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State Dept. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2005 03/18/06

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U.S. Department of State

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices  - 2006
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
March 6, 2007

http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006/

 

 

Excerpts pertaining to LGBT- and HIV/AIDS-related incidents

 

(unless otherwise specified, the excerpts below are from each country’s

Section 5 subparagraph labeled “Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination”)

 

Compiled from State Dept. reports by Richard J. Rosendall

Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C.

 

Afghanistan

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

The law prohibits such practices; however, there were reports of abuses. For example, human rights organizations reported that local authorities in Herat, Helmand, Badakhshan, and other locations continued to routinely torture and abuse detainees. Torture and abuse consisted of pulling out fingernails and toenails, burning with hot oil, beatings, sexual humiliation, and sodomy.

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Children

The AIHRC conducted a study on child sexual abuse this year revealed that girls were more vulnerable than boys. Sixty percent of child sexual abuse victims were girls, whereas 35 percent were boys (the remainder of victims surveyed did not record their gender). Eighteen percent of respondents knew of other children who had suffered sexual abuse. Five percent of victims said a female cousin had been sexually abused, and 2.7 percent of victims said a male cousin had also been sexually abused. When asked where the abuse took place, 45.5 percent of child victims had been sexually abused at home. Abuse in alleys or villages (27 percent), by shopkeepers in stores (10.8 percent), mountainous areas (8.3 percent), and hotels (2.7) percent was also common. Only 29 percent of victims had approached relevant authorities for help after the abuse, citing a lack of trust in the judicial system, fear of consequences and lack of family permission as the main reasons. Only 35 percent of victims who did file complaints were satisfied with the outcome. Article 427 of the penal code reads that "any person who conducts adultery or sodomy with a female or sodomy with a male shall be sentenced to lengthened imprisonment in accordance with the circumstances." Article 247 authorizes lengthened punishment (not to exceed ten years), "if the victim has not attained the age of 18." Article 430 more explicitly criminalizes sexual exploitation of children: "Any person who incites a male or female, who has not completed the age of 18, to engaging in debauchery as a profession or facilitates such an engagement, shall be sentenced to intermediate imprisonment, no less than three years."

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

The law criminalizes homosexual activity; however, the prohibition was only sporadically enforced. However, a recent UNHCR report noted that, homosexual persons commonly hid their sexual orientation. Many observers believed that societal disapproval of homosexuality was partly the cause for the prevalence of rape of young boys. During the year the Taliban published a new set of rules that explicitly forbade the recruitment of young boys for sexual pleasure.

Albania

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

The constitution and law prohibit such actions; however, the police and prison guards at times beat and abused suspects and detainees. The Albanian Helsinki Committee (AHC) and the Albanian Human Rights Group (AHRG) continued to report that police nationwide used excessive force or inhumane treatment. According to the AHRG, most mistreatment took place at the time of arrest or initial detention. Roma, Balkan-Egyptians, and homosexuals were particularly vulnerable to police abuse (see section 5).

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

The law prohibits discrimination based on race, gender, ethnicity, disability, language, or social status; however, discrimination against women, Balkan-Egyptians, Roma, and homosexuals persisted.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

NGOs claimed that police targeted the country's homosexual community for abuse. According to the Albanian Gay and Lesbian Association, the police often arbitrarily arrested homosexuals and then physically and verbally abused them while they were in detention. In August police arrested the secretary general of Gay Albania, a gay rights NGO, and three others on prostitution charges. The AHRG carried out an investigation and reported that while in detention the four were mistreated by other prisoners and insulted by prison forces. The AHRG also reported that media coverage of this arrest did not respect the privacy of the arrested, including their HIV status, and was manipulated to propagate antihomosexual stereotypes and further discrimination. A 2006 UN Development Program report on HIV/AIDS in the country stated that citizens perceived little confidentiality in their HIV test results. Social stigmatization and severe discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS were also common.

According to the ombudsman's office, in 2005 police at the Tirana police commissariat detained, insulted, and physically mistreated a member of the Gay Albania association. Medical experts verified the mistreatment, and the ombudsman's office started an investigation. No action had been taken against the police by year's end.

Algeria

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Women

In July the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the Ministry of Health initiated a series of training sessions for imams and mourchidates (female guides) in order to better address social and medical issues, including HIV/AIDS. As part of the program, 100 copies of a national guide on Islam and HIV/AIDS were distributed to the attendees.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Because of societal and religious pressures, AIDS is considered a shameful disease in Algeria. According to December statistics released by the Ministry of Health, 2,092 citizens are HIV-positive. During the year, the health ministry launched an AIDS prevention campaign, stressing the need to avoid discrimination, especially in the workplace, against those with AIDS and those who are HIV-positive.

Andorra

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

An ombudsman received and addressed complaints, some of which were against the government's policies. The ombudsman was free of government control, and the government was generally responsive to the ombudsman's recommendations. The ombudsman, who is elected by consensus of all political parties, is authorized to hear and investigate complaints by private citizens against government officials or agencies. The ombudsman advised the government to follow World Health Organization recommendations concerning work and residence permits for immigrants. The government's denial of permits to people with certain diseases, including those affected by the HIV virus, is a practice that the ombudsman stated could violate human rights.

Angola

The law criminalizes sodomy. HIV/AIDS was openly discussed. In December 2005 President Dos Santos inaugurated a new building for the National Institute for HIV/AIDS and was supportive of HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention campaigns. However, discrimination against homosexuals and those with HIV/AIDS occurred. The government promulgated a law that criminalizes discrimination against those with HIV/AIDS, but lack of enforcement allowed employers to discriminate against and treat unfairly those with the condition. There were no reports of violence against those with HIV/AIDS. Local NGOs had been established to combat stigmatization and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS. The FAA implemented educational programs to discourage discrimination against HIV-positive military personnel and prevent the spread of the disease.

Antigua and Barbuda

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

The constitution specifically prohibits such practices, and the authorities generally respected these prohibitions in practice. Nonetheless, there were occasional reports of police brutality, corruption, excessive force, discrimination against homosexuals, and allegations of abuse by prison guards.

Armenia

1 c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

The constitution and law prohibit discrimination based on race, gender, disability, language, or social status, but there was societal discrimination against women, ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, and homosexuals.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Persons who were openly gay were exempted from military service, purportedly because of concerns that they would be abused by fellow servicemen. The local Helsinki Association and other observers reported cases of police harassment of homosexuals through blackmail, extortion, and, on occasion, violence.

On August 9, an openly gay businessman was found dead in his apartment. The police investigation focused mainly on the man's possible sexual partners. Local observers reported that in the course of the police investigation, officers indiscriminately rounded up gay men in a city park for questioning.

Australia

In 2003 the NSW government released a study of violence against homosexuals, which found that more than half of the survey participants had experienced one or more forms of abuse, harassment, or violence in the previous 12 months. The report also found that two or more persons who were unknown to the victim perpetrated most incidents of harassment or violence and that homosexuals of Middle Eastern background suffered exclusion, assaults, and stalking from family or community members. Although no more recent studies were available on the subject, there were anecdotal media reports that such problems continued.

Federal and various state laws prohibit discrimination on the grounds of HIV positive status. In the 12 months ending June 30, there were 12 discrimination complaints lodged with the federal disability discrimination commissioner, which is part of HREOC, on the grounds of HIV/AIDS status. These complaints also were included in the total of 561 disability-related complaints to HREOC.

Austria

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

According to the IHF, the criminalization of homosexuality continued to be an issue. A majority in parliament has not supported calls by the Green Party for the legalization of gay marriages.

Azerbaijan

The government did not officially condone discrimination based on sexual orientation; however, there was societal prejudice against homosexuals.

Bahamas

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Children

The Ministry of Social Services is responsible for abandoned children up to 18 years of age but had very limited resources at its disposal. The government found foster homes for some children, and the government hospital housed eight abandoned children (all of whom had physical disabilities) during the year when foster homes could not be found. During the year the government also opened a home to house orphaned children infected with HIV/AIDS.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Societal discrimination against homosexuals occurred, with some persons reporting job and housing discrimination based upon sexuality. Although homosexual relations between consenting adults are legal, there was no legislation to address the human rights concerns of homosexuals, lesbians, bisexuals, or transgendered persons. In March the Constitutional Review Commission found that sexual orientation did not deserve protection against discrimination. The government banned a film containing homosexual content, sponsored an antihomosexual rally, and included antihomosexual content in public schools.

On February 22, a private security guard allegedly beat Loxsley Bastian as a result of his sexual orientation. Bastian alleged that in response to the incident, police hit him, used slurs against him, and failed to take appropriate action against the security guard. Police denied wrongdoing, claiming Bastian was abusive and disruptive.

