning)

            Colombia

            Djibouti

            El Salvador

            Mexico

           

B.  Population Policy

            Singapore

 

C.   Abortion

      Australia (Victoria)

      Mexico

      Paraguay

 

D.  HIV/AIDS

            Burkina Faso

            Djibouti

            Fiji

            Singapore

 

E.  Women’s Human Rights

            Brazil

            China (Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong)

            China (Special Administrative Region of Macau)

            Costa Rica

            Fiji

            Nicaragua

            Singapore

 

F.  Violence against Women

            China (Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong)

Colombia

            Guatemala

            Korea, Republic of

            Mexico

            Panama          

            Portugal

            San Marino

 

G.  Trafficking

            Argentina

            Burkina Faso

            China (Special Administrative Region of Macau)

            Uruguay

 

H.  Constitutions

            Bhutan

            Ecuador

 

I.  Safe Motherhood

            El Salvador

 

 

A.  Reproductive Rights and Family Planning

 

COLOMBIA

 

On 3 March 2008 the Ministry of Social Protection issued Resolution No. 00769 which implements Technical Regulations for Family Planning Care for Men and Women in the National Health Plan.  The Regulations establish cost-effective activities, procedures, and interventions that must be included in the National Health Plan and set forth the health personnel responsible for them.  Among other things, they describe the information, education, and counseling relating to contraceptives and the administration of each method that are to be provided to single persons and couples who wish to decide freely and responsibly on whether to have children.  Approved methods include sterilization, IUDs, condoms, hormonal implants, oral contraceptives, diaphragms, injectables, and emergency contraception.  The Regulations state that beneficiaries have rights to information, freedom of choice, privacy, safety, equality, and the highest level of health care, as well as informed consent.  Particular attention is paid to the distribution of condoms to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS.

 

http://www.alcaldiabogota.gov.co/sisjur/normas/Norma1.jsp?i=29225

 

DJIBOUTI

 

On 22 March 2008 Djibouti adopted a National Health Development Plan for 2008-2012 to provide guidance on priority health activities for health authorities for the five-year period.  Among other things, the Plan contains important provisions on reproductive health, maternal-child health, and HIV/AIDS.  General objectives of the Plan include reducing maternal-child mortality and the prevalence of HIV/AIDS.  More specifically the Plan aims at: a) raising contraceptive use from 17% to 30%; b) increasing the rate of prenatal consultations from 7% to 35%; c) raising the rate of births attended by qualified personnel to 93%; d) raising the rate of breast-feeding to the age of 6 months from 1.3% to 40%; e) reducing the prevalence of female genital mutilation from 50% to 40%; f) raising the rate of knowledge about means of prevention of HIV/AIDS in the  population between ages 15 and 49 from 17.9% to 30%; g) raising the rate of infants treated with ARVs from 3 to 10%; h) increasing the number of yearly HIV tests from 6,000 to 10,000; and i) raising the rate of seropositive pregnant women receiving treatment to prevent maternal-child HIV transmission from 55 to 80%.

 

Numerous strategies are proposed the reach these objectives.  In the area of reproductive health, strategies include the following:  adopting a law on reproductive health; strengthening family planning services and the availability of contraceptives; improving obstetrical services; developing activities to prevent and treat abortions; establishing measures to prevent violence against women and FGM and to treat the victims; and strengthening the provision of contraceptives at the community level.  The Plan stresses responding to the needs of adolescents with respect to reproductive and sexual health and HIV/AIDS and formulating informational and educational materials on reproductive and sexual health for youth at the family level.  In the area of HIV/AIDS, strategies include strengthening prevention activities for HIV/AIDS through education, blood and hospital safety, and the promotion of condoms; increasing access to and counseling on ARVS; and improving care for persons suffering from HIV/AIDS.  Further provisions of the Plan set forth timetables for implementing the Plan and discuss financing and evaluation, among other things.

 

http://www.presidence.dj/jo/2008/PNDS_2008-2012.doc

 

EL SALVADOR

 

On 19 August 2008 El Salvador approved Accord No. 788, which approves the National Health Policy of El Salvador.  The Policy has the objective of providing strategic guidance to the institutions that form part of the National Health System in order to promote and coordinate concrete actions for the implementation of interventions to achieve the highest indicators of health and greater human development for the population.  One of the underlying principles of the Policy is a focus on gender, which recognizes the biological and social differences between, and particular situations of, men and women in terms of the necessities and problems of health applied to health planning, execution, and oversight in order to bring about equity and equality.  In the area of reproductive health the Policy calls for the following: a) implementation of a national program of safe motherhood by strengthening family planning, prenatal care, attention to childbirth and the newborn, postnatal care, care for obstetric emergencies, and nutrition for pregnant women; b) strengthening health services so as to minimize the damage due to sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS; and c) developing strategies and programs to guarantee care for sexual and reproductive health with a focus on gender and rights and risks.  Further provisions of the Policy deal with other activities to be undertaken, a health analysis of the country, oversight and evaluation, and responsible agencies, among other things.

 

http://www.mspas.gob.sv/pdf/documentos_SNS/Politica_nacional_de_salud.pdf

 

MEXICO

 

On 28 August 2008 Mexico approved the National Program on Human Rights.  The Program is the designed by the Government to be the instrument through which the Federal Administration will promote and defend human rights.  It is based on the principles of non-discrimination and the inclusion of perspectives of equality, equity, and gender.  In the area reproductive health the Program calls for the following: a) guaranteeing the prohibition of requiring certificates of non-pregnancy for employment; b) expanding health programs for pregnant and breastfeeding women; c) adopting a strategy of including in health services effective access to abortion services and a wide range of contraceptives, including emergency contraception; d) expanding coverage for reproductive health services and family planning and eliminating obstacles to women’s access to coverage; e) guaranteeing access to sex education and reproductive health services with special attention given to children, adolescents, and rural women; and f) promoting dialogue and education on sexual and reproductive rights.  Further provisions of the Program deal with the following, among other things: discrimination against women, pay equity, improvement of health services for women, violence against women, trafficking, HIV/AIDS, and prostitution, pornography, and sexual exploitation, including that involving minors.

 

http://www.derechoshumanos.gob.mx/archivos/anexos/PROGRAMA_NACIONAL_DE_DERECHOS_HUMANOS_2008-2012.pdf

 

 

B.  Population Policy

 

SINGAPORE

 

On 21 October 2008 Singapore amended the Children Development C-Savings Act, which is an Act designed to encourage married couples to have more children.  The amending Act does the following, among other things:  (a) enhances maternity protection and benefits; (b) introduces paid childcare leave for an employee who is a parent of a qualifying child; (c) provides for the Government to reimburse a self-employed person who has lost income due to his ceasing to be actively engaged in his trade, business, profession or vocation for childcare purposes; (d) introduces unpaid infant care leave for an employee who is a parent of a qualifying child; (e) extends maternity benefits and protection to a female employee or self-employed woman who has 4 or more other living children at the time of her confinement; and (f) extends the period of reimbursement by the Government for these benefits.

 

http://statutes.agc.gov.sg/non_version/cgi-bin/cgi_retrieve.pl?actno=REVED-38A&doctitle=CHILDREN%20DEVELOPMENT%20CO-SAVINGS%20ACT%0A&date=latest&method=part. (Consolidated law)

 

 

C.  Abortion

 

AUSTRALIA (VICTORIA)

 

On  22 October 2008 the Australian State of Victoria enacted legislation to allow abortions to be performed without limitation by a registered medical practitioner within the first 24 weeks of pregnancy.  After 24 weeks of pregnancy, the abortion may be performed only if the registered medical practitioner a) reasonably believes that the abortion is appropriate in all the circumstances; and b) has consulted at least one other registered medical practitioner who also reasonably believes that the abortion is appropriate in all the circumstances. In considering whether the abortion is appropriate in all the circumstances, a registered medical practitioner must have regard to—a) all relevant medical circumstances; and b) the woman's current and future physical, psychological and social circumstances. If drugs are used to perform the abortion, they may be administered by a registered pharmacist or registered nurse.  Previously the performance of abortions was governed by case law under which an abortion was allowed if necessary to preserve the woman from a serious danger to her life or her physical or mental health.

 

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/num_act/alra200858o2008255/

 

MEXICO

 

On 28 August 2008 Mexico’s Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the abortion Law of the Federal District of Mexico.  The Law, which was enacted in 2007, is the most liberal in Mexico where abortion is regulated at the state level.  It allows abortions to be performed on request during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy and requires that they be provided free-of-charge in public health facilities.  In its decision the Court rejected the argument of opponents that the Mexican Constitution guarantees a right to life from conception.  It ruled that the Congress of the Federal District had authority to determine crimes and penalties within its jurisdiction.  Eight justices of the Court voted to uphold the Law, while three voted against its constitutionality. 

 

PARAGUAY

 

On 16 July 2008 Paraguay amended its Penal Code to rewrite its abortion provisions.  The new provisions make clear that abortion is prohibited except when necessary to protect the life of the pregnant women.  Previously certain provisions of the Code stated that an abortion could also be performed to protect the health of the pregnant woman from serious injury.  The Law also amends the Penal Code to do the following, among other things: a) increase the penalty imposed on a person who removes a child from the country by force or deceit for purposes that threaten its life or physical integrity; b) enlarge the definition of certain sexual acts; c) create the crimes of trafficking for sexual exploitation and labor exploitation; d) enlarge the scope of acts that will be considered to constitute the mistreatment of minors and increase the penalties imposed on persons who commit such acts; e) create offenses relating to child pornography; and f) enlarge the definition of domestic violence to include psychological injury and increase the penalties imposed on persons who commit acts of domestic violence.

 

http://www.senado.gov.py/leyes/ups/leyes/6052ley%203440-2008.doc

 

 

D.  HIV/AIDS

 

BURKINA FASO

 

On 19 June 2008 Burkina Faso enacted Law No. 030-2008 on the fight against HIV/AIDS and the protection of persons living with HIV/AIDS.  The Law provides the following, among other things: a) all persons living with HIV are required to announce their status to their spouse or sexual partner, with the psychosocial support of care givers; b) testing may not be carried out without consent and pre- and post-test counselling; c) all persons infected with HIV are required to abstain from unprotected sexual relations; d) health centers may not accept blood, organs, or tissues that have not been tested for HIV; e) all persons suffering from a sexually transmitted disease or HIV are to enjoy their civil, political, and social rights without discrimination;  f) all persons living with HIV/AIDS are to receive medical care; g) all persons are guaranteed confidentiality with respect to HIV status and testing, except under narrow circumstances; h) and required testing for employment, education, housing, medical care, travel, or access to banking or other services is prohibited.  The Law imposes penalties on HIV-infected persons who knowingly have unprotected sexual relations with a person who is unaware of their status, on persons who engage in prohibited discrimination, and on persons who violate the confidentiality of HIV-infected persons.  Further provisions of the Law deal with following, among other things: the obligations of the State with respect to information and education, precautions to be adopted by health professionals and institutions to prevent infection, and research.

http://www.legiburkina.bf/jo/jo2008/no_26/Décret_PM_2008_00333.htm  

DJIBOUTI

On 24 July 2008 Djibouti adopted Decree No. 2008-0182, which establishes rules for voluntary HIV/AIDS testing in Djibouti.  Testing is defined as a means for all persons to ascertain whether they are infected with HIV or not so that they can take responsibility for behaviour that may risk infection with HIV. Testing is based on the following principles: a) voluntarism and individual responsibility; b) the availability of testing services throughout the country; c) the provision of free testing; d) the maintenance of confidentiality; e) the provision of support and counseling; and f) the provision of testing carried out by trained personnel. Before a person is tested for HIV, his or her free and informed consent must be obtained and counseling must be provided.  A person may not be tested as a condition for

receiving a benefit such as travel documents or employment, although donated blood, tissues, and organs may be tested.  A minor between the ages of 15 and 17 may provide informed consent if considered mature enough to make that decision.  Persons over the age of 18 may give their own consent.  Further provisions of the Decree deal with the quality of services, the testing of children and prisoners, and the creation of testing sites, among other things.