Bahrain

The law does not criminalize homosexual relationships between consenting adults of at least 21 years of age. According to BHRS reports of violence or discrimination against homosexuals were not common. Also, persons with HIV/AIDS did not commonly experience discrimination. However, reports of crimes in the media did not regularly specify if a victim of a crime was an alleged homosexual or had HIV/AIDS. While discrimination was not common or apparent, both attributes are socially taboo and not widely covered in the media.

Bangladesh

Homosexual acts are illegal; however, in practice the law is rarely invoked. The law states that "whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman, or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall be liable to fine."

There were a few informal support networks for homosexual men, but organizations to assist lesbians were almost non-existent.

Incidents of attacks on homosexuals were difficult to track because victims' desired confidentiality and local human rights groups did not monitor this area, but they were known to occur. Government safeguards in this area were nonexistent. There were few studies on homosexuality in the county, and information was difficult to collect. According to one report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) in 2002, homosexual men were subject to harassment and rape by police and local criminals without proper methods of recourse, due to societal discrimination. HRW also found that homosexual men often faced threats of extortion. According to HRW considerable official and societal discrimination existed against those who provided HIV prevention services and against high-risk groups likely to spread HIV/AIDS.

Barbados

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Women

Prostitution is illegal, but it remained a problem, fueled by poverty and tourism. The media reported on prostitution, usually in the context of its role in the upcoming Cricket World Cup in 2007 and concern over HIV/AIDS. There is no statute specifically prohibiting sexual tourism, and no statistics on it, but anecdotal evidence suggested that it occurred.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There are no laws that prohibit discrimination against a person on the basis of sexual orientation in employment, housing, education, or health care. Although no statistics were available, anecdotal evidence suggested that societal discrimination against homosexuals occurred.

The government initiated programs designed to discourage discrimination against HIV/AIDS-infected persons and others living with them. The International Labor Organization operated a three-year program to reduce risk behavior among targeted workers and to reduce employment-related discrimination among persons with HIV/AIDS. Seven enterprises adopted workplace policies, and stakeholders met to discuss developing a national strategic plan on HIV/AIDS.

Belarus

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

Prison conditions remained austere and were marked by occasional shortages of food and medicine and the spread of diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Homosexuality is not illegal; however societal discrimination against homosexuals was a problem. Homophobia was widespread, and instances of harassment occurred in all spheres of society. According to the local TEMA gay rights group, government-controlled media tried to decrease participation in the protests following the March presidential election by saying they were part of a "gay revolution." In 2005 state media attempted to discredit the opposition by associating it with homosexuality. On July 31, state media BT broadcast on national television a police expose of a Latvian diplomat assigned to the country whom authorities accused of distributing pornography (see section 1.f.). The program targeted the diplomat because of his sexual orientation and included several minutes of hidden-camera footage of the diplomat watching pornography and engaging in homosexual activities. The police dropped the investigation in October.

On November 8, police raided an apartment where TEMA members gathered to organize an international Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual Conference scheduled for November 10. Police seized conference materials and detained members for questioning at a police station. Four TEMA activists were released; three remained in detention over night. TEMA leaders subsequently canceled the conference.

Societal discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS remained a problem despite greater awareness of the disease and increasing tolerance towards people infected with HIV/AIDS. For example, maternity wards no longer separate HIV/AIDS-infected mothers from those not infected. However, the UNAIDS office reported that attitudes towards HIV/AIDS patients remained complicated, and there were still numerous reports of HIV-infected individuals who faced discrimination or were afraid to disclose their illness.

Belgium

In its annual report for 2005, the CEOOR noted an increase in nonracial complaints. These cases concerned discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation, health condition, and age. Courts have occasionally convicted landlords refusing to lease to same-sex couples, and a judge in Brussels convicted one youth for savagely beating a gay couple. The CEOOR also handled numerous complaints regarding insurance companies discriminating on age, health, and disability grounds.

The country permits homosexual marriages, and same-sex couples can adopt children.

Belize

There was some societal discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS, and the government worked to combat it through the public education efforts of the National AIDS Commission (NAC) under the Ministry of Human Development and through the Pan-American Social Marketing Organization, which received foreign government assistance. In December 2005 the country adopted a national HIV/AIDS policy that promotes voluntary counseling and testing. Shortly thereafter, the BDF announced its intent to implement a policy requiring HIV testing for all new recruits. After the NAC expressed concern that BDF's policy was inconsistent with national policy, the NAC undertook a dialogue with BDF to synchronize BDF's HIV testing requirements with the national policy. No agreement had been reached by the end of the year.

Bolivia

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

The law provides that prisoners have access to medical assistance, but prisons lacked adequate health care, and it was difficult for prisoners to get permission for outside medical treatment. Of the country's 14 jails, five failed to provide doctors or medical assistance. NGOs and prisoners reported tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS in the jails. The government was unaware of the number of ill prisoners. However, affluent prisoners could obtain transfers to preferred prisons or even to outside private institutional care for "medical" reasons. Inmates who could pay had access to drugs and alcohol.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

While the law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, it was not enforced in practice, and there was frequent societal discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons.

The NGO Global Rights reported during the year on the country's compliance under international and European legal frameworks to uphold the rights of sexual minorities. The report stated that the country did not provide the full range of protection envisaged under these instruments to members of sexual minority communities and that social and cultural stigma contributed to instances of discrimination. The report cited the limited means available for redress against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, as well as a lack of legal provisions directly addressing discrimination based on gender identity or expression.

Sexual minorities who were open about their orientation were frequently fired from their jobs. In some cases, dismissal letters explicitly stated that sexual orientation was the cause of termination, making it extremely difficult for them to find another job. Some gay teens were harassed at school and were kicked out or ran away from home after revealing their orientation to their parents.

Some teachers described homosexuality as deviant behavior when presenting the public school curriculum on health and sexuality to their students.

According to unreliable government statistics, there were less than a hundred cases of HIV/AIDS in the country. There was a significant stigma against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Botswana

Discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS continued to be a problem, including in the workplace. The government funded community organizations that ran programs to reduce the stigma of HIV/AIDS.

The law prohibits homosexuality, but there were no reports of enforcement action by the authorities. There were, however, reports of societal discrimination and harassment of homosexuals.

Brazil

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

Prisoners were subjected to unhealthy medical and sanitary conditions. Scabies and tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and hepatitis were widespread in Sao Paulo State prisons. According to local NGOs, infectious diseases reached endemic levels. The HIV/AIDS infection rate among prisoners was between 20 and 30 percent. The Ministry of Health reported frequent incidence of skin infections, respiratory problems, HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases, and tuberculosis among the general prison population of Sao Paulo State. The Catholic Church's Ministry for the Incarcerated in Sao Paulo reported that in several of the city's police jails, most detainees suffered from skin or respiratory illnesses, and prison administration officials reported that many prisoners who transferred into the Sao Paulo penitentiary system became infected in police jails. Denial of first aid and other medical care sometimes was used as a form of punishment.

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Women

The government acted to combat violence against women. Each state secretariat for public security operated delegacias da mulher (DEAM). These police stations are dedicated exclusively to addressing crimes against women. The quality of services varied widely, and availability was particularly limited in isolated areas. The stations provided psychological counseling, temporary shelter, hospital treatment for victims of domestic violence and rape (including treatment for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases).

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

State and federal laws prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, and the federal and state governments generally enforced these laws, as there was a history of societal violence against homosexuals.

The Secretariat of State Security in Rio de Janeiro State in partnership with NGOs operated a hot line and offered professional counseling services to victims of antihomosexual crimes.

According to the NGO Bahian Gay Group, 81 homicides of homosexuals were reported between January and July, compared with 63 killed during the same period in 2005.

There were incidents of violent attacks against homosexuals carried out by neo-Nazi groups in the southern part of the country. In March and April a group or groups of neo-Nazi skinheads attacked several homosexuals in the Jardim Paulista neighborhood of metropolitan Sao Paulo.

Bulgaria

Although the law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, the government did not effectively enforce this provision in practice. Although incidents of violence against sexual minorities were rare, societal discrimination was a problem, manifesting itself primarily as discrimination in employment. Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community were sometimes refused employment on the grounds of sexual orientation or fired after revealing their sexual identity, although gay rights activists reported that such incidents were becoming less common.

According to the Bulgarian Foundation for Aiding HIV/AIDS Patients, several HIV-positive patients were denied appropriate medical treatment. The main reason cited by doctors was the lack of the legislatively-mandated isolation room. Patients reported hiding the fact that they are HIV positive in order to receive medical care.

Gemini, a gay-rights organization, filed three cases with the Committee on Protection Against Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation discrimination. The committee ruled in Gemini's favor in all three cases.

Burkina Faso

Societal discrimination against homosexuals and persons with HIV/AIDS were problems. Persons who tested positive for HIV/AIDS were sometimes shunned by their families, and HIV/AIDS positive wives were sometimes evicted from their homes. In addition there were reports that some house owners refused to rent lodgings to persons with HIV/AIDS.

Homosexuals were discriminated against and were at times victims of verbal and physical abuse. Both religious and traditional beliefs were intolerant of homosexuality.

Burma

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

Prison and labor camp conditions generally remained harsh and life threatening. The Department of Prisons operated approximately 35 prisons and 70 labor camps (see section 6.c.). Food, clothing, and medical supplies reportedly were in very short supply in prisons. There were reports that authorities in some prisons forced prisoners to pay for their own food. Bedding consisted of a single mat on the floor. Prisoners were forced to rely on their families, who were allowed one or two visits per month, for basic necessities. Prisoners were held without being charged for weeks or months, and until a prisoner was officially charged with a crime, families could not visit or send critical supplementary food. HIV/AIDS infection rates in prisons reportedly were high due to communal use of syringes for injections and sexual abuse by other prisoners.

2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

c. Freedom of Religion

On August 13, authorities detained 11 HIV/AIDS activists at Maggin Monastery near Rangoon as they prepared for a ceremony to honor HIV/AIDS victims. Also in August local authorities pressured and intimidated Sayadaw Einthariya, a monk from Mahasi Yeiktha Monastery in Yenangyaung Township, Magway Division, to stop assisting HIV/AIDS victims (see section 5).

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

In February the government released guidelines for controlling the activities of humanitarian organizations; however, the Burmese language version contained measures that were more restrictive than those in the English language version. UN agencies and NGOs negotiated with the government throughout the year to try to reach agreement on mutually acceptable guidelines. Organizations already present in the country reported few changes in their operations, and a multidonor consortium to address HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis negotiated separate arrangements.

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Children

Children under the age of 18 constituted approximately 40 percent of the population. Children were at high risk, as deteriorating economic conditions forced destitute parents to take them out of school to work in factories and teashops or to beg. Some were placed in orphanages. With few or no skills, increasing numbers of children worked in the informal economy or in the street, where they were exposed to drugs, petty crime, risk of arrest, sexual abuse and exploitation, and HIV/AIDS.

The government invited UNICEF to visit military recruitment centers, but UNICEF declined because it deemed government organized tours to be of little value. UNICEF offered to help reintegrate discharged underage soldiers into society and to conduct awareness workshops for trainers of military recruiters in international humanitarian law, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the country's child laws, and HIV/AIDS. The government did not formally respond to UNICEF's offer.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Many citizens viewed homosexuals with scorn. Penal code provisions against "sexually abnormal" behavior were applied to charge gays and lesbians who drew unfavorable attention to themselves. Nevertheless, homosexuals had a certain degree of protection through societal traditions. Transgender performers commonly provided entertainment at traditional observances. Some were spirit (nat) worshippers and, as such, had special standing in the society. They participated in a well established week long festival held near Mandalay every year. The event was considered a religious event, free of sexual overtones or activities, and was officially approved by the government. No one, including the military or police, interfered with the festival.

HIV positive patients were discriminated against, although HIV activists reported that awareness campaigns helped to reduce discrimination and stigma. However, some persons reportedly were reluctant to visit clinics that treat HIV/AIDS patients for fear of being suspected of having the disease.

In August local authorities pressured and intimidated Sayadaw Einthariya, a monk from Mahasi Yeiktha Monastery in Yenangyaung, Magway Division, to stop assisting HIV/AIDS victims, claiming it was unsuitable conduct for a monk. He was threatened with arrest by the township clergy coordination committee. The pressure appeared to be inspired by political rather than religious considerations, since the monk had cooperated with NLD activists supporting HIV/AIDS programs in the absence of any viable government program for HIV/AIDS patients.

On August 13, authorities detained 11 HIV/AIDS activists at Maggin Monastery near Rangoon as they prepared for a ceremony to honor HIV/AIDS victims. The authorities claimed the group, which had ties to the NLD and the 88 Generation Students, had not properly registered to stay overnight at the monastery. The authorities reportedly pressured the monastery to select a new senior abbot more supportive of the regime. On August 14, the authorities released the activists without charging them.

Burundi

The constitution specifically outlaws any discrimination against those with HIV/AIDS or other incurable illnesses. There were no reports of government-sponsored discrimination against such individuals, although some observers suggested that the government was not actively involved in preventing societal discrimination.

The constitution bans marriage between individuals of the same sex. According to a local law professor, this same-sex marriage ban, given cultural attitudes, constitutes a legal prohibition of homosexuality. Societal discrimination against homosexuals was widespread, although they maintained a very low profile.

Cambodia

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Trafficking in Persons

Trafficking victims, especially those trafficked for sexual exploitation, faced the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS. In some cases victims were detained and physically and mentally abused by traffickers, brothel owners, and clients.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Societal discrimination against those infected with HIV/AIDS remained a problem in rural areas; however, discrimination was moderated by HIV/AIDS awareness programs. There was no official discrimination against those infected with HIV/AIDS.

Cameroon

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention

Role of the Police and Security Apparatus

Citizens viewed police as ineffective, which frequently resulted in mob "justice" (see section 1.a.). It was widely believed that individuals paid bribes to law enforcement and the judiciary to secure their freedom. Police officers and members of the gendarmerie were widely viewed as corrupt officials who frequently and arbitrarily arrested and detained citizens. Police demanded bribes at checkpoints, and influential citizens reportedly paid police to make arrests or abuse individuals involved in personal disputes. Private disputes, such as feuds between business partners, frequently resulted in one party making allegations of impropriety or homosexuality about the other and involving the security forces.

Arrest and Detention

On April 17, gendarmes from the Yaounde-Kondengui brigade arrested and briefly detained Alice Nkom, a prominent Douala-based lawyer. She was visiting her clients, alleged homosexuals who had been awaiting trial for several months, in the Yaounde central prison. Nkom took some pictures of her clients but was prevented from continuing by prison wardens, who claimed she had no right to take pictures. Nkom told them that there was no law prohibiting her actions. Unable to cite a law backing their claim, prison officials called the gendarmes to have Nkom removed.

2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

a. Freedom of Speech and Press

During the year approximately 200 privately owned newspapers were published; however, only an estimated 25 were published on a regular basis, primarily for lack of funding. Mutations, La Nouvelle Expression, and Le Messager were the only privately owned daily newspapers. Newspapers were distributed primarily in urban areas, and most continued to criticize the government and report on controversial issues, including corruption, human rights abuses, homosexuality, and economic policies. However, the government used criminal libel laws to inhibit the press by criminalizing the propagation of false information.

On March 3, a Yaounde court sentenced Jean-Pierre Amougou Belinga, publisher of the Yaounde-based weekly L'Anecdote, to four months in jail on defamation charges. In February Belinga published a list of alleged homosexuals, which included Gregoire Owona, a government member, who filed a libel suit. The court ruling found only that the publisher could not substantiate his claim. The court fined Belinga $2,000 (one million CFA francs) and ordered him to pay symbolic damages to the plaintiff and publish the ruling in several newspapers. Similar suits were filed by Owona and by Jean-Pierre Mayo, the general manager of the Yaounde-based National Social Insurance Fund hospital, against Biloa Ayissi, publisher of the Yaounde-based weekly Nouvelle Afrique. In the Owona case, the court sentenced Ayissi on March 24 to six months in jail for defamation, fined him $2,000 (one million CFA francs), ordered him to pay symbolic damages to the plaintiff and to publish the ruling in several newspapers and some electronic media. In the Mayo case, the court ordered Ayissi to pay $6,000 (three million CFA francs) in damages.

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

The law does not explicitly forbid discrimination based on race, language, or social status, but does prohibit discrimination based on gender and mandates that "everyone has equal rights and obligations." The government, however, did not enforce these provisions effectively. Violence and discrimination against women, trafficking in persons, discrimination against ethnic minorities, and discrimination against homosexuals were problems.

Women

There were no developments in the 2005 case of a foreign pharmaceutical company that had conducted a clinical study of a drug intended to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS among 400 female prostitutes, none of whom had HIV at the beginning of the trial. Local and international NGOs criticized the company and the Ministry of Health for lack of transparency and negligence, asserting that the government and the company did not sufficiently inform the prostitutes of the risks involved with taking part in the trials. In response to the allegations of misconduct, the Ministry of Health suspended the clinical tests in 2005, citing "dysfunctions" and saying that "certain corrective measures" needed to be taken by the research team. The minister also set up an independent inquiry, which reported that although allegations about safety made by certain NGOs were not true, new procedures needed to be instituted to ensure more regular reporting and study site accreditation before the trials could resume.

Trafficking in Persons

In May 2005 police arrested three members of a homosexual and pedophile network of child traffickers. The three were formally charged and put under detention in the Yaounde central prison pending trial.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Homosexual activity is illegal, with a possible prison sentence of six months to five years and a possible fine ranging from approximately $40 to $400 (20,000 to 200,000 CFA francs). While prosecution under this law was rare, homosexuals suffered from harassment and extortion by law enforcement officials. In addition, false allegations of homosexuality were used to harass enemies or to extort money.