 

http://www.presidence.dj/jo/2008/decr0182pr08.php

 

FIJI

 

In 2008 Fiji issued the National Code of Practice for HIV/AIDS in the Workplace.  This Code of Practice is designed to advise employers and workers of acceptable preventive action for averting occupational deaths, injuries and related diseases from HIV/AIDS in the workplace, whilst respecting the fundamental principles and rights at work.  The guidelines included in the Code cover the following key areas: (a) prevention of HIV/AIDS; (b) minimisation of the risk of infection resulting from work-related exposure to HIV; (c) management and mitigation of the impact of HIV/AIDS on workplaces; (d) care and support of workers infected and affected by HIV/AIDS; (e) elimination of stigma and discrimination on the basis of real or perceived HIV status; and (f) assisting workplaces to respond appropriately and effectively to HIV/AIDS related workplace incidents.  Among other things, the Code requires the adoption of universal precautions with respect to blood and medical waste, requires immediate treatment to exposure, mandates voluntary testing with informed consent and counseling, prohibits testing as a requirement for employment and insurance and social security schemes, requires provision of education and information on HIV/AIDS, and prohibits discrimination against sero-positive employees

 

http://www.labour.gov.fj/ER%20Promulgation%202008/Final%20Regs/Code%20Of%20Practice%20-%20HIV%20&%20AIDS%20In%20The%20Workplace%202008.pdf

 

SINGAPORE

 

On 22 April 2008 Singapore amended its Infectious Diseases Act to give the Government added powers to protect the public from the spread of infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS.  Among other things, the amended Act redefines criminal acts involving the spread of HIV. It provides that a person who knows that he has HIV/AIDS shall not engage in any sexual activity with another person unless, before the sexual activity takes place —a) he has informed that other person of the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS from him; and b) that other person has voluntarily agreed to accept that risk.  It also states that a person who does not know that he has HIV/AIDS, but who has reason to believe that he has, or has been exposed to a significant risk of contracting, HIV/AIDS shall not engage in any sexual activity with another person unless — a) he informs that other person of the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS from him and that other person voluntarily agrees to accept that risk; b) he has undergone the necessary serological or other test and has ascertained that he does not have HIV/AIDS at the time of the sexual activity; or c) he takes reasonable precautions to ensure that he does not expose that other person to the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS.  In addition the amended Act increases from 2 to 10 years the maximum imprisonment that may be imposed on any person who knows that he has HIV/AIDS and — a) donates blood at any blood bank in Singapore; or b) does any act which is likely to transmit or spread HIV/AIDS to another person.  The Act allows for the disclosure of the identity of a person who has HIV/AIDS or who is suffering from an STD when it is necessary to do so in connection with the provision of information to a police officer under the Criminal Procedure Code.  It increases the penalty for unauthorized disclosure of HIV/AIDS/STD status.

 

http://www.parliament.gov.sg/Publications/080005.pdf

 

 

E. Women’s Rights

 

BRAZIL

 

On 5 March 2008 Brazil issued Decree No. 6387, which approves the Second National Plan of Policies for Women for the years 2008-2011.  The Plan is described as the “unequivocal expression of the Government’s promise of equality and justice for all persons.”  It is guided by the following principles: equality and respect for diversity; equity; women’s autonomy; secular respect; universality; social justice; transparency of public actions; and the participation of and control by women.  The Plan is divided into the following parts: 1) economic autonomy and equality in the labor force; 2) inclusive nonsexist and nonracist education; 3) women’s health and sexual and reproductive rights; 4) confronting all forms of violence against women; 5) the participation of women in positions of power and decision-making; 6) sustainable development in rural areas; 7) the right to land; 8) equal, democratic, and non-discriminatory culture, communication, and media; 9) confronting of sexism, racism, and homophobia; and 10) confronting generational inequality. 

 

In the area of health, the objectives of the Plan are to guarantee sexual and reproductive rights in all phases of life without discrimination; to contribute to the reduction of morbidity and mortality in women in all phases of life without discrimination; and to expand and humanize integral health care for women within the health system.  Specific goals include reducing maternal mortality by 15%, guaranteeing reversible contraceptive methods to all women in all health centers, providing services to all indigenous women, increasing tests to detect cervical cancer by 60%, increasing mammography by 15%, and promoting in all states the Plan to deal with sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS in women.  Among the Plan’s priorities are gynaecological diseases, family planning that respects sexual and reproductive rights, attention to unsafe abortion, cancer, sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS, gender-based mental health care, and sexual and reproductive rights.  The Plan sets forth detailed activities that will be undertaken with target dates with respect to all priorities.  . 

 

http://bvsms.saude.gov.br/bvs/publicacoes/II_PNPM.pdf

 

CHINA, SPECIAL ADMINISRTRATIVE REGION OF HONG KONG

 

In 2008 the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong, China, enacted two ordinances to eliminate discrimination against women and other groups.  The first amends the Domicile Ordinance to change provisions that gave preference to men over women in determining the domicile of dependent children born within marriage and that made the domicile of a married woman dependent on the domicile of her husbands.  The second is the Race Discrimination Ordinance, which is designed primarily to prohibit discrimination on the basis of race.  It also amends the Sex Discrimination Ordinance to expand the reach of the Ordinance with respect to discrimination by clubs, in housing, and against contract workers and the relatives of persons, as well as sexual harassment. 

 

http://www.gld.gov.hk/cgi-bin/gld/egazette/gazettefiles.cgi?lang=e&extra=&year=2008&month=02&day=29&vol=12&no=09&gn=4&header=1&part=1&df=1&nt=s1&acurrentpage=12&agree=1&newfile=1&gaz_type=ls1

 

http://www.gld.gov.hk/cgi-bin/gld/egazette/gazettefiles.cgi?lang=e&extra=&year=2008&month=07&day=18&vol=12&no=29&gn=29&header=1&part=1&df=1&nt=s1&acurrentpage=12&agree=1&newfile=1&gaz_type=ls1

 

CHINA, SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION OF MACAU

 

On 18 August 2008 the Special Administrative Region of Macau, China, enacted a new Labor Relations Law.  The Law does the following with respect to women: a) prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, race, age, sexual orientation, national or social origin, color, civil status, language, religion, or political views; authorizes affirmative action programmes; b) grants women 56 days’ paid maternity leave; c) prohibits the termination of employment of woman during maternity leave and for three months afterward; d) prohibits assigning her tasks incompatible with her state during the same period; e) pay is to based on the principle of equal pay for equal value; and f) workers have a right to respect for their privacy, which family and sexual life and state of health.  Further provisions of the Law deal with labour protection for minors, the minimum age for the employment of minors, leave upon undergoing an abortion, and offenses and penalties, among other things.  The Law repeals Decree—Laws No. 24/89/M and 32/90/M and Law No. 8/2000.

 

http://legismac.informac.gov.mo/portuguese/shwdtl_p.asp?tpLeg=LEI&noLeg=7/2008

 

COSTA RICA

 

On 3 September 2008 Costa Rica adopted Decree No. 34729, which requires public institutions to guide their activities according to a policy of gender equity and equality and to establish objectives, goals, and guidelines to this end.  It also requires the implementation of a National Policy for Gender Equality and Equity for the years 2007-2017.  The objectives of this Policy are as follows: a) to achieve child care for all women employees; b) to remove the principal factors that create inequalities in employment between men and women; c) through education, to remove all gender stereotypes with respect to raising children, sexuality, and sexual and reproductive health that impede equality between men and women; d) through information and counseling, to allow women to exercise their rights and guarantee respect for a life without violence; e) to achieve equality between men and women in political participation and decision-making; and f) to strengthen institutions and mechanisms for the promotion of equality and equity.  Further provisions of the Decree deal with the implementation of the above measures, among other things.

 

http://www.hacienda.go.cr/centro/datos/Decreto/Decreto%2034729-PLAN-S-MEP-MTSS-La%20gaceta%20179-19Set-2008.doc

 

FIJI

 

In 2008 Fiji approved the National Policy in Sexual Harassment in the Workplace.  This Policy is designed to ensure that every working person is be able to enjoy a working environment free from all forms of harassment and discrimination, whether on the basis of ethnicity, national or social origin, religion, political affiliation, gender, or any other form of personal identity.  The operating principles of this National Policy are:  (i) to ensure that all stakeholders associated with a ‘workplace’ and the community at large are safeguarded against sexual harassment; (ii) to ensure that behaviour appropriate to promoting and ensuring a harassment-free workplace environment is characterized by mutual respect and support; (iii) to empower those persons within an organization who have insufficient power to prevent any form of harassing behaviour from occurring; and (iv) to support people who feel sexually harassed to find appropriate solutions and conversely, to provide appropriate solutions for those persons who may be accused of sexually harassing others in the workplace.  The Policy defines sexual harassment in detail, requires employers to have an internal written policy and grievance procedure on sexual harassment in the workplace, suggests other measures that an employer may adopt, and sets forth procedures for bringing a complaint or grievance under various laws, among other things.

 

http://www.labour.gov.fj/ER%20Promulgation%202008/Final%20Regs/National%20Policy%20On%20Sexual%20Harrasment%202008.pdf

 

NICARAGUA

 

On 14 February 2008 Nicaragua enacted the Law on Equal Rights and Opportunities.   The Objective of the Law is to promote equality and equity between men and women in the enjoyment of human, civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights.  The Law guarantees the incorporation of gender in all public policies and government agencies at every level, requires each government entity to create an office to deal with gender, requires statistics to be disaggregated by sex, and requires all budgets to contain resources to ensure that gender is included in all public policies.  The Law also does the following, among other things: a) guarantees equality in the exercise of the right to vote, access to courts, and positions of power and decision-making; b) requires election lists to include and equitable number of men and women; c) requires the State to provide special lines of credit for women to participate in small and micro businesses; d) requires governments to ensure the access of women to credit, goods and services, and land; e) requires employment policies and programs to include measures to ensure equal rights, and equal pay for equal work and the State to formulate a policy to prevent sexual harassment; f) authorizes the State to equalize wages and benefits for men and women in occupations in which differences have been found; g) requires government policies and plans to eliminate unequal access to education and sexist stereotypes; h) requires the development of education to prevent violence against women; i) requires the implementation of sexual and reproductive health education based on truthful, scientific, and complete information with the participation of parents; j) requires the State to guarantee that female students who become pregnant are not subjected to discrimination, mistreatment, or exclusion because of their condition; k) requires the State to establish programs and plans to provide access to men and women to health services without distinction, including reproductive and sexual health services, care for sexually transmitted diseases, and services to reduce maternal mortality; l) requires the State to promote education and integral reproductive and sexual health services with universal access for men and women and to inform adolescents on responsible sexuality; m) requires the State to develop programs for dealing with physical, psychological, and sexual violence committed against women and to provide timely and adequate services for women with pregnancy at risk; and n) requires the State to provide complete information to men and women on the exercise of responsible parenthood, as well as necessary reproductive health services for family planning.  Further provisions of the Law deal with implementation and follow-up, offenses and penalties, and government agencies responsible for carrying out provisions of the Law, including a National Equality Council, created by the Law.

 

http://legislacion.asamblea.gob.ni/Normaweb.nsf/($All)/DFACDD675534DACE0625744B0077C73F?OpenDocument

 

PORTUGAL

 

On 12 March 2008 Portugal passed Law No. 14/2008 which is designed to prevent and prohibit direct and indirect discrimination on the basis of sex in access to goods and services and to punish acts that violate the principle of equality between men and women.  It applies to public and private institutions that furnish goods and services to the public whether for remuneration or free-of-charge.  The Law proscribes discrimination in the form of acts, omissions, and contractual provisions, as well as sexual harassment.  Affirmative action is not considered discriminatory.  Nor are acts that serve to protect pregnant and nursing mothers.  The Law prohibits asking women seeking goods and services for information on pregnancy, except for the protection of their health.  It also prohibits taking into consideration costs related to pregnancy and maternity in setting insurance premiums or in determining rates for financial services. Further provisions deal with specific sanctions, proof, defenses against charges of discrimination, and procedures for bringing complaints, among other things.

 

http://dre.pt/pdf1sdip/2008/03/05100/0156101563.PDF

 

SINGAPORE

 

On 17 November Singapore amended the Administration of Muslim Law Act to do the following, among other things: a) raise the minimum age of marriage for Muslims from 16 to 18; b) require Muslim divorces taking place in Malaysia to be reported to the Syariah Court; c) empower the Court to hear claims of Muslim women for the payment of marriage expenses and to vary and rescind maintenance orders; d) authorize district courts directly to enforce Syariah court orders without prior registration; and e) authorize the Syariah Court to appoint an arbitrator when a Muslim husband does not agree to divorce by redemption.  The amendments are designed in part to discourage the divorce of Muslims and to give greater protection to Muslim women upon divorce.