There were new developments in the May 2005 arrest of 17 suspected homosexuals; five of whom were released shortly after their arrest for lack of evidence. On June 12, the Yaounde First Instance Court found the remaining men guilty of sodomy and sentenced them to 10 months in jail, although they were subsequently released for time served.

In June the administration of the Douala-based Eyengue Nkongo College, a private high school, expelled 34 students (including 12 females), alleging they were homosexuals. One female student was arrested upon her expulsion. One woman who lived near the school and two former schoolmates were also arrested. On July 7, the Douala First Instance Court released them after giving them a suspended three-year prison term and a fine of $50 (25,000 CFA francs) on homosexuality charges.

Canada

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

A July 2005 law extended equal access to civil marriage to same-sex couples.

Women

The 2004 General Social Survey estimated that 7 percent of citizens 15 years of age or over in a current, previous, or common-law union experienced spousal violence in the previous five years. Approximately 4 percent of men and women in current marital or common-law relationships experienced physical or sexual violence committed by their partner. Indigenous (aboriginal) people were three times more likely to be victims of spousal violence than nonindigenous people. The rate of spousal violence among those who were gay or lesbian was twice that of the reported violence experienced by heterosexuals. Women were more likely than men to report that they were injured as a result of the violence (44 percent compared with 18 percent).

Central African Republic

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Children

Corruption in the education system continued to be a problem. According to numerous credible reports, male teachers in primary and secondary schools and at the university level routinely pressured their female students into having sexual relationships in exchange for passing grades; the spread of HIV/AIDS was extremely prevalent between teachers and their female students.

There were more than 6,000 street children between the ages of five and 18 residing in the country, including 3,000 in Bangui. Many experts believed that HIV/AIDS and a belief in sorcery, particularly in rural areas, contributed to the large number of street children. An estimated 110,000 children have lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS, and children accused of sorcery (often reportedly in relation to HIV/AIDS-related deaths in their neighborhoods) were often expelled from their households. Many street children begged and stole; several charitable organizations provided them with humanitarian assistance.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

The penal code criminalizes homosexual behavior; however, there were no reports that police arrested or detained persons they believed to be homosexual. Societal discrimination against homosexuals existed during the year.

Chad

Societal discrimination continued to be practiced against homosexuals and those afflicted with HIV/AIDS.

Chile

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

The government permitted prison visits by independent human rights observers, and such visits took place. These included regular visits by Catholic and Protestant clerics and the NGO Paternitas. Amnesty International and the International Committee of the Red Cross were also granted access to facilities and prisoners. Prisoner rights groups continued to investigate alleged use of excessive force against detainees and particularly were concerned with the treatment of prisoners in maximum security prisons. Prisoners with HIV/AIDS and mental disabilities allegedly failed to receive adequate medical attention.

2 Respect for Civil Liberties, including:

c. Freedom of Religion

Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Neo-Nazi and skinhead groups engaged in gang-type criminal activities and violence against immigrants, homosexuals, punk rockers, and anarchists.

China (Taiwan only)

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

Homosexual rights advocacy groups claim that government law enforcement agencies monitored Internet chat room and bulletin-board exchanges between adults (see section 2.a.).

2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including

a. Freedom of Speech and Press

On October 26, the Constitutional Court (CC) held that freedom of publication is not an absolute right, stipulating that certain sexually explicit materials are protected only as long as they are properly packaged and labeled. Based on the CC interpretation, the owner of a gay bookstore appealed his 2005 conviction for violating the criminal code, which bans the sale, circulation, and public display of obscene publications. The owner argued the magazines were legally imported from Hong Kong and had been properly packaged in opaque wrappers as required by adult publications ordinances.

Internet Freedom

Homosexual rights advocacy groups claim that government law enforcement agencies monitored Internet chat room and bulletin-board exchanges between adults. Several NGOs reported that law enforcement officials prosecuted and punished adults for posting sexually suggestive messages. According to one NGO, police used Internet network addresses to identify individual perpetrators, who were then charged. Critics noted the law has no age limitation and asserted that police enforcement against adults violated free speech rights.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

According to gay rights activists, anti-homosexual violence was rare, but societal discrimination against homosexuals and persons with HIV and AIDS was a problem. It was reported that some politicians and religious groups made derogatory remarks about the homosexual community. Free speech advocates alleged the government prejudicially applied obscenity laws to punish a seller of legally imported gay pornography (see section 2.a.).

There were no laws prohibiting homosexual activities. While the authorities were committed to protecting homosexual rights, discrimination against some groups continued.

The 2004 Gender Equality Education Law stipulated that except for traditionally male- or female-only schools, educational institutions cannot discriminate against prospective employees or students based on gender or sexual preference. All schools were obligated to establish curricula to foster greater tolerance of non-traditional gender roles. Homosexual rights activists welcomed the law but criticized government enforcement as inadequate.

On September 17, some 5,000 persons took part in the fourth annual gay rights rally; calling for society to respect the civil rights of the country's estimated one million homosexuals.

The national health insurance system provides free screening and treatment, including antiretroviral therapy, for the estimated 12,000 HIV-infected nationals.

China (includes Tibet, Hong Kong, and Macau)

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention

Arrest and Detention

Citizens who were reportedly detained with no or severely delayed notice included HIV/AIDS activist Hu Jia, blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng, attorney Zhu Jiuhu, petitioner advocate Hou Wenzhuo, and writer Guo Feixiong (also known as Yang Maodong). On February 16, Hu Jia was detained and held incommunicado for 41 days, until March 28 (see sections 1.d. and 4). During Hu's detention, police questioned him about his contacts with rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng. On August 15, Gao was likewise detained and thereafter held incommunicado by government authorities.

2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

a. Freedom of Speech and Press

The government prohibited some foreign and domestic films from appearing in the country. In September the State Administration for Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) imposed a five-year filmmaking ban on director Lou Ye. SARFT banned Lou from showing his film Summer Palace, which is set during the 1989 Tiananmen protests, because he failed to obtain proper authorization. In February authorities detained filmmaker and foreign resident Wu Hao after Wu arranged an interview with rights attorney Gao Zhisheng. Wu, who was filming a documentary about unregistered churches, was released in July. Earlier in the year, SARFT banned distribution and screening of Mission Impossible III, on grounds that it depicted Shanghai in an unflattering light. Other foreign films banned during the year included Brokeback Mountain, based on its depiction of homosexuality and Memoirs of a Geisha, due to the controversy over ethnic Chinese actors playing Japanese characters.

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Freedom of Association

Authorities supported the growth of some civil society organizations that address social problems such as poverty and HIV/AIDS. Over the past two years, officials increased measures aimed at supervising and controlling civil society organizations; however, various NGOs were still able to develop their own agendas, although the registered organizations all came under some degree of government control. Prominent activist Hu Jia resigned from an organization he helped establish to assist HIV/AIDS orphans, citing pressure on the organization's international donors. On November 24, HIV/AIDS activist Wan Yanhai was detained for three days in Beijing. Wan was forced to cancel an HIV/AIDS rights related workshop planned for November 26. Officials reportedly were concerned because workshop attendees included human rights lawyers (see section 5).

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

No laws criminalize private homosexual activity between consenting adults. Societal discrimination and strong pressure to conform to family expectations deterred most gay individuals from publicly discussing their sexual orientation. Published reports stated that more than 80 percent of gay men married because of social pressure. In what officials said was a campaign against pornography, authorities blocked the overseas Web site gaychinese.net for three months. Other Internet sites on gay issues that were not sexually explicit were also blocked during the year.

Under the new contagious disease law and adopted regulations, employment discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B is forbidden, and provisions allow such persons to work as civil servants. However, discrimination against the estimated 650,000 persons with HIV/AIDS and approximately 10 million hepatitis B carriers remained widespread in many areas. Hospitals and physicians sometimes refused to treat HIV-positive patients. During the year a number of hepatitis B carriers sued local government institutions to enforce their rights to work and study. While they won judgments in some cases, widespread discrimination remains. In October the Ministry of Health criticized local officials in Urumqi, Xinjiang for expelling 19 hepatitis B carriers from public schools. The criticism was carried in the national press, but no remedies were reported. Persons with HIV/AIDS likewise suffered discrimination and local governments sometimes tried to suppress their activities. In April Jilin Province authorities blocked a group of HIV-positive persons from accepting free travel to visit the Great Wall. At the same time, international involvement in HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment, as well as central government pressure on local governments to respond appropriately, brought improvements in some localities. Some hospitals that previously refused to treat HIV/AIDS patients now have active care and treatment programs, because domestic and international training programs improved the understanding of local healthcare workers and their managers. In Beijing, dozens of local community centers encourage and facilitate HIV/AIDS support groups.

Some NGOs working with HIV/AIDS patients and their family members continued to report difficulties with local government, particularly in Henan Province where thousands were infected in government-run blood selling stations during the 1990s. Henan authorities were successful in providing free treatment to persons with HIV/AIDS. However, foreign and local observers noted that local governments were reluctant or even hostile towards coordinating efforts with NGOs and preferred to work independently.

Tibet

Women and Children

Prostitution was a growing problem in Tibetan areas, and hundreds of brothels operated semi-openly in Lhasa. International development workers in the TAR reported there were no reliable data on the number of commercial sex workers employed in Lhasa and Shigatse, the TAR's two largest cities, although some estimates placed the number of sex workers as high as 10,000. Some of the prostitution occurred at sites owned by the CCP, the government, and the military. Most prostitutes in the TAR were Han women, mainly from Sichuan. However, some Tibetans, mainly young girls from rural or nomadic areas, also worked as prostitutes. The incidence of HIV/AIDS among prostitutes in Tibetan areas was unknown, but lack of knowledge about HIV transmission and economic pressures on prostitutes to engage in unprotected sex made them particularly vulnerable.

Hong Kong

Trafficking in Persons

Nearly all foreign prostitutes came to Hong Kong willingly to engage in prostitution. Most came from rural areas of the mainland, Thailand, or the Philippines on 14-day tourist visas, although a very small number entered using forged documents. The overwhelming majority were women, although an increasing number of young men were coming to Hong Kong to work as homosexual prostitutes. While many came on their own, some were lured to the SAR by criminal syndicates and promises of financial rewards. Prostitutes were typically required to repay the syndicates the cost of their airfare, lodging, and food. Some were forced to stay longer than they anticipated, or work more than they expected, to repay their debts. Prostitutes were sometimes required to give their passports to the syndicates until the debt was paid. When their visas expired, many would travel to Macau or Shenzhen for a day, and then reenter Hong Kong. Immigration officials were well aware of this practice and would deny reentry if they suspected such abuse. Despite the involvement of syndicates in bringing prostitutes to Hong Kong, very few women were forced, or coerced, to work as prostitutes.

Congo, Democratic Republic of the

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

g. Use of Excessive Force and Other Abuses in Internal Conflicts

Abuses by Armed Groups outside Government Control

Girls associated with armed groups were often assaulted, raped, and infected with HIV/AIDS.

Congo, Republic of

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Women

Domestic violence against women, including rape and beatings, was widespread but rarely reported. There were no specific provisions under the law outlawing spousal battery, other than general statutes prohibiting assault. Domestic violence usually was handled within the extended family, and only the more extreme incidents were reported to the police. This was primarily due to the social stigma for the victim, and because such matters traditionally were dealt with in the family or village. According to a local NGO, the Congolese Association to Combat Violence Against Women and Girls, there were no official statistics on domestic violence against women; however, during 2005 more than 500 women and children who were victims of sexual violence sought its medical assistance. The NGO reported it provided hundreds of HIV tests. The NGO also organized public awareness workshops and offered training for community chiefs, police officers, health workers, magistrates, journalists, and others from the public and private sectors. NGOs, such as the local Human Rights Center, the Congolese Association to Combat Violence Against Women and Girls, the International Rescue Committee, and Doctors Without Borders continued to draw attention to the issue and provided counseling and assistance to victims.

Children

The government was committed to protecting the rights and welfare of children. Education was compulsory, tuition-free, and universal until the age of 16, but families were required to pay for books, uniforms, and school fees. In the cities, approximately 95 percent of school-age children attended school, and in rural areas an estimated 90 percent attended. Girls and boys attended primary school in equal numbers; however, the proportion of girls who continued on to the high school and university levels was significantly lower. Girls generally quit school by age 15 or 16. In addition teenage girls often were pressured to exchange sex for better grades, which resulted in both the spread of HIV/AIDS and unwanted and unplanned pregnancies.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

The social stigma associated with homosexuality was significant. There was no open homosexuality in the country.

In contrast, persons with HIV/AIDS were fairly well-organized and sought fair treatment, especially regarding employment. NGOs worked widely on HIV/AIDS issues, including raising public awareness that those living with HIV/AIDS were still able to contribute to society. The law provides avenues for wronged persons to file lawsuits if they were, for example, terminated from employment due to their HIV/AIDS status.

Costa Rica

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

San Sebastian, where most prisoners in pretrial detention were held, continued to be overcrowded and unsanitary. Because of increases in the number of persons held in preventive detention arising out of court backlogs, the San Sebastian prison was not able to handle adequately the growing inmate population. Medical care at most facilities generally was adequate for routine illnesses and injuries but was inadequate for complex medical issues, such as HIV/AIDS.

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Although there are no laws prohibiting discrimination against persons based on sexual orientation, discrimination based on HIV/AIDS in health care, employment, and education was prohibited by law and by presidential decree. The ombudsman's office received no reports of complaints of such discrimination during the year.

Cote d'Ivoire

The law did not provide for the protection of homosexuals or persons living with HIV/AIDS from societal and other forms of discrimination. Societal stigmatization of these groups was widespread, and the government did not act to counter it during the year.

Croatia

There was some societal discrimination against homosexuals.

In July the media reported that a dozen persons attacked two homosexual British tourists in a bar. The tourists sustained a concussion, ear injury, and loss of teeth. The attackers accused them of making inappropriate comments and behavior. The same month Croatian Party of Rights MP Tonci Tadic compared homosexual tourists with concentration camp guards and cannibals, and suggested they would not be welcome in the country. The government ombudswoman for gender equality and human rights groups criticized the statement. In September at least three unidentified persons attacked two German homosexual tourists in Split while they walked on the waterfront holding hands. One of the victims sustained a nose fracture and the other a slight chest injury. The police investigated but did not identify the perpetrators.

Legal experts from Iskorak and Kontra, two NGOs that represent sexual minorities, drafted the definition of hate crime that was introduced in the Penal Code in June and participated in a seminar for nine police officers at the Police Academy in Zagreb that month. The nine officers were expected to train colleagues in prosecuting this type of crime.

In August 2005 one NGO reported that authorities initiated 11 criminal proceedings for physical assaults against homosexuals during that year. In one, a group of teenagers attacked a homosexual couple by shouting offensive remarks and then severely beat the couple. The victims, who immediately reported the incident, complained that the police were slow to react.

Societal discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS remained a problem. The Croatian Association for HIV reported that dentists and general practitioners often refused treatment of HIV positive patients and some hospitals postponed surgeries because doctors were reluctant to operate. If an HIV patient did not go through the infectious disease hospital, they often had to wait for treatment, and surgery could be delayed indefinitely. Transplant centers have also refused to put HIV patients on their list of potential organ recipients.

In March a daily paper reported the death of an individual, printing his name and photograph and stating that the cause of death was AIDS. The newspaper published the article without official confirmation of the cause of death. The same paper republished the details again in September, in an article about a company director that allegedly intentionally infected employees with HIV. According to the Croatian Association for HIV, the paper did not officially confirm the facts surrounding the article, which accused the newspaper of running a campaign against persons with HIV.

A daily newspaper published a report with photographs concerning two juveniles, who were the focus of media attention in prior years due to their HIV status. The country does not have separate regulations on the protection of data confidentiality for children with HIV.

According to the UN theme group on HIV/AIDS, analysis of laws regarding HIV indicated that they contain discriminatory provisions. The group cited legal provisions that require: testing under medical supervision for certain professions and in certain cases involving prisoners and restrictions on HIV-positive persons with regard to performing certain jobs. Otherwise, according to the analysis, most cases of discrimination occur outside the scope of legislation or due to a lack of sufficient enforcement of privacy laws, lack of consistent adequate medical care and discrimination in school or the workplace.

The UNDP reported that one weekly in May published the initials and other personal information in detail sufficient to identify a café owner in Split suspected of being HIV positive and alleged that he was allegedly spreading AIDS. The damaged party did not take legal action against the weekly.

Cuba

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

Sexual assault occurred at prisons, but the government did not disclose such incidents. At Manto Negro prison in Havana, the country's biggest women's prison, forced homosexual relationships were common. In many such cases, women serving lengthy sentences targeted younger women. Those who resisted faced potential violence including beatings, stabbings, and chemical attacks using hair-coloring products. Guards frequently looked the other way and failed to punish perpetrators.

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Children

Child prostitution was a problem, with young girls engaging in prostitution to help support themselves and their families (see section 5, Trafficking). While underage prostitution was widely apparent, there were no reliable statistics available regarding its extent. Children may marry with the consent of their parents at age 14, but the law provides for two to five years' imprisonment for anyone who "induces minors under 16 years of age to practice homosexuality or prostitution." Minors played a key role in the country's thriving sex trade, which was fueled by visits by thousands of foreign tourists. There was anecdotal evidence that state run hotel workers, travel company employees, taxi drivers, bar and restaurant workers, and law enforcement personnel were complicit in the commercial sexual exploitation of children.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Societal discrimination against homosexuals persisted, as police occasionally conducted sweeps in areas where homosexuals congregated, particularly along sections of Havana's waterfront. However, in mid-year television aired a soap opera with a homosexual subplot, which had the effect of partially destigmatizing homosexual behavior.