 

http://statutes.agc.gov.sg/non_version/cgi-bin/cgi_retrieve.pl?actno=REVED-3&doctitle=ADMINISTRATION%20OF%20MUSLIM%20LAW%20ACT%0a&date=latest&method=part&sl=1 (consolidated law)

 

 

F.  Violence against Women

 

CHINA, SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION OF HONG KONG

 

On 18 June 2008 the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong, China, amended its Domestic Violence Ordinance to strengthen protections against domestic violence.  The amendments do the following, among other things: a) enable application for and granting of injunctions against molestation of persons by former spouses or former cohabitees of the opposite sex or by close relatives, their spouses, or close relatives of the spouses; b) authorize a court to order a perpetrator to participate in social welfare programmes; c) allow minors to apply for injunctions through third parties; d) extend the power of courts to authorize the arrest of perpetrators; e) extend the maximum validity of an injunction or order of arrest to 24 months; and f) authorize a court to suspend a custody or access order under certain circumstances.

 

http://www.gld.gov.hk/cgi-bin/gld/egazette/gazettefiles.cgi?lang=e&extra=&year=2008&month=06&day=20&vol=12&no=25&gn=17&header=1&part=1&df=1&nt=s1&acurrentpage=12&agree=1&newfile=1&gaz_type=ls1

 

COLOMBIA

 

On 23 July 2008 Colombia amended its Penal Code to strengthen provisions on sex offenses. Among other things, it increases the penalties imposed on: a) persons who engage in violent sexual acts directed against another persons and sexual acts against minors; b) persons who commit sexual acts when the victim is under the age of 14 (previously 12) or is an elderly person or suffers from diminished physical or mental abilities; c) who profit from the prostitution of others, force others into prostitution for profit, or maintain a brothel where minors are employed; d) who are involved in producing or disseminating child pornography; and e) who use forms of communication to contact minors for sexual purposes.    

 

http://web.presidencia.gov.co/leyes/2008/julio/ley123623072008.pdf 

 

GUATEMALA

 

On 9 April 2008 Guatemala approved Law No. 2008-22 which adopts the Law against the Murder of Women and Other Kinds of Violence against Women.  The objective of the Law is to guarantee the life, liberty, integrity, dignity, protection, and equality of all women, particularly when, due to their gender they are subject to discriminatory practices, physical, psychological, or economic violence, or disregard of their rights.   The Law criminalizes the murder of women within the context of an unequal power relationship between men and women when the murder occurs within the family, during sexual acts or the act of female mutilation, or due to misogyny, among other circumstances.  Persons convicted of this crime are subject to 25 to 50 years’ imprisonment with no possibility of the reduction of the sentence.  The Law also prohibits physical or psychological violence against women committed under the same circumstances, as well as economic violence the affects the use, enjoyment, of disposition of a woman’s property.  The Law sets forth the obligations of the State towards women relating to the rights to information and to assistance, including legal assistance, and investigations, and requires reparation to be paid to the victims of violence.  It also calls for the establishment of special courts to hear complaints. 

 

http://www.congreso.gob.gt/archivos/decretos/2008/gtdcx22-2008.pdf

 

KOREA, REPUBLIC OF

 

In 2008 the Republic of Korea enacted two laws to provide added protection to women against sexual violence.  The first Law amends the Act on the Prevention of Sex Trafficking and Protection of its Victims to apply to trafficking that occurs abroad.  The aims of the Act are: a) to enable accurate fact-finding on sex-trafficking occurring overseas; 2) to promote international cooperation on sex-trafficking issues; 3) to establish comprehensive measures with relevant Ministries; and 4) to protect Koreans forced into the sex-trafficking in foreign countries. The purpose of the Act is also to expand public awareness and improve education regarding the protection of human rights as part of the prevention of sex trafficking. Moreover, the Government amended the Custodial Care Act to include persons with psychosexual disorders among those in need of custodial care in order to provide them with medical treatment education, and rehabilitation so as to prevent sexual violence.

MEXICO

 

On 10 March 2008 Mexico issued Regulations to its General Law on the Access of Women to a Life Free from Violence.  The Regulations address the following topics: prevention, care for victims, sanctions, and the elimination of violence against women, and set forth strategies to be adopted with respect to each.  They also provide for the declaration of a state of alert in a specific part of the country when the commission of acts of violence against women threatens the social order, and they establish measures for the application of protection orders against violence and the establishment of shelters for victims.  Finally, the Regulations delineate in great detail the responsibilities of different government bodes with respect to gender violence, including the Secretariat of Social Development, the Secretariat of Public Safety, the Secretariat of Public Education, the Public Prosecutor, the Secretariat of Health, and the National Institution of Women.

 

http://www.cddhcu.gob.mx/LeyesBiblio/regley/Reg_LGAMVLV.pdf

 

PANAMA

 

On 21 May 2008 Panama enacted Law No. 26 which, among other things, amends the Penal Code to insert new provisions that criminalize involvement in the sexual exploitation of persons for money.  A person convicted of the crime is subject to 8 to 12 years’ imprisonment and payment of a fine. Greater penalties are imposed if the victim is a minor or a disabled person, if he or she is in a position of vulnerability that compromises consent, if the act is carried out using fraud, force, violence, coercion or abuse of authority, if the perpetrator is a relative or guardian, or if the victim becomes pregnant or infected with a sexually transmissible disease. 

 

http://www.asamblea.gob.pa/APPS/LEGISPAN/PDF_NORMAS/2000/2008/2008_559_0409.PDF

 

SAN MARINO

 

On 20 June 2008 San Marino approved the Law on the prevention and punishment of violence against women, including domestic violence.  The Law defines this violence as any act of violence based on sex that creates or is susceptible of creating harm or suffering of a physical, sexual, or psychological kind in public or private life, including threats, coercion, or the arbitrary deprivation of liberty.  The Law amends the Penal Code to do the following, among other things: a) increase the penalties for the crimes of homicide, violation of sexual freedom, and causing personal injuries when the perpetrator is a spouse or cohabitant; b) expand the scope of the crimes of reducing a person to slavery, including forced prostitution; the trafficking of persons; and the mistreatment of family members; and c) criminalize committing sexual violence as part of a group; stalking; and the kidnapping of minors by persons with custody of them.  The Law also establishes measures for assistance to victims and providing them with legal assistance and for the issuance of protection orders against family abuse. It requires social and health services to report cases of sexual violence and provides special protections to complainants in court proceedings, including prohibiting questioning them about their private lives.  Further provisions deal with the prohibition of abusive images in the media and the intervention of police in domestic violence cases, among other things. 

 

http://www.consigliograndeegenerale.sm/new/proposte_di_legge/vis_lavori.php3?twidth=580&idproposta=7356&colonnakey=idlegge&tabella=leggi&colonna=testolegge&testo= 

 

 

G.  Trafficking

 

ARGENTINA

 

On 29 April 2008 Argentina enacted Law No. 26364, which is designed to prevent and punish trafficking in persons and provide assistance to victims.  The Law defines trafficking as the reception, transportation, and/or transfer (whether within or into or out of the country), or acceptance of persons for the purposes of exploitation through means of deceit, fraud, violence, any form of intimidation or coercion, abuse of authority or a situation of vulnerability, or the payment or acceptance of money or benefits to obtain the consent of the person who has authority over the victim.  If the victim is under the age of 18 no deceit, etc. is required.  Exploitation includes forced labour, reduction to slavery, sexual commerce, and the illegal extraction of organs or tissues.  Persons convicted of trafficking are subject to 3 to 6 years’ imprisonment, with increased penalties when the victim is under 18 or when the perpetrator is a relative or acts as part of organized crime.  The Law also guarantees victims the right to housing, support, food, medical treatment, privacy, and identity, among other things.

 

http://www.saij.jus.gov.ar/news/files/ley26364.html

 

BURKINA FASO

 

On 15 May 2008 Burkina Faso enacted Law No. 029-2008/AN on the fight against the trafficking in persons and similar practices.  The Law defines trafficking as the recruitment, transport, sheltering, or reception of persons by means of threat, force, or other forms of constraint, kidnapping, fraud, deceit, abuse of authority or of a vulnerable situation or the offer or acceptance of payments or benefits to obtain the consent of a person with authority over another person, for the purposes of exploitation.  Exploitation includes prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation forced labour, slavery or similar practices, and the removal of organs. Persons who are convicted of trafficking are subject to 5 to 10 years’ imprisonment, and greater penalties are imposed if the victim is a minor.  The Law also criminalizes using another person for begging, as well as the illegal trafficking of migrants.

 

http://www.legiburkina.bf/jo/jo2008/no_26/Décret_PM_2008_00332.htm 

 

CHINA, SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION OF MACAU

 

On 16 June 2008, Macau, China, enacted a Law to fight human trafficking.  The Law is designed to establish measures to prevent and punish trafficking and to protect and assist the victims of trafficking.  It inserts into the Penal Code provisions prohibiting the offering, harbouring, recruiting, transporting, or receiving of persons for sexual or labuor exploitation, slavery, or the extraction of organs, by means of violence, threats, fraud, abuse of authority, exploitation of mental incapacity, or obtaining the consent of the person with authority over a victim.  Persons convicted of trafficking are subject to 3 to 12 years’ imprisonment.   Victims of trafficking have the following rights, among others; to communicate with an official representative of their country of origin, to indemnification for damages, to protection (including legal protection), to social support, to psychological and medical assistance, and to confidentiality.  The Government is required to establish protective programmes for victims, to create places for the care of victims, to promote campaigns and education on trafficking, and to provide police protection to victims. 

 

http://bo.io.gov.mo/bo/i/2008/25/lei06.asp

 

URUGUAY

 

On 28 January 2008 Uruguay enacted a new immigration law.  Among other things, the law prohibits trafficking in persons. It subjects to 4 to sixteen years’ imprisonment anyone who in any manner or by any means participates in the recruitment, transport, transfer, or reception of persons for forced labor, slavery or similar practices, servitude, sexual exploitation, extraction of organs, or any other activity that endangers human dignity.  Greater penalties are imposed if: a) the health or physical integrity of the victim is endangered; b) the victim is a minor or adolescent; c) the perpetrator is a member of the police or an official connected with immigration; d) the crime is committed with violence, deceit, or intimidation, or by abusing the inexperience of the victim; or e) the perpetrator acts habitually.

 

http://www.presidencia.gub.uy/_web/leyes/2008/01/T791_19%2010%202007_00001.PDF

 

 

H.  Constitutions

 

BHUTAN

 

On 18 July 2008 Bhutan adopted a new Constitution.  The Constitution provides the following, among other things: a) all persons shall have the right to life, liberty and security of person; b) a Bhutanese citizen shall have the right to equal access and opportunity to join the Public Service and the right to equal pay for work of equal value; c) all persons are equal before the law and are entitled to equal and effective protection of the law and shall not be discriminated against on the grounds of race, sex, language, religion, politics or other status; d) a person shall not be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, or home; e) notwithstanding the rights conferred by this Constitution, nothing shall prevent the State from subjecting reasonable restriction by law, when it concerns incitement to an offence on the grounds of race, sex, language, religion or region; f) a person shall not tolerate or participate in acts of injury, torture or killing of another person, terrorism, abuse of women, children or any other person and shall take necessary steps to prevent such acts; g) the State shall endeavour to create a civil society free of oppression, discrimination and violence, based on the rule of law and the protection of human rights and dignity, and to ensure the fundamental rights and freedoms of the people; h) the State shall endeavour to take appropriate measures to eliminate all forms of discrimination and exploitation against women including trafficking, prostitution, abuse, violence, harassment and intimidation at work in both the public and private spheres; and i) the State shall endeavour to take appropriate measures to ensure that children are protected against all forms of discrimination and exploitation including trafficking, prostitution, abuse, violence, degrading treatment, and economic exploitation.  Further provisions of the Constitution deal with environmental protection, nationality, freedom of movement, the right to work, the provision of free education, the promotion of the family, and the provision of free access to basic public health services.