The government continued to restrict some persons found to be HIV-positive to sanatoriums for treatment and therapy before conditionally releasing them into the community. Even after their release, some persons with HIV/AIDS said the government monitored their movements with a chaperone to prevent the spread of the illness. In November the Cuban Commission for Human Rights of People with HIV/AIDS (CCDHPHS) said state medical professionals frequently failed to respect confidentiality, with the result that sufferers' condition was known widely throughout their neighborhoods. At hospitals, rooms holding HIV-positive patients were clearly marked as such, as were the patients' smocks. Some persons with HIV/AIDS suffered job discrimination, or were rejected by their families. The CCDHPHS stated that doctors often offered shoddy treatment or none at all to patients with HIV/AIDS and that the government offered "cocktail" medications only to sufferers whose condition was advanced. The group also complained that at many hospitals, HIV/AIDS sufferers were turned away in favor of foreign medical tourists.

The government operated four prisons exclusively for HIV/AIDS sufferers; some inmates were serving sentences for "propagating an epidemic." Activists said the prisons, while well-intentioned, failed to deliver on necessary services and became dysfunctional institutions.

Cyprus

Despite legal protections, homosexuals faced significant societal discrimination, and few homosexuals in the country were open about their sexual orientation. One NGO reported that there were complaints of discrimination toward homosexuals and persons with HIV/AIDS. NGOs were reluctant to initiate awareness campaigns.

THE AREA ADMINISTERED BY TURKISH CYPRIOTS

The law criminalizes homosexuality in the area administered by Turkish Cypriots, but a draft gay rights bill was being discussed in "parliament" at year's end. The new legislation would forbid discrimination against homosexuals and end the criminalization of homosexual behavior. Homosexuality remained highly proscribed socially and rarely discussed.

There were no reports of discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Czech Republic

During the year parliament failed to pass a new antidiscrimination act that would bring laws in line with the EU Racial Equality Directive. The House of Deputies failed to overcome a veto of the legislation by the Senate. In March parliament passed registered domestic partnership legislation, and the legislation went into effect in July. During the year 235 homosexual couples registered their partnerships with the government.

Dominica

There are no laws that prohibit discrimination against a person on the basis of sexual orientation in employment, housing, education, or health care. Although no statistics were available, anecdotal evidence suggested that societal discrimination against homosexuals occurred.

The government and the Dominica Planned Parenthood Association (DPPA) initiated programs designed to discourage discrimination against HIV/AIDS-infected persons and others living with them. The Ministry of Health programmed various television spots and radio discussions on "Know Your Status," a theme promoting free HIV testing and counseling. On World AIDS Day, the DPPA sponsored a march to raise awareness of free testing and counseling.

Dominican Republic

2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

a. Freedom of Speech and Press

In late November the news corporation Color Vision fired popular journalist Adolfo Salomon from his job in response to complaints by high-level officials in the Catholic Church and the armed forces. Salomon had angered the church during a November 28 news conference at which Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez criticized homosexuality. After the cardinal's remarks, Salomon asked him about his feelings on homosexuality within the church. Lopez Rodriguez responded aggressively, questioning Salomon's ethics and professionalism. Secretary of the Armed Forces Ramon Aquino, reportedly with the help of the cardinal, then personally contacted Color Vision to demand that Salomon be reprimanded. His employer complied by firing him the next day.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Persons with HIV/AIDS, particularly women, faced discrimination in the workplace and elsewhere. An estimated 80,000 to 222,000 persons in the country were infected with the disease. According to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, workers in many industries faced obligatory HIV testing in the workplace or when seeking medical care or medical insurance. Workers or patients found to have the disease could be fired from their jobs or denied adequate health care. Although the law prohibits the use of HIV testing to screen employees or for medical services unrelated to the disease, there were no known instances where this law was enforced, despite reports that official complaints had been filed.

According to Amnesty International, HIV/AIDS activist Adonis Polanco received a number of anonymous death threats throughout the year.

Ecuador

Although the law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, homosexuals, transsexuals, and transvestites continued to suffer discrimination from both public and private bodies.

According to a credible NGO, homosexuals, transsexuals, and transvestites were subjected to cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment by the police. They accused the police of specifically targeting them and inflicting physical and psychological abuse, threats, extortion, and robbery. Police routinely arrested homosexuals and transvestites in public areas (see section 1.c.).

Egypt

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

On December 26, Cairo prosecutor Bakr Ahmed Bakr ordered the detention of two police officers, Islam Nabih and Reda Fathi, in connection with the January 18 sexual assault (including sodomy with a stick) of Cairo mini-bus driver Imad Al-Kabir. A widely-circulated Internet video clip documented the attack on Imad and generated considerable public attention. HRW had issued an appeal on December 23 for the prosecution of Imad's attackers. At year's end, police officers Islam and Reda remained in detention, denied bail and awaiting trial.

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial

Trial Procedures

The government has asserted that referral to emergency courts usually has been limited to terrorism or national security cases, as well as major cases of drug trafficking; however, the government also has occasionally used emergency courts to prosecute homosexuals, heterodox religious groups, and political dissidents. Government authorities ignored judicial orders in some cases. The government has used the Emergency Law to try cases outside the scope of combating terrorism and grave threats to national security.

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

A telecommunications law allows telephone wiretaps and Internet monitoring only by court order. However, some human rights observers alleged that the government routinely violated this law. Although the law does not explicitly criminalize homosexual acts, police have in the past targeted homosexuals using Internet-based "sting" operations leading to arrests on charges of "debauchery." There were no reports of such Internet entrapment cases during the year (see sections 1.c, 1.e., and 2.a.).

El Salvador

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

In March the Directorate of Prisons, the Ministry of Health, and the HIV/AIDS nongovernmental organization (NGO) FUNDASIDA began implementing a voluntary HIV testing program for inmates in the nation's penitentiaries. Between March and August approximately 7,069 inmates underwent voluntary HIV testing. During November and December prison employees received medical training for dealing with HIV-positive inmates, and prison staff trained 51 prisoners to conduct HIV/AIDS awareness-raising campaigns among inmates.

2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Freedom of Association

Although the constitution provides for freedom of association, there were concerns regarding registration delays of certain types of civil society groups. NGOs asserted that the Governance Ministry delayed approval of legal status for NGOs with particular human rights or political agendas. There were no developments regarding the Governance Ministry's 2005 denial of legal status to En Nombre de la Rosa, a homosexual and transvestite advocacy NGO (see section 5).

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

The law prohibits discrimination on the basis of HIV status and sexual orientation, although in practice discrimination was widespread. There were reports of violence and discrimination by public and private actors against persons with HIV/AIDS, and against homosexual, lesbian, and transgender persons, including denial of legal registration for a homosexual rights advocacy group (see section 2.b.). As in the previous year, in September the Ministry of Labor along with the Ministry of Health launched another campaign to eliminate workplace discrimination based on pregnancy or HIV status as part of a comprehensive effort to combat an increase in HIV cases.

A 2005 PAHO report, the most recent available, revealed that HIV/AIDS patients suffered from a lack of information and supplies. Lack of public information remained a problem in confronting discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS or in assisting persons suffering from HIV/AIDS. According to a National Health Survey presented in September, only half of the population between the ages of 15 and 24 were sufficiently aware of methods for preventing HIV infection.

There were no new developments regarding any investigation of two bodyguards of the prisons director who in September 2005 were accused of sexually abusing a transvestite minor whom they picked up on the streets in a government vehicle. The defendants remained on bail pending trial.

There were no developments, and none were expected, regarding any investigation into the 2004 separate killings of transvestite Jose Flores Natividad Duran and transvestite David Antonio Andrade Castellano.

Equatorial Guinea

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

The constitution and law prohibit discrimination based on race, gender, religion, disability, language, or social status; however, the government did not enforce these provisions effectively. Violence and discrimination against women, trafficking in persons, discrimination against ethnic minorities, and discrimination against HIV/AIDS victims were problems.

During the year the government staged public campaigns to combat child labor and discrimination and violence against women and persons with HIV/AIDS. Discrimination was based more on ethnicity and party affiliation than other factors.

Children

Children were often pawns in demonstrations of support for the president and his policies. On December 1, some students rioted in Malabo after hours of walking to participate in an HIV/AIDS march, in reaction to a road accident that killed at least one student and severely injured others. Government officials partially blamed the rioting on teachers, parents, and principals having become "too lax in disciplining" children. They implied support for corporal punishment to reinstitute respect.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Societal discrimination against homosexuals was strong, and the government made no effort to combat it.

Persons with HIV/AIDS continued to be victims of societal discrimination and often kept their illnesses hidden. Radio campaigns and public statements advocating nondiscrimination toward persons with HIV/AIDS were frequent. The government promulgated a decree that provides for free HIV/AIDS testing and treatment.

Eritrea

Homosexuality is illegal, and homosexuals faced severe societal discrimination.

Estonia

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Freedom of Assembly

The government failed to protect participants of a gay rights parade in August (see section 5).

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

Instances of overt hostility based on race occurred, although they were infrequent. There is no specific law prohibiting hate crimes, but there is a law prohibiting incitement to hatred, violence, or discrimination on the basis of nationality, race, skin color, sex, language, origin, sexual orientation, religion, political opinion, or financial or social status.

During the year incitement to social hatred or violence on the basis of sexual orientation was criminalized. In August several persons attacked participants in a gay parade in Tallinn injuring twelve participants; one person filed a complaint with the police, who had been present at the parade but were unable to prevent violence. The police terminated the investigation into possible instigation of social hatred because they were unable to find the perpetrators. The police started seven misdemeanor proceedings. One resulted in a fine, and the rest were pending at the year's end.

Ethiopia

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Children

According to international NGOs, child prostitution was a growing problem, particularly in urban areas. According to an NGO report, 60 percent of persons exploited in prostitution were between the ages of 16 and 25. Underage girls worked as hotel workers, barmaids, and prostitutes in resort towns and rural truck stops. Pervasive poverty, migration to urban centers, early marriage, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, and limited educational and job opportunities aggravated the sexual exploitation of children. A few NGOs aided child victims, including the Forum on Street Children Ethiopia, which provided children forced into prostitution or sexual exploitation with shelter, protection, and return to their families.

NGOs reported that houses of prostitution recruited impoverished girls as young as age 11 and kept them uninformed of the risks of HIV/AIDS infection and other sexually transmitted diseases. A 2003 Family Health International Report indicated that customers particularly sought younger girls because customers believed they were free of sexually transmitted diseases.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Homosexuality is illegal and punishable by imprisonment. Instances of homosexual activity determined to be cruel, involving coercion, or involving a minor (age 13 to 16) are punishable by not less than three months or more than five years in prison. Where children under 13 years of age are involved, the law provides for imprisonment of five to 25 years. While society did not widely accept homosexuality, there were no reports of violence against homosexuals.

Societal discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS continued during the year.

6 Worker Rights

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

In June the government further amended the labor law to provide severance pay for workers on additional grounds that were not previously provided for, such as discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS and payment of severance to those without pension plan.

Fiji

The constitution prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, but preexisting statutes criminalize homosexual acts. At year's end the director of public prosecutions was awaiting a hearing on his appeal of the August 2005 court decision that overturned a magistrate's court's April 2005 conviction of a local citizen and an Australian tourist for engaging in consensual homosexual acts. The magistrate's court had sentenced the men to two years in prison. Homosexuality continued to be a hotly debated issue, and during the year church groups again urged the government to amend the constitution to eliminate its provision prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation.

France

The law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in employment or service, public or private. Although there were isolated incidents of violence against homosexuals, authorities pursued and punished offenders.

Gambia, The

There was evidence of societal discrimination against persons infected with the HIV/AIDS virus. Stigma and discrimination hindered disclosure and led to rejection from partners and relatives. In some cases persons infected with HIV/AIDS were prevented from meeting visitors. The government took a multi-sectoral approach to fighting HIV/AIDS and updated the National Strategic Plan, which provides for care, treatment, and support to persons living with, or affected by, HIV/AIDS, and the protection of the rights of those at risk of infection. The National AIDS Secretariat (NAS), whose goal is to promote public awareness of HIV/AIDS, sponsored a television sensitization campaign during the year to educate people about HIV/AIDS and prevent discrimination. Also, from October 2-6, NAS and the local UN Development Program jointly held the second annual partnership conference on HIV/AIDS, which focused on the education sector response to HIV/AIDS.

There were no discriminatory laws based on sexual orientation; however, there was societal discrimination based on sexual orientation, which remained a social taboo.

Georgia

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuse, and Trafficking in Persons

Women

Rape is illegal. Criminal cases on rape generally can only be initiated following a complaint by the victim. Spousal rape is not specifically addressed by criminal law. A first time offender may be imprisoned for up to seven years; a repeat offender or perpetrator against multiple victims may receive up to 10 years; factors such as if the victim was pregnant, contracted HIV/AIDS, or was subjected to extreme violence, demand up to 15 years; and if the victim was a minor, up to 20 years. During the year the ministry of internal affairs reported 167 cases of rape and attempted rape and initiated criminal prosecutions in 106 of these cases. Observers believed many instances of rape went unreported due to the social stigma for victims. Police did not always investigate reports of rape.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

The law expressly prohibits discrimination on the basis of HIV/AIDS status; however, there is no penalty for violating this prohibition. NGOs reported that societal stigma resulted in individuals avoiding testing or obtaining health care for fear of discrimination. Some health care providers, particularly dentists, often refused to provide services to HIV-positive persons. Individuals often concealed their HIV-positive status from employers for fear of losing their jobs. The ministry of internal affairs conducted mandatory HIV testing on all job applicants.

Germany

2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

c. Freedom of Religion

Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Beginning in January authorities in Baden‑Wuerttemberg required residents seeking naturalization to complete a questionnaire concerning their political and moral beliefs and their adherence to the constitution. The questionnaire led to protests from the political opposition and from independents such as Paul Spiegel, then‑chairman of the Central Council of Jews in Germany. Muslim organizations in Baden‑Wurttemberg announced plans to take the issue to the Federal Constitutional Court. Critics viewed the questionnaire, which included questions on attitudes toward women's and gay rights, terrorism, and other social issues, as discriminating against Muslim immigrants.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Despite increasing public awareness, media and reports from other sources indicated that societal and job‑related discrimination against homosexuals occurred. However, openly homosexual persons occupied prominent positions in many areas of society, including politics, business, and the arts.

There was discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS, primarily due to lack of understanding of the disease. The government worked with NGOs, religious groups, and business to educate the public about HIV/AIDS and its prevention.

Ghana

2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Freedom of Assembly

In July the government denied an application from the Gays and Lesbians Association of Ghana to host a proposed international conference in Accra in September. The Association was uniformly condemned by all religious organizations as well as government officials as being unconstitutional and immoral. Government officials maintained that because homosexuality is illegal in the country, granting a permit to hold the conference would be in contravention of the law (see section 5.)

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

The law criminalizes homosexuality, and lesbians and gays face widespread discrimination, as well as police harassment and extortion attempts. There is a minimum misdemeanor charge for homosexual activity, and homosexual men in prison often were subjected to sexual and other physical abuse.

There was widespread public outcry during the year against an international lesbian and gay conference scheduled to take place in Accra in September. Strong public opposition to the event and to homosexuals more generally was reflected in vehement letters to the editor, radio call-in shows, comments posted on the Internet, and in public speeches given by government officials. The government banned the conference after local religious leaders united to protest the planned event.

Discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS was a problem, and the fear of being stigmatized continued to discourage persons from being tested. In April 2004 the inspector general of police publicly urged all officers to be tested voluntarily through a free service available to the police. During the year several key government representatives, including the Presidential Advisor for HIV/AIDS, publicly denounced discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS. In 2004 the cabinet approved a policy to protect the rights of persons living with HIV/AIDS. In August a judge ordered sex workers standing trial on charges of prostitution to get tested for HIV and publicly disclose their HIV status. The Office of the President sent a letter of protest to the chief justice on this incident but had not received a reply by year's end.

The government subsidized many centers that provided free HIV testing to citizens, although there were reports that confidentiality was not consistently respected and preserved.

Greece

The NGO Greek Homosexual Community (EOK) alleged that police often abused and harassed homosexuals and transvestites and subjected them to arbitrary identity checks and bodily searches in public places.

The government took no action regarding a Gay and Lesbian Community of Greece and EOK complaint that the government made a discriminatory decision when it fined a radio station in 2004 for using insulting language on a radio show presented by a lesbian.

Grenada

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Women

The law prohibits sexual harassment, but there are no criminal penalties for it. It is the responsibility of the complainant to bring a civil suit against an alleged harasser. A number of local organizations spoke out against sexual discrimination on radio and television programs to raise awareness amid the female population of their rights. The programs also addressed issues of women's health, particularly the risks of HIV/AIDS.

Guatemala

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention

Role of the Police and Security Apparatus

Police threatened persons engaged in prostitution and other commercial sexual activities with false drug charges to extort money or sexual favors and harassed homosexuals or transvestites with similar threats of false charges (see section 5).

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

The law does not criminalize homosexuality, but it also does not expressly include sexual orientation or HIV status among the categories prohibited from discrimination. There was social discrimination against gay, lesbian, and transgender persons and persons with HIV/AIDS. Homosexual rights support groups alleged that members of the police regularly waited outside clubs and bars frequented by sexual minorities and demanded that patrons and persons engaged in commercial sexual activities provide protection money. These groups also complained that police at times raped lesbians and transvestites, but that due to a lack of trust in the judicial system and out of fear of further persecution or social recrimination, victims were unwilling to file complaints.