 

http://www.nab.gov.bt/publication/10constitution.pdf

ECUADOR

 

On 28 September 2008 a new Constitution was approved by public referendum in Ecuador.    The Constitution guarantees a large number of rights, including rights to water, food, a clean environment, culture, science, education, housing, health, employment, and social security.  It also mandates special protection to youth, children, women, the disabled, and the aged.  One major focus of the Constitution is non-discrimination, particularly with respect to gender, where it provides the following:  a) all persons are equal and enjoy the same rights and duties and may not be subject to discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, age, sex, civil status, language, religion, filiation, politics, migratory status, disability, HIV infection, state of health, or socio-economic condition; b) the State shall adopt affirmative action measures; c) publicity that incites violence, discrimination, or sexism is prohibited; d) persons have a right to be employed and carry out public functions on the basis of equality and parity of gender; e) the State shall promote the equal representation of men and women in public office, in decision-making, and in political parties and movements; f) marriage is the union of a man and woman based on free consent and the equality of rights, obligations, and legal capacity; g) the State shall guarantee equality for spouses in making decisions on the administration of marital property; h) the State shall incorporate a gender focus in its plans and programmes; i) the State shall guarantee women equality of access to employment and training and equitable remuneration; j) all forms of discrimination, harassment, and violence that affect women in employment are prohibited. The Constitution also emphasizes the rights to health and to reproductive and sexual rights and health.  Here it provides the following, among other things: a) the State shall guarantee the right to health and access to programmes and services to promote integral attention to health and sexual and reproductive health, based on principles of equity with a focus on gender; b) pregnant women, children and adolescents, and the victims of domestic and sexual violence shall receive priority and specialized care; c) while they are breastfeeding, pregnant woman and nursing mothers shall have the rights: 1) not to be discriminated against in educational, social, and employment matters; 2) to receive maternal health services free-of-charge; and 3) to use of the necessary facilities for their recovery; d) persons have a right to make free, responsible, and informed decisions on their health and reproduction and to decide when and how many children to have;  e) the State shall promote responsible maternity and paternity; f) the State shall guarantee respect for the reproductive rights of workers, including by eliminating labor risks that affect reproductive health, providing employment regardless of pregnancy or number of children, and ensuring rights to maternity leave and breastfeeding; g) discrimination based on pregnancy or maternity or related to reproductive roles is prohibited; h) public health services shall be universal and free;  i) the State shall ensure sexual and reproductive health services and guarantee the integral health of women, especially during pregnancy, childbirth, and puerperium; j) the State shall formulate and apply demographic policies that contribute to territorial development and intergenerational equilibrium within a framework of respect for self-determination; and k) the right to personal integrity includes the right to physical, psychological, and sexual integrity.

 

http://pdba.georgetown.edu/Constitutions/Ecuador/ecuador08.html

.  

 

I.  Safe Motherhood

 

EL SALVADOR

 

On 11 August 2008 El Salvador issued Decree No. 92, which approves Regulations for Safe Motherhood.  They create a National Program for Safe Motherhood with the following activities:  a) care during pregnancy childbirth, and puerperium; b) care for the newborn; c) care for obstetric morbidity and rehabilitation for disability resulting from such morbidity; d) care for infertility; e) care for the reproductive health of adolescents; f) care for a prevention of gender violence; g) care for the reproductive health of women at all stages of life; h) education, promotion, and prevention with respect to the reproductive health of women; i) prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and diseases of the reproductive tract; and j) prevention and care for uterine and breast cancer.  The beneficiaries of the Program are women at all stages of life.  Institutions that are part of the National Health System are to provide this care with a focus on prevention in order to achieve optimum birth-spacing, timely detection of reproductive risk, prevention of early pregnancy, and timely detection of uterine and breast cancer and sexually transmitted diseases. The National Health System is required to provide information on education on  reproductive health, conduct at risk, and responsible procreation.  Adolescents are to receive information and guidance on their rights and responsibilities with respect to health prior to conception, sexuality, and early pregnancy as risk factors contributing to maternal mortality and morbidity.  The Program is to provide the entire population with access to medicaments and supplies related to reproductive health.  Further provisions of the Regulations set forth the institutions responsible for implementation of the Regulations.

 

http://www.mspas.gob.sv/regulacion/pdf/reglamento/Reglamento_maternidad_segura.pdf  

 

 

2009

 

A.  Reproductive Health and Rights (including Family Planning)

            Brazil

            Costa Rica

            Kazakhstan

            Portugal

            Tajikistan

            Uzbekistan

 

B.  Population Policy

            None

 

C.   Abortion

      Australia.  Queensland

      Germany

      Kyrgyzstan

      Montenegro

      Netherlands

      Slovakia

      Turkmenistan

     

D.  HIV/AIDS

            Armenia

            Guyana

            Norway

            Uzbekistan

 

E.  Women’s Human Rights

            Afghanistan

            Armenia

            Australia

            Bulgaria

            Chile

            Estonia

            Lithuania

            Mexico

            New Caledonia

            Philippines

            Rwanda

            Serbia

            South Africa

            Turkmenistan

            Vietnam

 

F.  Violence against Women

            Argentina

            East Timor

            Guatemala     

            Hungary

            Italy

            Norway

            Peru

            Portugal

            Romania

            Serbia

            Slovenia

            Uruguay

            Vietnam

           

G.  Trafficking

            Algeria

            Jordan

            Lithuania

            Luxembourg

            Mauritius

            Mexico

 

H.  Constitutions

            Bolivia

            Cayman Islands

            Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

            Venezuela

 

 

A.  Reproductive Health and Rights (including Family Planning)

 

BRAZIL

 

Law No. 11935 of 11 May 2009 amends La No. 9656 of 3 June 1998 on private health insurance plans to provide the coverage of acre is required for urgent care resulting from injury or complications in pregnancy and for family planning. Resolution No. 192 of 27 May 2009 of the Ministry of Health sets forth the components of family planning to covered by the Law above.  Family planning is defined as the set of activities to control fertility that guarantees equal rights in procreating, limiting, or increasing children for women, men, or couples.  It includes counseling, education, and clinical care such as clinical examinations and the prescription of the most appropriate method, but does not include the provision of artificial insemination or the furnishing of medicaments for home use.  

COSTA RICA

Decree No. 35262-S of 13 February 2009 makes official Official Rules on Integral Attention to Women during Pregnancies at Low Obstetric Risk.  The Rules are designed to provide integral to pregnant women and their families through quality maternal care in order to prevent maternal and peri-natal morbidity and mortality and contribute to the development of healthy families.  The objectives of the services are the following: a) to detect and deal with in a timely manner prenatal conditions in pregnant women during the first trimester; b) to care for and treat periodically pregnant women at low risk to ensure the normal development of pregnancy and fetal vitality; c) to carry out an integral evaluation of the determinants of health and classify risk, in order to provide individualized care and refer cases of high risk; d) to provide heal education for the pregnant woman and her family to improve self-care and healthy lifestyles; e) to strengthen sexual and reproductive rights; and f) promote the participation of the pregnant woman’s family.  Further provisions of the Decree deal with the following, among of other things: planning, programming, and organizing prenatal care in institutions; required personnel, facilities, and equipment; periodic consultations and examinations, testing, education, and treatment; specific conditions; provision of medicaments and dental care; and supervision and evaluation.  The Decree contains provisions on contraceptives, sexually transmitted diseases and HIV infection, and abortion, among other things.  There are 16 detailed annexes attached to the Decree.

KAZAKHSTAN

On 18 September 2009 Kazakhstan approved a new Public Health Code.  The Code is based on the following principles of public health policy, among others:  the right of citizens to obtain safe, effective, and quality health care, the right to maternal and child health, and the right to a guaranteed volume of free medical care.   Guaranteed free care includes emergency care, outpatient care (primary care), consultation and diagnosis, hospitalization, rehabilitation, palliative and nursing care, the provision of drugs, and freedom of reproductive choice, reproductive health, and reproductive rights.  Specifically, citizens have the rights to obtain services for free reproductive health; to obtain reliable and complete information about the state of their reproductive health; to treatment for infertility, including the use of modern assisted reproductive techniques and technologies, with spousal consent, if married; to donate and store gametes; to the use and free choice of contraceptive methods with assistance on the selection of appropriate methods; to surgical sterilization, as a method of preventing unwanted pregnancies if the citizen is over thirty-five years old or has at least two children, or if there are medical indications; to abortion; to protection of reproductive rights; to free decision on the number of children and the time that they are born in or outside marriage; and to birth spacing,  Abortion must be accompanied by counseling and may be carried out during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy on request, during the first 22 weeks for social indications, and at any time if the woman’s life is threatened or in case of fetal impairment. To obtain an abortion minors must obtain the consent of their parents or other legal representatives.  Prenatal sex selection is not allowed, except in cases of possible of inheritance of a disease related to sex, and cloning is prohibited.  Surrogate motherhood is allowed.

 

Under the Code, a woman has a right to health care and care during pregnancy, childbirth and after birth and to medical counseling during pregnancy and after giving birth.  She also has the right to decide on the issue of motherhood and the free choice of modern methods of preventing unwanted pregnancies.  Women of reproductive age have a right to medical examinations and to treatment of underlying diseases that directly affect their reproductive health.  Minors have the right to reproductive health, as well as to moral and sexual education.

 

With respect to HIV/AIDS, patients are guaranteed voluntary and anonymous (or) confidential medical examinations at no cost; the provision of psychosocial, legal, and medical advice; and social and legal protection.  Discrimination and the denial of rights are prohibited, including in education, employment, and housing. Compulsory testing is allowed only for blood, tissue, and organ donors, in cases of protection of the public health or criminal prosecution, and for foreigners and stateless persons.  The State shall implement targeted prevention and educational programmes for various groups, inform the public about preventive measures, and develop programmes to protect persons from HIV infection through sex or contaminated blood.  HIV-infected children have a right to stay in children's homes and other medical and educational organizations for general use.  Further provisions of the Code deal with the health rights of children, vaccination (which is obligatory), the donation of blood and its components, breastfeeding, patient rights and duties, and the prohibition of euthanasia, among other things.

PORTUGAL

Law No. 60/2009 of 6 August 2009 establishes a system for sex education in schools.  It provides that the following are among the objectives of sex education:  a) to create an appreciation for sexuality and affection in human development; b) to develop skills that all youth to make informed and safe choices about sexuality; c) to improve the emotional and sexual relationships of youth; d) to reduce negative behaviors that lead to unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases; e) to develop the capacity for self-protection against exploitation and abuse; f) to develop respect for differences among people and for different sexual orientations; g) to develop informed and responsible sexuality; h) to promote gender equality; i) to creating a scientific understanding of reproductive biology; and to eliminate discrimination based on sexual behavior, as well as violence based on gender and sexual orientation.  Further provisions of the Decree-Law deal with the modalities education, teaching personnel, and the participation of health personnel, among other things.

TAJIKISTAN

Law No. 419 of 15 May 1997 on Protection of public health, as amended through Law No. 532 of 19 May 2009 provides that citizens have a general right to health.  In the course of enumerating specific rights, it states that motherhood is protected by the State and mothers have rights to the following: maternal health care during pregnancy and before and after childbirth, occupational health protections, particularly if pregnant, and maternity benefits.    They also have the right to decide whether to give birth, including the right to contraception, sterilization, abortion, and artificial insemination and embryo implantation.  Persons suffering from AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases are required to be examined and undergo treatment.  The Law prohibits euthanasia.   Further provisions deal with the following, among other things:  funding, children’s right to health, the responsibilities of various agencies to protect health, the duties of citizens with respect to health, and various health services provided.

 

UZBEKISTAN

 

Decision No. pp-1144 of 1 July 2009 approves the Program of measures further to strengthen and improve the effectiveness of the work done to improve reproductive health, the birth of healthy children, and the formation of a physically and spiritually mature generation, 2009-2013.  The goals of the Program are the following: a) improving the system capacity of reproductive health and creating the conditions necessary for healthy births and a healthy childhood; b) strengthening the material and technical aspects of maternity hospitals, primary health care, and maternal-child health care; c) strengthening awareness on childbirth and the rearing of healthy children and healthy lifestyles; d) creating the conditions necessary for the full physical and harmonious development of children and adolescents; and e) upgrading medical personnel who work to protect maternal-child health.  The Program sets forth activities to be undertaken, the time frame of carrying out these activities, their costs, and the expected outcomes.  The activities include the following, among others: increasing the use of modern contraceptives, improving the quality of medical examinations, preventing unwanted pregnancies, using improved technology, the immunization of children, preventing the birth of children with congenital malformations, carrying out mandatory examinations for persons marrying, preventing early marriages, and improving nutrition.

C.      Abortion

AUSTRALIA.  QUEENSLAND

The Criminal Code (Medical Treatment) Amendment Act 2009 (Act No. 33 of 2009), 5 September 2009, amends Criminal Code to ensure the lawfulness of abortion under certain circumstances.  The amendments provide that “A person is not criminally responsible for performing or providing, in good faith and with reasonable care and skill, a surgical operation on or medical treatment of—(a) a person or an unborn child for the patient's benefit; or (b) a person or an unborn child to preserve the mother's life-- if performing the operation or providing the medical treatment is reasonable, having regard to the patient's state at the time and to all the circumstances of the case.”  Previously the Code only allowed surgical operations on an unborn child for the preservation of the mother’s life.  The changes clarify that medical treatment may also be carried out and that an operation on an unborn child for the benefit of the unborn child is legal. They are designed to allow abortions to be carried out using medical means such as RU486, as well as surgery.  Preservation of the mother’s life has long been interpreted, following a court decision, as including the preservation of her physical or mental health.

 

GERMANY

 

A Law of 26 August 2009 amends the Law on Pregnancy Conflicts to impose new procedural requirements when abortions are performed on the ground of fetal impairment.  Before a physician certifies that an abortion is justified on this ground, he or she must inform the pregnant woman about all medical and psychological issues and her right to further counselling, and, if she agrees, provide her with contacts at counselling centers.  He or she need not do so if the pregnant woman has already received such information from the physician who informed her of the fetal defect after prenatal diagnosis.   A physician may not certify that an abortion is justified until three days have passed from her receiving such information from either source, except in case of present and grave danger to the body or life of the pregnant woman.  The physician must ensure that the pregnant woman certifies in writing that she has received the information or that she does not want to receive counselling.  A physician who fails to comply is subject to a fine of 5,000 Euro.  The objective of the change in law is specifically to reduce the number of late-term abortions performed on the ground of fetal impairment.

KYRGYZSTAN

Government Resolution No. 522 of 14 August 2009 sets forth social indications for abortions permitted between the 12th and 22nd weeks of pregnancy.  The Resolution provide that a woman may obtain an abortion if she or her is husband is disabled, if her husband dies during the pregnancy, if either spouse is imprisoned, if a court has restricted parental rights, if either spouse is unemployed, if she is a refugee or displaced person, if the spouses are divorced during the pregnancy, if the pregnancy is due to rape, if the woman has three or more children and an absent husband, if she has a disabled child, or if the family is poor.  If the woman is married, she must obtain the consent of her spouse.  If she is a minor, she must obtain the consent of her parents or legal representative.

 

MONTENEGRO

 

The Law on the conditions and procedures for abortion, 27 July 2009, regulates abortion in Montenegro. It allows abortions to be performed on request during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.  An abortion may be carried out between 10 and 20 weeks of pregnancy in cases of threat to life or severe threat to health, in cases of severe fetal impairment, when the pregnancy was the result of a crime, and in cases of severe personal or family circumstances.  During this period a Committee must approve the abortion.  Between 20 and 32 weeks of pregnancy an abortion may be carried out only in cases of threat to life and severe threat to health or of severe fetal impairment.  During this period an Ethics Committee must approve the abortion.  Abortions may not be performed after 32 weeks of pregnancy.  A minor must obtain the consent of her parents for an abortion. 

 

NETHERLANDS

 

An Order of 18 May 2009 amends Regulations to the abortion law to provide that before a pregnancy can be terminated, a test must be carried out to determine the length of the pregnancy to ensure that is legal.

 

SLOVAKIA

 

Law No. 345/2009 of 19 June 2009 amends the Law on health related services associated with the provision of health care to insert provisions that require a pregnant woman to provide written informed consent for an abortion.  Before she gives consent, she must be provided with guidance on the following: a) the purpose, nature, course, and consequences of abortion; b) the physical and psychological risks of abortion; c) the current stage of development of the embryo or fetus; and d) alternatives to abortion, including information on adoption and financial, material, and psychological assistance during pregnancy provided by various organizations and associations.  If the woman is a minor, her guardian must also provide informed consent.  Once informed consent has been obtained, she must wait 48 hours before the abortion can be performed.

 

TURKMENISTAN

 

In 2009 Turkmenistan amended the Law on Health Protection to decrease from 28 to 22 weeks of pregnancy the time in which a woman may obtain an abortion for health reasons.

D.  HIV/AIDS

ARMENIA

 

Law of 3 February 1997 on the prevention of HIV, as amended in 2000 and 2009 sets forth rules on the prevention and diagnosis of HIV.  It does the following, among other things:  a) prohibits restricting the rights and freedoms of persons because of HIV infection, except as provided by law; b) requires the testing of foreigners and stateless persons who stay in Armenia for more than three months and their deportation if found to be infected; c) provides that HIV testing is anonymous and voluntary, except for blood, tissue, and organ donors, health care workers in contact with these materials, prisoners, persons suffering from sexually transmitted diseases, pregnant woman, children born to infected mothers, and drug addicts; and d) provides that HIV-infected persons have a right to information on test results in writing, non-discriminatory treatment, medical confidentiality, and advice and information on prevention, as well as the right to continue their employment.  Further provisions of the Law deal with the creation of a National Center for AIDS invention, funding, special benefits for persons working in employment where they are at risk of infection, and compensation for persons who are infected while providing medical care, among other things.

GUYANA

 

The National HIV and AIDS Workplace Policy, 2009, provides the framework for a coordinated and comprehensive workplace response to AIDS in Guyana and helps ensure that workers living with or affected by HIV can continue to remain productive in their place of employment.  They are mandatory in all workplaces.  The Policy does the following, among other things:  a) prohibits employers from discrimination against workers with actual or perceived HIV/AIDS status, from requiring HIV testing for any person or revealing the results of any testing, or from terminating the employment of affected persons who are capable of working; and b) requires employers to treat HIV/AIDS like other illnesses, to provide time for treatment and other services, and to train workers to adopt universal health precautions and proper measures for condom storage, prevention of mother-child transmission, ARV treatment, and post-exposure prophylaxis.  Further provisions of the Policy deal with the following:  the provision of information and education, impact assessments of HIV/AIDS in the workplace, trade union responsibilities, employee responsibilities, and enforcement of the Policy, among other things.

 

NORWAY

 

Law No. 69 of 19 June 2009 amends the Temporary Law No. 64 of 2 July 2004 to make the Law a permanent Law and rewrite its provisions completely.  It authorizes municipalities to establish premises for the injection of drugs in order to contribute to greater health security, including the prevention of infection and contamination, and to provide faster help of drug overdose, with the presence and supervision of health personnel. The aim is also to provide increased opportunity for contact and conversations between individual users and a support system aimed at multidisciplinary monitoring and treatment.

UZBEKISTAN

Decision of the Cabinet No. 1 of 5 January 2009 approves measures to strengthen the fight against AIDS.  These measures include the following: a) strengthening the structure of regional centers to fight AIDS, and setting rules on their goals and objectives, responsibilities, management, and financing; and b) implementing the National Plan to prevent the spread of HIV infection for 2009-2011.  The Plan contains provisions on the following, among other things: the elimination of prostitution and drug addiction, protection of the blood supply, the prevention of mother-child transmission, ensuring infant formula for children born to HIV infected mothers, training health personnel, and the provision of information and education on HIV/AIDS.  The Decision repeals a number of previous decisions of the Government on HIV/AIDS.

 

 

E.  Women’s Human Rights

 

AFGHANISTAN

 

The Shiite Personal Status Law, 2009, governs family relationships of the Shiite population of Afghanistan.  It provides the following, among other things: a) a fetus if subsequently born alive, obtains competency at conception; b) abortion is forbidden, and the person performing the abortion will be liable to pay dia [blood money and compensation paid to the victim]; if a mother aborts her fetus, she must pay its dia, according to the provisions of Sharia, to the heir of the fetus and she does not have any right to dia either; if the father makes her abort, then the dia goes to the mother; c) the father and paternal grandfather have guardianship over minors; d) an engaged person cannot be forced to marry by the person he or she is engaged to; e) a man may not be married to more than four women at the same time; f) the marriage of an underage person is permissible through a guardian; g) a minor after reaching puberty can reject a marriage that has been arranged by a natural or authorized guardian who does not act in the best interests of the ward; h) the essential condition of a marriage contract is that the parties shall be of opposite gender at the inception and throughout the duration of the marriage; i) intention and consent of the parties are prerequisite to the marriage contract and it is required to be obtained explicitly by words, action or writing; j) the husband is bound to spend at least one out of four nights with his wife when he is not traveling; k) it is the duty of the wife to defer to her husband’s inclination for sexual enjoyment; l) the wife is obligated to maintain the marriage home and to do household chores only if specified by the husband as a condition in the marriage contract; m) the household’s supervision is the right of the husband, unless based on the husband’s mental deficiency, and by order of the court, it [supervision] is given to the wife; n) a husband can prevent his wife from any unnecessary action or actions, which are not according to her duties as specified by Sharia Law and are contrary to the local customs and the husband’s benefits; o) a wife cannot leave the house without her husband’s permission unless she has urgent cause, or is in extreme difficulty; p) a wife is the owner of her own assets and can possess it in any form without her husband’s permission; q) a man may enter into a temporary marriage through a contract; r) divorce by a wife who has had sexual penetration, and has reached puberty and is not pregnant, is invalid; s) the pronouncement of divorce shall be made in front of and within the hearing of two male witnesses; t) the husband by concluding a valid marriage contract and wedlock is obligated to provide maintenance to his wife and if he refuses, he shall be considered his wife’s debtor; u) a wife is considered disobedient and not entitled to maintenance she fails to show readiness to submit to her husband’s reasonable sexual enjoyment, or violates the prohibition from going out of the house, except in extreme circumstances, without her husband’s permission; and v) the mother has custody of a girl up to seven years of age and of a boy up to two years of age; after the aforementioned periods, the father will have custody of the girl and the boy.  Further provisions of the Law deal with the following, among other things: fetal rights, guardianship, engagement, marriage, obstacles to marriage, adultery, dowry, joint obligations of the spouses, marriage contracts, the employment of a married woman, dissolution of marriage contracts, spousal and child support, maintenance of relatives, filiation, the prohibition of certain assisted reproduction procedures,  and inheritance.

 

ARMENIA

 

The Labor Code of 9 November 2004, as amended through 20 May 2009, regulates labor relations in Armenia.  It does the following, among other things:  a) prohibits the termination of employment on the basis of gender, race, nationality, origin, language, social status, religion, marital status, or beliefs or opinions; b) prohibits the termination of the employment of a pregnant woman until one month after the expiration of maternity leave or the employment of a worker caring for a child under the age of one; c) grants women 140 days fully paid maternity leave; d) requires men and women to be paid equal wages for the same or equivalent work; e) requires pregnant women and women caring for a child under the age of one to transferred to less hazardous work if their current work endangers their health; f) guarantees breastfeeding women a break of every three hours to nurse their children; g) provides that violation of the sexual equality of women and men or sexual harassment constitutes a gross labor violation; and h) provides that one of the basic principles of labor law is equality regardless of gender, race, nationality, language, origin, nationality, social status, religion, status in marriage and marital status, age, belief or opinion, or other circumstances not related to the qualifications of the employee.  Further provisions of the Code deal with the following, among other things:  the employment of minors and protection of their health, restrictions on the employment of pregnant women and mothers for health reasons, adoption leave, leave to care for a child under the age of three, and occupational health.

 

AUSTRALIA

 

The object of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Act No. 28 of 2009), 7 April 2009 is to provide a balanced framework for cooperative and productive workplace relations that promotes national economic prosperity and social inclusion for all Australians.  It applies to national system employees and employers.  It provides the following, among other things:  a) an employee who is a parent, or has responsibility for the care, of a child may request the employer for a change in working arrangements to assist the employee to care for the child; the employer may refuse the request only on reasonable business grounds; b) an employee is entitled to 12 months of unpaid parental leave associated with the birth or adoption of a child if the employee has or will have a responsibility for the care of the child; c) an employer must not take adverse action against a person who is an employee, or prospective employee, of the employer because of the person’s race, colour, sex, sexual preference, age, physical or mental disability, marital status, family or carer’s responsibilities, pregnancy, religion, political opinion, national extraction or social origin; d) an employer must not terminate an employee’s employment based on absence from work during maternity leave or other parental

leave; and e) the Fair Work Australia statutory body may make any order (an equal remuneration order) it considers appropriate to ensure that, for employees to whom the order will apply, there will be equal remuneration for work of equal or comparable value.  Further provisions of the Act deal with the following, among other things:  the right of a pregnant employee to be transferred to a safe job at full pay to protect her health, the right to return to the same or similar job after taking leave, personal carer leave, and compliance, penalties, and remedies for violation of the provisions of the Act.

 

BULGARIA

 

On 23 June 2009 Bulgaria enacted a new Family Code.  It provides the following, among other things:  a) every person has the right to marry and to found a family; b) marriage shall be concluded by mutual, free, and express consent of a man and woman; c) the age of marriage is 18; d) spouses have equal rights and obligations in marriage; e) spouses are required by mutual understanding and common efforts in accordance with their capabilities, assets, and income to ensure the welfare of the family and to care for rearing, upbringing, education, and maintenance of children; and e) parents have equal rights and obligations.  Further provisions of the Code deal with the following, among other things:  impediments to marriage, marital property, the division of property upon divorce, marriage contracts, grounds for divorce and annulment, child custody, filiation, including filiation in cases of assisted reproduction, adoption, including international adoption, parental rights and responsibilities, spousal and child support, and guardianship,   The Code repeals the Family Code of 1985, as amended. 

 

CHILE

 

Law No. 20348 of 2 June 2009 amends the Labor Code to add a new Article 62bis, which provides that employers must fulfill the principle of equality in remuneration between men and women who perform the same work.  Objective differences in remuneration based among other things on the skills, qualifications, suitability, responsibility or productivity shall not be considered arbitrary.  The Law also requires employers with 25 or more employees to have internal regulations that contain procedures for bringing claims of violation of equality in remuneration.  Claims and responses from employers must be in writing, and the employer must respond within 30 days.  In addition, the Law amends Decree with Force of Law No. 29 of 2005 of the Ministry of Finance on administrative staff to provide that assigning grades for contracts of employment discrimination on the basis of sex is prohibited.

 

ESTONIA

 

Decision No. 532 of 2 October 2009 approves legislation amending the Gender Equality Act and the Equal Treatment Act.  Amendments to the Gender Equality Act do the following, among other things:  a) enlarge the definitions of direct and indirect discrimination; b) prohibit gender harassment in addition to sexual harassment; c) allows temporary measures to be applied to promote gender equality; d) provide that pay equity includes equity in benefits; e) provide that discrimination exists if a worker is treated less favorably for belonging to a worker’s organization; and f) enlarge the duty of employers to promote the candidature of both men and women for vacancies.

 

LITHUANIA

 

Law No. VIII-947 of 1 December 1998, as amended through 14 July 2009 is designed to implement the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania which establishes equal rights between women and men to prohibit any discrimination on grounds of sex, especially when it comes to family or marital status.  It also implements European Union legislation, referred to in the Annex to this Law.   The Law prohibits direct and indirect discrimination based on sex and sexual harassment.  It applies to education, employment, the provision of goods and services, membership in organizations, advertising, and social protection systems.  Further provisions of the Law deal with the following, among other things:  the obligation of the State to implement equal rights, the Equal Opportunities Ombudsman, complaints and investigations, orders that the Ombudsman may make, compensation for discrimination, the requirement of the payment of equal pay for work of equal value, and exceptions to the prohibition of discrimination, particularly to protect the health of pregnant women. 

 

MEXICO

 

Decree of 11 August 2009 approves the National Program on the Equality of Women and Men 2009-2012.  This Program has the following objectives: 1) to institutionalize a policy with a perspective of gender in the Federal Public Administration; 2) to guarantee legal equality, the human rights of women and non-discrimination in the law; 3) to guarantee the access of women to justice, security, and civil protection; 4) to guarantee women access to a life free from violence; 5) to strengthen the capacities of women to increase their opportunities and reduce gender inequality; 6) to promote the economic power of women for better wellbeing and development; and 7) to promote the empowerment of women and their participation and representation in state decision-making, and consolidate a democratic culture.  Further provisions of the Program set forth in detail specific strategies, goals, and lines of action, which touch on the following, among other things: discrimination in employment, pay equity, sexual harassment, health care, trafficking, child pornography, education, sexually transmitted diseases and HIV infections, pregnant women, and sexual and reproductive rights.

 

NEW CALEDONIA

 

Law No. 2008-2 of 13 February 2008, as amended through 7 January 2009 approves the Labor Code of New Caledonia.  It does the following, among other things:  a) prohibits taking origin, sex, pregnancy, family situation, ethnicity, race, political opinion, religion, or disability into consideration in employment decisions; b) provides that a female candidate for employment or employee is not required to reveal her state of pregnancy; c) allows a pregnant employee or an employer to request a temporary change of employment if her state of health so requires without loss of pay; d) prohibits terminating the employment of a woman while pregnant or taking maternity leave; e) guarantees women 16 weeks of paid maternity leave; f) guarantees women one hour a day to nurse their children for the period of one year; and g) guarantees men and women equal pay for equal work.  Further provisions of the Code deal with the following, among other things: adoption leave, leave to care for a child under the age of three, the employment of minors and protection of their health, the employment of foreigners and the disabled, and apprenticeship.

 

PHILIPPINES

 

Republic Act No. 7900, 7 August 2009, amends Republic Act No. 6657, the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law, to strengthen the Comprehensive Reform Program.  Among other things, the Act modifies Act No. 6657 to provide as follows: “The State shall recognize and enforce, consistent with existing laws, the rights of rural women to own and control land, taking into consideration the substantive equality between men and women as qualified beneficiaries, to receive a just share of the fruits thereof, and to he represented in advisory or appropriate decision-making bodies.  These rights shall be independent of their male relatives and of their civil status.  It also incorporates a new Section 37-A to provide equal support services for rural women.  This Section ensures the integration of the specific needs and well-being of women farmer beneficiaries taking into account the specific requirements of female family members of farmer beneficiaries; the entitlement of rural women to self-organization in order to obtain equal access to economic opportunities and to have access to agricultural credit and loans, marketing facilities and technology, and other support services, and equal treatment in land reform and resettlement schemes; and the establishment of women’s desk, which will be primarily responsible for formulating and implementing programs and activities related to the protection and promotion of women’s rights, as well as providing an avenue where women can register their complaints and grievances principally related to their rural activities.

 

Republic Act No. 9710 of 14 August 2009 approves the Magna Carta of Women.  Thes Magna Carta is designed to embody the State’s commitment to empower women, to pursue equal opportunities for women and men, and to ensure equal access to resources and to development results and outcome.  It also expresses the State’s desire to abolish unequal structures and practices that perpetuate discrimination and inequality by developing plans, policies, programmes, measures, and mechanisms to address discrimination and inequality in the economic, political, social, and cultural life of women and men.  Under the Magna Carta, all rights in the Constitution and those rights recognized under international instruments duly signed and ratified by the Philippines shall be rights of women under the Act to be enjoyed without discrimination. 

 

These rights include the right to be free from violence and to protection against gender-based offences; the right to protection and security in times of disasters, calamities, and other crisis situations; the right to participation and equitable representation in all spheres of society, particularly in the decision-making and policy-making processes in government and private entities; the right to equal treatment before the law; the right to equal access and elimination of discrimination in education, scholarships, and training; the right to participation in competitive and noncompetitive sports as a means to achieve excellence and to promote physical and social well-being; the right to non-discrimination  in the military, police, and other similar services; the right to non-discriminatory and non-derogatory portrayal in the media and film; the right to health; the right to a special leave benefit of two months with full pay based following surgery caused by gynaecological disorders; and the right to equal rights in all matters relating to marriage and family relations.  Part V of the Magna Carta focuses, in particular, on the rights of women in marginalized sectors.

 

In the area of health, the Magna Carta provides that the State shall, at all times, provide for a comprehensive, culture-sensitive, and gender-responsive health services and programmes covering all stages of a woman's life cycle and which address the major causes of women's mortality and morbidity. Access to the following services shall be ensured:  1) maternal care to include pre- and post-natal services to address pregnancy and infant health and nutrition; 2) promotion of breastfeeding; 3) responsible, ethical, legal, safe, and effective methods of family planning; 4) family and State collaboration in youth sexuality education and health services without prejudice to the primary right and duty of parents to educate their children; 5) prevention and management of reproductive tract infections, including sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, and AIDS; 6) prevention and management of reproductive tract cancers like breast and cervical cancers and other gynecological conditions and disorders; 7) prevention of abortion and management of pregnancy-related complications; 8) in cases of violence against women and children, comprehensive health services that include psychosocial, therapeutic, medical, and legal interventions and assistance towards healing, recovery, and empowerment; 9) prevention and management of infertility and sexual dysfunction pursuant to ethical norms and medical standards; 10) care of the elderly beyond their child-bearing years; and 11) management, treatment, and intervention of mental health problems.  Further provisions of the Magna Carta deal with the specific rights of women in each of the areas of life mentioned, institutional mechanisms for ensuring these rights, funding, and penalties for violation of the rights guaranteed.

 

RWANDA

 

Law No. 13/2009 of 27 May 2009 regulates labor relations in Rwanda.  It does the following, among other things:  a) prohibits the employment of children under the age of 16 and places restrictions on the employment of children between the ages of 16 and 18; b) prohibits subjecting a person directly or indirectly to gender-based violence or moral harassment; c) prohibits discrimination based on race, colour, origin, sex, marital status, family responsibilities, religion, beliefs, political opinions, social or economic conditions, disability, or previous, current, or future pregnancy, including with respect to salary; d) guarantees workers 12 weeks continuous maternity leave; e) guarantees mothers one hour a day paid rest to breastfeed their children for 12 months; f) entitles women taking maternity leave with no maternity insurance to full pay for six weeks and 20 per cent pay for the remaining six weeks of leave; g) prohibits the dismissal of women taking maternity leave; h) guarantees a woman who takes maternity leave the right to return after leave to the same job or a job with the same position and salary as her previous job; i) prohibits subjecting a child to one of the worst forms of child labour, including slavery, trafficking, debt bondage, forced labour, armed conflict, prostitution, and pornography; and j) prohibits employing a pregnant or breastfeeding woman in work that may be harmful to her or her infant.  Further provisions of the Code deal with the employment of foreigners, apprenticeship, occupational health, and offences and penalties, among other things.  It repeals Law No. 51/2001, the former Labour Code.

 

SERBIA

 

The Law on Non-discrimination, 2009, provides that all people are equal and enjoy equal status and legal protection and are obligated to respect the principles of equality and non-discrimination.  The Law prohibits discrimination based on gender, marital or family status, age, disability, race, sexual orientation, birth, health status, and religious and political beliefs, among other things.  It bans direct and indirect discrimination, hate speech, and harassment and degrading treatment on these grounds, as well as discrimination against persons who seek protection from discrimination or intend to provide evidence of discriminatory acts.  In particular, it bans discrimination in proceedings before public authorities, in the workplace, in the provision of public services and access to public facilities, in education, and in health care.  With respect to gender, the Law prohibits discrimination in political, economic, cultural, and other aspects of public, professional, private, and family rights.  Also illegal are physical and other violence, exploitation, the expression of hatred, vilification, and harassment with regard to sex, as well as treatment in accordance with prejudices, customs, and other behaviours that are based on the idea of the subordination or domination of women or stereotypes.  Affirmative action is allowed to fight discrimination. Particularly severe forms of discrimination include the practices of slavery, trafficking, apartheid, genocide, ethnic cleansing, and their promotion.  The Law creates a Commissioner to hear complaints of discrimination and issue recommendations for the rectification of discriminatory acts. It also allows complaints to be brought before a court to seek redress and imposes fines on persons who violate the provisions of the Law.  

 

SOUTH AFRICA

 

The Reform of Customary Law of Succession and Regulation of Related Matters Act , 2009 (Act No. 11 of 2009), 19 April 2009, abolishes the customary rule of primogeniture in as far as it applies to the law of succession in order to bring it in line with the Constitution; and gives effect to the judgment of the Constitutional Court  declaring the principle of male primogeniture incompatible with the Bill of Rights.  The Act eliminates a number of legal provisions that discriminate against women in the inheritance of property.

 

TURKMENISTAN

 

On 1 July 2009 Turkmenistan enacted a new Labor Code.  The Code does the following, among other things:  a) prohibits discrimination on the basis of nationality, race, sex, origin, property or employment status, residence, language, age, religion, political beliefs, party affiliation or lack of affiliation to any party, as well as other circumstances not related to the qualifications of workers and the results of their labor; b) prohibits denying a woman employment, reducing her wages, or terminating her employment on the basis of pregnancy or having a child under the age of three; c) requires the transfer of a pregnant woman or woman with a child under the age of 18 months to lighter employment with full pay if they cannot perform their normal work; d) guarantees a mother with a child under the age of 18 months 30 minute breaks every three hours to nurse her child at full pay; and e) guarantees equal pay for work of equal value.  Further provisions of the Code deal with the following, among other things:  employment of minors and restrictions on their employment to protect their health, unpaid leave to care for children under the age of three, occupational health, restrictions on the work of women for health reasons, apprenticeship, and employment of the disabled.  The Code repeals the Labor Code of 1972, as amended, as well as a number of other laws on employment.

 

VIETNAM

 

Decree No. 48/2009/ND-CP of 19 May 2009 sets forth measures to ensure gender equality.  It requires the Government to do the following:  a) prescribe an appropriate proportion of men or women or assure an appropriate proportion of women who participate and benefit in certain fields of social life; b) train and retrain to raise the qualifications of women or men for them to satisfy professional criteria and other criteria as prescribed by law; c) support and create conditions and opportunities for men or women in order to enhance the sharing of family and social responsibilities between men and women in conformity with gender equality goals; d) prescribe particular criteria and conditions applicable to women or men in order to implement priority policies in each specific domain; and e) provide for the right of women to be selected and prioritized when they met all conditions and criteria like men so as to assure gender equality.  Provisions of the Decree deal with the following, among other things:  information and education on gender equality, the inclusion of issues relating to gender equality in draft legal documents, the responsibilities of various government agencies, the termination of measures to promote gender equality, and funding.

 

F.  Violence against Women

 

ARGENTINA

 

Law No. 26485 of 1 April 2009 approves the Law on Integral Protection to Prevent, Punish, and Eradicate Violence against Women in Areas in Which They Develop Interpersonal Relations.  The Law’s objectives include: eliminating gender discrimination; guaranteeing women’s right to be free from violence; promoting public policies to eradicate violence against women; removing socio-cultural patterns that promote gender inequality; ensuring access to justice for women victims of violence; and providing comprehensive assistance to these victims.   

 

The Law explicitly incorporates all the rights enshrined in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Belem do Para Convention.  It recognizes five different types of violence against women: physical, psychological, sexual, economic, and symbolic. It also identifies violence in different contexts: domestic violence, institutional violence, violence in the work sphere, media violence, violence against reproductive autonomy (interfering with the right to determine the number and spacing of children), and obstetric violence (acts committed by health care personnel affecting bodily functions). 

 

According to the Law, the legislative, executive and judicial powers must adopt measures to guarantee gender equality.  The National Women’s Council is designated as the entity in charge of developing a national plan of action to address violence against women and coordinating governmental efforts to comply with the Law.  The Law also establishes guidelines for the creation, within different governmental entities, of public policies to provide for health services, financial aid, legal aid, counseling and accommodation for women victims of violence.  The Law emphasizes the use of educational programs to prevent gender-based violence, which should be rolled out in schools and universities, as well as in programs for training judicial officers and security agents, among others.  The Law creates a Violence Observatory charged with collecting, producing and systematizing data on violence against women.

 

Survivors of violence have a number of rights under the Law, which include: access to judicial proceedings, urgent judicial protection, confidentiality, information and participation in judicial proceedings, freedom from invasive inspection of their bodies, and efficient mechanisms for denouncing violence.  The Law creates a special administrative procedure for ensuring recourse to protective measures, which include: denying the aggressor access to any place where the victim lives; depriving aggressors of their firearms; ensuring immediate restitution of personal property; providing the victim and perpetrator with medical assistance; and providing increased security at the residence of the victim.  (Summary provided by the Center for Reproductive Rights)

 

EAST TIMOR

 

Decree-Law No. 19/2009, 30 March 2009 approves a new Penal Code.  The Code contains provisions on the following, among other things:  a) genocide; b) for the purpose of destroying a group, preventing births or procreation in the group or engaging in rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution, forced pregnancy, or forced sterilization; c) abortion; d) infanticide; e) incitement to suicide; f) causing a permanent disease in another person; g) harming the health of another person; h) violence against spouses and minors within a person’s care; i) slavery; j) trafficking; k) sale of persons; l) kidnapping; m) sex offenses, including those committed against children; n) child prostitution and pornography; and o) failure to provide support.  The Code allows abortions to be performed as the only means of eliminating the threat of death or serious and irreversible harm to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman or fetus.

 

Law No. 6/2009 of 3 July 2009 amends the Penal Code to remove the health indication for abortion and to set detailed rules for the performance of allowed abortions.

 

GUATEMALA

 

Decree No. 9-2009 of 18 February 2009 approves a Law is aimed at fighting sexual violence, exploitation, and trafficking.  The Law amends the Penal Code to do the following, among other things: a) enlarge the definition of rape to include a number of penetrative sexual acts and include acts that are carried out using psychological, as well as physical force; b) increase penalties imposed on persons who commit rape; c) raise from 12 to 14 the minimum age of a victim of statutory rape; d) criminalize other forms of coerced sexual acts that do not constitute rape; e) increase the number of circumstances when additional penalties will be imposed on a person who commits rape, including when the victim is infected with a sexually transmitted disease, when the perpetrator is the spouse, ex-spouse, cohabitant or ex-cohabitant of the victim or is entrusted with the education, custody, or care of the victim, or when the victim is pregnant; e) criminalize the distribution of pornography to minors; f) criminalize using or providing others with the use of sexual images or communications of another person without consent; g) increase the penalties imposed on persons who promote or facilitate prostitution to include imprisonment; h) criminalize engaging in sex acts for money with a minor; i) criminalize the production, distribution, or possession of child pornography; j) criminalize using tourism to facilitate sexual acts involving minors; k) expand the definition of the crime of trafficking to conform to international standards and substantially increase penalties; and l) criminalize knowingly exposing another person to a sexually transmitted infection.  The Law also requires persons convicted of trafficking to provide compensation to victims for any harm suffered; provides protection to witnesses in trafficking offences; creates a government Secretariat to fight sexual violence, exploitation, and trafficking; and provides various benefits to the victims of these acts, among other things.

 

HUNGARY

 

Law No. 72 of 2009 regulates violence among family members.  It Law prohibits threatening and harming the physical and sexual health of family members or the right to sexual self determination.  It authorizes the issuance of orders to stay away from the family residence, to refrain from contacting family members, to restrict parental custody, and to maintain family support, among other things.  Further provisions of the Law deal with the following, among other things:  the duty of health services, child welfare services, educational institutions, and others to report risks of family violence, the protection of children by the child protection authorities, police activities to protect family members, and legal proceedings and appeals of decisions.  The Law enters into effect on 1 October 2009,

 

ITALY

 

Decree-Law No. 11 of 23 February 2009, coordinated and converted into Law by Law No. 38 of 23 April 2009, sets forth urgent measures to fight sexual violence.  These include the following, among other things:  a) increasing penalties imposed for a number of sex crimes; b) increasing penalties imposed for the crime of threatening another person, if it is committed by a divorced or separated spouse or committed against a minor or a pregnant woman; c) allowing a person who is being threatened by another to request that the police issue a warning; d) introducing the crime of stalking; e) authorizing a judge to order a person to stay away from places frequented by another person and to refrain from communicating with that person; f) extending to all victims of sexual abuse legal aid at state expense; and g) requiring mandatory pre-trial detention in prison for crimes of child prostitution, trafficking, slavery, child pornography, sexual tourism, sexual assault, and sexual acts with minors. 

 

NORWAY

 

Law No. 74 of 19 June 2009 amends the Penal Code to insert new and reformulated provisions on the following, among other things:  a) the prohibit the following, among other things:  a) transmission of a dangerous contagious disease, including a sexually transmitted disease—although the provision does not apply if a sexually transmitted disease is transmitted to a spouse or cohabitee who has consented to be subjected to the danger; b) forcing a person to marry; c) forcing, exploiting, or enticing a person into prostitution or into providing sexual services; c) bigamy or marrying a person under the age of 16; d) enslaving a person; e) mercy killing or facilitating suicide; f) abusing a spouse, relative, or household member; g) female genital mutilation; h) various sexual offenses, including those committed against minors; i) prostitution and pornography involving minors; j) pimping and buying sex from another person; k) some forms of pornography.  The amendments also amend Act No. 50 of 13 June 1975 on the termination of pregnancy to increase the penalties imposed on person who performs an abortion in violation of the Act.  They also repeal previous laws on female genital mutilation and trafficking.  The above summary takes into consideration made by Law No. 14 of 13 April 2007, which amended the Penal Code with respect to meeting a child for the purpose of committing sexual abuse.

 

Law No. 44 of 19 June 2009 is designed to ensure that good and comprehensive women's shelters are offered to women, men, and children who are exposed to violence or threats of violence in close relationships.  It requires municipalities to provide such shelters.  Provisions deal with special services for children, coordination with agencies offering other services, and information to be provided by the police about the commission of violent acts, among other things. 

 

PERU

 

Supreme Decree No. 003-2009-MIMDES or 26 March 2009 approves the National Plan against Violence against Women 2009-2015.  The objectives of the Plan are as follows: a) to guarantee the adoption and implementation of policies to confront the problem of violence against women with an inter-sectoral focus at the different levels of Government; b) to guarantee women affected by gender violence access to quality public services, including access to the health and judicial systems so as to overcome their status as victims; and c) to identify and promote the transformation of socio-cultural attitudes that legitimate, tolerate, and exacerbate violence against women so as to establish new forms of social relations between women and men.  The plan includes provisions on the following, among other things: a) characterization of the problem; b) the legal framework of the plan; c) confronting violence against women in national plans; focuses of the National Plan; d) management; e) a Plan of Action; f) the development of strategic objectives; g) monitoring and evaluation; and h) mechanisms for implementation of the Plan.

 

PORTUGAL

 

Law No. 112/2009 of 16 September 2009 is designed to prevent domestic violence and provide protection and assistance to victims.  It provides a wide range of rights to victims, including the following: the right to information, legal assistance and access to legal proceedings, protection, psychosocial support, restitution, protection of property, financial support, housing, family allowances, professional training, exemption from certain taxes, and clinical treatment.  They also have the right not to be victimized by the authorities and to be transferred to another workplace for protection.  The Law creates a network of centres to provide free support for victims, including shelters, support centres, and centres for special assistance.  It also obligates the Government to provide education on domestic violence in schools, to produce guides and manuals on domestic violence to families and the public, to promote national campaigns on domestic violence, and to carry out training on domestic violence for professionals.  Under the Law, the Government is responsible for developing and approving a National Plan against Domestic Violence.  Further provisions of the Law deal with the basic principles underlying the Law, the organization and functioning of shelters, and preliminary measures that a court may order pending full legal proceedings.  These include measures relating to weapons, leaving the common residence, and refraining from contacting victims.  The Law repeals Law No. 107/99 of 3 August 1999 and Decree-Law No. 323/2000 of 19 December 2000.

 

Law No. 104/2009 of 14 September 2009 approves a system for indemnifying the victims of violent crimes and domestic violence.  To receive indemnification, a victim of domestic violence must be in dire economic conditions as a result of domestic violence.  Provisions of the Law deal with the following, among other things: other requirements that victims must meet, calculation of the amount of indemnification, the creation of a Commission for the Protection of the Victims of Crime, and procedures to obtain indemnification.  The Law repeals Law No. 129/99 of 20 August 1999 and Decree-Law No. 423/91 of 30 October 1991.

 

ROMANIA

 

On 17 July 2009 Romania enacted a new Penal Code. The Code contains provisions on the following, among other things:  a) injuring the health of another person, including causing an abortion; b) injuring minors; c) domestic violence; d) abortion; e) injuring a fetus; f) sexual harassment; g) trafficking; h) prostitution; i) sex offenses, including sex offenses committed against minors; j) pornography involving minors; k) the transmission of a sexually transmitted disease or HIV; l) bigamy; m) failure to provide maintenance to family members; n) incest; o) withholding by one spouse of custody of a minor child from the other spouse; p) genocide; q) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; and r) rape or sexual assault, coerced prostitution, or forced sterilization in order to change the ethnic composition of a population.  Under the Code abortion may be performed on request during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy and later in pregnancy in the interest of the pregnant woman or fetus.  The Code repeals Law No. 301/2004, the previous Penal Code.

 

SERBIA

 

The Law amending the Criminal Code, 2009, amends the Criminal Code to do the following, among other things:  a) increase the penalties imposed for various sex offenses, prostitution, pornography, domestic violence, failure to provide family support, incest, and trafficking; b) enlarge the scope of the crime of trafficking; and c) create new crimes involving the use of computers for sex offenses.

 

SLOVENIA

 

A Resolution of 27 May 2009 approves the Program on the Prevention of Domestic Violence in the Family, 2009-2014.  The Resolution is a strategic document that determines the objectives, measures, and key policy makers to prevent and reduce domestic violence in Slovenia from 2009 to 2014. Its primary objective is to coordinate the actions of various ministries and to ensure effective action to reduce domestic violence. Concrete tasks and activities to achieve the objectives and implementation of individual measures will be identified in action plans to be produced every two years and will determine the precise timing and operational modalities.  Provisions deal with the legal bases of the Program, an analysis of the current situation, the policy strategy, and the key tasks of various government agencies, among other things.

 

URUGUAY

 

Decree No. 001-1706/2009 of 26 June 2009 of the Ministry of Public Health amends Decree No. 494/006 of 27 November 2006 on domestic violence to provide that attention and assistance in cases of domestic violence provided in public health establishments should be carried out in accordance with a guide on domestic violence produced by the Ministry of Public Health.  The guide is appended to the Decree.  The guide contains provisions on the following, among other things: a) the definition of domestic violence, particularly as a public health problem and a manifestation of gender violence; b) the legal framework for dealing with domestic violence; c) ways of addressing domestic violence by the health sector, including detecting domestic violence, interventions, questions to be asked victims, and assistance to be given to women; and d) prevention of health consequences and the promotion of health.

 

VIETNAM

 

Decree No. 8/2009/ND-CP of 4 May 2009 guides the implementation of Articles of the Law on domestic violence related to the following: a) the State’s policy on the prevention of domestic violence; b) citizen input on the prevention of domestic violence; c) measures to prohibit contact between perpetrators and victims; and d) support for the victims of domestic violence.  Provisions deal with the following, among other things: funding of efforts, family counseling, citizen complaints and suggestions about the fight against domestic violence, and health care, legal advice, counseling, housing, and basic material support for victims.

 

G.  Trafficking

 

ALGERIA

 

Law No. 09-01 of 25 February 2009 amends the Penal Code to insert new provisions on trafficking.  It criminalizes the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of a person –i) by the use or threat of use of force or other forms of constraint, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or abuse of a position of vulnerability; or ii) by the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to obtain the consent of a person having control or authority over another person, for the purpose of exploitation, including prostitution, sexual exploitation, forced labor, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude, or the removal of organs.  A person convicted of this crime is subject to three to ten years’ imprisonment and 300,000 to 1 million dinars.  Further provisions of the Law set forth circumstances when the penalties will be augmented or decreased and special provisions on the trafficking of organs and of illegal migrants.

 

JORDAN

A Law of 1 March 2009 is designed to prevent trafficking.  It prohibits trafficking, which is defined as the attraction, transfer, harboring, or receipt of human beings for the purpose of exploitation by the use of force, coercion, abduction, fraud, deception or abuse of power or a position of authority of weakness or the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent or of a person having authority over these people.  Exploitation includes forced labor, forced slavery or servitude, the removal of organs, or prostitution or any form of sexual exploitation.  A person convicted of trafficking is subject to not less than six months’ imprisonment and/or a fine of not less than 5,000 dinars.  Further provisions of the Law deal with the trafficking of children, the creation of a National Committee for the Prevention of Trafficking in Human Beings, and aggravating factors, among other things.

 

LITHUANIA

 

Order No. 1104 of 9 September 2009 approves the Program on the Prevention and Control of Trafficking 2009-2012.  The strategic objective of the Program is to consistently and systematically address the prevention and control of trafficking at the national level.  Specific aims include the following, among others:  protecting victims; providing victims with comprehensive assistance; and ensuring cross-border cooperation in fighting trafficking.   Provisions of the Program deal with factors that determine trafficking, expected results, program evaluation, program implementation and accountability, and a timetable of specific activities.

 

LUXEMBOURG

 

A Law of 13 March 2009 on trafficking in human beings inserts into Title VII, Book II, of the Penal Code a new Chapter VI-I entitled “Trafficking in human beings.”  It defines the crime of trafficking as the recruitment, transport, transfer, sheltering, receiving, or transfer of control of another person for the purpose of prostitution or sexual assault, labour exploitation or forced services, slavery or similar practices, organ transplantation, or the commission of crimes.  Persons convicted of trafficking are subject to three to five years’ imprisonment and payment of a fine.  Increased penalties are imposed in a number of circumstances, including when the victim is a minor, when violence or force is used, when the act endangers the life of the victim, or when the perpetrator is an ascendant of, or person with authority over, the victim.

 

A Law of 8 May 2009 sets forth provisions on assistance to and the protection and safety of victims of trafficking.  Victims are to be given housing, social and socio-educational assistance, psychological or therapeutic care, material and financial assistance, medical care, help with language if needed, and legal assistance.  Further provisions of the Law deal with the following, among other things:  assistance for unaccompanied minors, approval of centers that offer assistance, police duties to inform victims that they can receive assistance, police training, compiling statistics, and the establishment of a Committee to coordinate activities for the prevention of trafficking and the evaluation of the fight against trafficking

 

MAURITIUS

 

The Combatting of Tafficking in Persons Act 2009 (Act No. 2 of 2009), 30 July 2009, gives effect to the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in persons.  This Act defines “trafficking” as a) the recruitment, sale, supply, procurement, capture, removal, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of a person –i) by the use of threat, force, intimidation, coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or abuse of a position of vulnerability; or ii) by the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to obtain the consent of a person having control or authority over another person; or b) the adoption of a person facilitated or secured through illegal means, for the purpose of exploitation.  “Exploitation” is defined as: a) all forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, including forced marriage; b) sexual exploitation; c) forced labour; and d) the illegal removal of body organs.  The Act criminalizes trafficking, knowingly leasing premises for trafficking, advertising for trafficking, or benefiting from or enabling trafficking.  Further provisions of the Act deal with the following, among other things: centers for the victims of trafficking, repatriation of victims, compensation to victims, and reporting of trafficking.

 

MEXICO

 

Regulations of 11 February 2009 to the Law to Prevent and Punish Trafficking in Persons do the following, among other things: a) set forth the organization, administration, and responsibilities of the Intersectoral Commission to Prevent and Punish Trafficking in Persons, created by the Law; b) activities to be carried out by various government agencies to protect and provide assistance to victims; c) actions to be undertaken with respect to legal proceedings involving victims; and d) actions to be undertaken involving immigration proceedings.  Assistance to victims includes the provision of shelters, legal advice, physical and psychological care, information, and guaranteeing the safety of victims and witnesses.

 

H.  Constitutions

 

BOLIVIA

 

A new Constitution approved in 2009 provides the following, among other things: a) the State prohibits all forms of discrimination based on sex, color, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, origin, culture, nationality, citizenship, language, religious belief, ideology, political or philosophical affiliation, civil status, economic or social condition, occupation, education, disability, or pregnancy; b) the State shall adopt the measures necessary to prevent, eliminate, or sanction gender and generational violence; c) no person shall be subjected to servitude or slavery; d) the united health system shall be free and universal; e) the right to political participation shall be exercised in equal conditions between men and women; f) women have a right to safe maternity and enjoy special assistance and protection by the State during pregnancy, childbirth, and the pre- and postnatal periods; g) women may not be discriminated against or have their employment terminated because of civil status, pregnancy, age, or number of children; h) marriage is based on the equality of rights and duties of spouses; i) women and men are guaranteed the exercise of sexual and reproductive rights; and j) education shall be free and mandatory;

 

Further provisions of the Constitution deal with the following, among other things: the rights of foreigners; the rights to life, physical and sexual integrity, and not to be subjected physical, sexual, or psychological violence in the family or society (particularly women); the rights to food and water; the right to education without discrimination; the right to health without discrimination; the right to housing; the right to freedom of religion; the right to freedom of movement; the right to privacy; refugees; the right to a healthy environment; the right to universal access to health insurance and to medicaments; the right to social security, including maternity benefits; the rights to employment and occupational health; the rights of children and adolescents, including the right to a family or adoption and the right not to be subjected to violence in the family and elsewhere or forced labor or exploitation; filiation; cohabitation with the same effects as marriage; the equality of rights of spouses with respect to the home and children;  the rights of the aged, disabled, and prisoners; and nationality.

 

CAYMAN ISLANDS

 

A new Constitution of 10 June 2009 does the following, among other things:  a) recognizes the Christian values of the Cayman Islands; b) guarantees the right to life and freedom of conscience and religion; c) prohibits slavery; d) provides that the Government respects family and private life; e) provides that the Government respects the right of unmarried persons of the opposite consent to marry with full and free consent and found a family; f) provides that spouses have equal rights and shall be subject to equal responsibilities between themselves and with respect their children; g) prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with national minority, age, disability, birth, property, or other status (except if in conflict with “personal law”); h) guarantees the rights of the child, including against maltreatment and harmful or exploitative labor practices; and i) guarantees the rights to education and environmental protection.

 

SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES

 

A new Constitution of 3 September 2009 does the following, among other things: a) guarantees the rights to health, employment, equality, environmental protection; b) provides that the State acknowledges the family as the natural basic unit of society and accords the family recognition, respect, protection, and support, asserting that men and women of the age of civil, legal and societal responsibility have the right to establish a family; c) provides that the State shall recognize and protect marriage, which shall be a legal union only between two persons each of the opposite sex; d) guarantees protection of the aged and disabled and the rights of youth and children; e) ensures the rights of women by according to women equal access with men to academic, vocational and professional training, equal opportunities in employment, remuneration and promotion, and in social, political and cultural activity; f) provides that moral support is to be encouraged for mothers and children, including paid leave and other benefits for mothers and expectant mothers; g) provides that political parties are obliged to aspire to having not less than thirty percent of the combined total number of persons whose names are included on the Party List submitted by a party in accordance with section 98 of this Constitution as women and not less than thirty percent of that combined total as men; h) ensures the equality of children born out of wedlock; h) guarantees the rights to life, security of the person, protection of privacy, and freedom of movement; i) prohibits slavery and servitude; j) guarantees the rights of all persons regardless of race, place of origin, political opinions, colour, creed, or sex; and j) provides that the age of legal responsibility and marriage is 18.

 

VENEZUELA

 

A new Constitution of 15 February 2009 provides the following, among other things; a) discrimination on the basis of race, sex, belief, or social condition is not permitted; b) family relations are based on the equality of rights and duties; couples have the right to decide freely and responsibly on the number of children and to access to the information and means to do so; d) the State shall ensure integral family planning services; d) the State guarantees the equality of men and women in employment; and e) discrimination based on race, sex, belief, age, politics or any other matter is prohibited.  Further provisions of the Constitution deal with the following, among other things: a) nationality, b) the rights to life, physical integrity, privacy, and freedom of movement; c) protection of the family and the head of the family; d) the rights of children, youth, the aged, and the disabled; e) the protection of women and maternity from the moment of conception through the period after childbirth; f) the mutual reciprocal rights and duties of parents and children; g) the protection of marriage based on free consent and the absolute equality of spouses; h) the right to housing, health, social security, and employment; i) occupational health, j) the protection of working adolescents; k) the right to free and mandatory education; and l) protection of the environment.