On June 17, five transvestites were shot in Guatemala City, one of them fatally. A human rights group claimed that the victims were attacked because of their sexual preferences. By year's end police authorities had investigated the attack but had not identified any suspects. A December 2005 incident involving the killing of one transvestite person and the injuring of another remained under investigation. Members of the gay rights group OASIS asserted that the perpetrators were wearing police uniforms (see section 1.d.).

Guinea

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

At year's end, there were three boys below the age of 14 who were held in the Conakry prison with no legal representation. One boy had been detained for eight years on a petty shoplifting charge. An international NGO reported the prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS among incarcerated minor boys to be as high as 50 percent, suggesting sexual abuse. Local and international NGOs were providing some food and legal representation to these boys.

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Women

Infibulation, the most dangerous form of FGM, was still performed in the Forest Region but less frequently than in previous years. Despite diseases resulting from crude and unsanitary surgical instruments and deaths resulting from the practice, the tradition continued, seriously affecting many women's lives. FGM also increased the risk of HIV infection, since unsterilized instruments were shared among participants.

Persons with Disabilities

In 2005 the government, in cooperation with an international donor, launched a national civic education program that included persons with disabilities as well as persons with HIV/AIDS. One of the programs for persons with disabilities was staged at the School for the Deaf of Conakry. The program, in American Sign Language, explained concepts of citizenship, nationality, and equal participation.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Discrimination against homosexuals is not prohibited by law, but there are no discriminatory laws based on sexual orientation. Although there were deep social, religious, and cultural taboos against homosexuality, there were no official reports of discrimination against homosexuals.

There have been reports that various hospitals in the country have refused to treat patients with AIDS; hospital workers feared contracting the disease.

Guyana

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Women

Prostitution is illegal but widespread. It received greater public attention due to the high incidence of HIV/AIDS among prostitutes and increased prevalence of trafficking in persons (see section 5, Trafficking).

Trafficking in Persons

The Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons, but there were reports that persons were trafficked to, from, or within the country. Penalties include three years' to life imprisonment, forfeiture of property, and full restitution to the victims.

The country was a source and destination for trafficked women, children, and men; however, most trafficking in persons occurred internally and involved young women and girls trafficked for purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and involuntary domestic servitude. Trafficking reportedly took place in the interior, where there was little government oversight and law enforcement was lacking. Young Amerindian men were exploited under forced labor conditions in timber camps. Most trafficking originated in impoverished indigenous communities, although some victims came from the larger coastal cities. In some instances victims were forcibly abducted. Some women trafficked into the country came from the northern regions of neighboring Brazil. A smaller number of women were trafficked into the country's sex trade. Reports indicated that trafficking victims were promised employment as highly paid domestic helpers, cooks, restaurant servers, and nude dancers. The victims were provided with barracks-style housing with cramped quarters and sometimes were locked inside. They were restrained through debt bondage, intimidation, and physical abuse. Most victims were exposed to the same health risks as women in prostitution and other victims of sexual exploitation, including sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS. Girls and young women were trafficked for purposes of sexual exploitation to neighboring countries, including Suriname and Barbados.

Haiti

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Children

According to the most recent UNICEF statistics from 2004, approximately 23 percent of all children under the age of five were chronically malnourished. According to the UN's independent expert, there were approximately 200,000 HIV-related orphans and vulnerable children affected by HIV (children who have HIV, who have become orphaned because of HIV, or who live with parents who have HIV).

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Societal discrimination occurred against persons with HIV/AIDS, particularly women, but educational programs sponsored by foreign donors and efforts by HIV/AIDS activists attempted to change that stigma.

Honduras

2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Freedom of Association

The constitution and the law generally provide for freedom of association, and the government generally respected this right in practice; however, the criminal associations law prohibits illicit association and prescribes prison terms of three to 12 years (see section 5). Human rights organizations criticized the law and its implementation as an undue restriction on the right to associate freely, while gay rights advocacy groups expressed concerns that the law could be used to criminalize social activities and organizations of the gay community. During the year the law prohibiting illicit associations was used to arrest individuals for being members of Mara Salvatrucha and other gangs. A reform to criminal code 332 outlawing illicit association was used to persecute farmers and indigenous people.

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Trafficking in Persons

Although a new law criminalizes trafficking in persons, there were reports that persons were trafficked from and within the country.

The new law, which came into force on February 4, sets increased penalties and defines new offenses related to trafficking. Penalties involve longer imprisonment in six areas: incest, lechery, abuse, prostitution, pornography, and knowingly infecting someone with HIV/AIDS. Punishments include fines ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 (100,000 to 500,000 Lempiras) and imprisonment for four to 20 years. The application of the new law has been limited, reflecting an inadequate understanding of the complexity of human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation on the part of judicial officials.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

During the Maduro administration, legal recognition and registration was granted to lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender rights group. There were no discriminatory laws based on sexual orientation, but in practice social discrimination against persons based on sexual orientation was widespread. Representatives of the sexual diversity rights NGOs Violet Collective, the San Pedro Gay Community, Kukulcan, and the Transvestite Sex Workers Collective of San Pedro Sula asserted that their members regularly experienced abuses, beatings, killings (see section 1.a.), and other physical and verbal mistreatment from authorities. In cases where lesbians, gays, and transgenders were found dead, the prosecutor's office often encountered serious difficulties because the victims were either concealing their identity or sexual orientation or, in many cases, were hiding from their families. Criminal investigations were categorized by female or male gender and not transgenders. The Inter-American Commission of Human Rights documented approximately 200 cases, but continuing technical problems made these cases very difficult to document and process correctly. Gay rights groups also asserted that there was antigay discrimination by security forces and government agencies and that employers used illegal discriminatory hiring practices. These groups also reported that due to intimidation, fear of reprisal, and police corruption, gay and lesbian victims of abuse were reluctant to file charges or proceed with prosecutions.

The NGO Red de Hombres Gay Positivos alleged that employers routinely ignored antidiscrimination employment laws and used testing supposedly for syphilis among employees and job applicants as a means to detect HIV status to screen persons testing positive. The NGO also alleged that some Protestant churches fueled prejudice against HIV-positive persons because there are no regulations in the matter. Certain Protestant churches called for the elimination of the legal representation of gay and lesbian groups.

India

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

According to one NHRC report, a large proportion of the deaths in judicial custody were from natural causes, in some cases aggravated by poor prison conditions (see section 1.a.). Tuberculosis caused many deaths, as did HIV/AIDS. The NHRC assigned its special rapporteur and chief coordinator of custodial justice to ensure that state prison authorities performed medical check-ups on all inmates. By year's end only a few examinations had been performed.

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Children

According to the 2001 census, nearly 300,000 girls under 15 years had given birth to at least one child. ICRW concluded that those married under the age of 18 were twice as likely to be beaten, slapped, or threatened by their husbands compared with women married later; they were also three times more likely to report instances of marital rape. It reported that child brides often showed signs symptomatic of child sexual abuse and post-traumatic stress. Child marriages also limited girls' access to education and increased their health risks, since they had higher mortality rates and exposure to HIV/AIDs than girls married after 18.

Trafficking in Persons

Global Organization for Life Development (GOLD), an NGO working in Assam to combat trafficking and HIV/AIDS, said that there was usually an upsurge in trafficking of girls during natural disasters.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Section 377 of the Penal Code punishes acts of sodomy, buggery and bestiality; however, the law was often used to target, harass, and punish lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons. Human rights groups argued that gay and lesbian rights were not addressed along with other human rights concerns in the country. In November 2005 the government declined to change provisions of Section 377 outlawing homosexuality. In a response to a Supreme Court case, the government stated, "public opinion and the current societal context in India does not favor the deletion of the said offense from the statute book." Gays and lesbians faced discrimination in all areas of society, including family, work, and education. Activists reported that in most cases, homosexuals who do not hide their orientation were fired from their jobs. Homosexuals also faced physical attacks, rape, and blackmail. Police committed crimes against homosexuals and used the threat of Section 377 to coerce victims into not reporting the incidents. Section 377 allowed police to arrest gays and lesbians virtually at will. However, in July 2005 in Jharkand, two lesbians belonging to the scheduled tribes announced that they were "married" in defiance of both law and tradition, although same sex marriages are not recognized in the country.

In September 2004 the Delhi High Court dismissed a legal challenge to Section 377. Plaintiffs filed the case in 2001 after police arrested four gay and lesbian rights workers at the NAZ Foundation International and National Aids Control Office premises in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. Police charged the workers with conspiracy to commit "unnatural sexual acts" and possession of "obscene material," which was reportedly safe-sex educational materials. The workers were detained in unsanitary conditions for 47 days and denied bail twice. The court dismissed the case, ruling that the validity of the law could not be challenged by anyone "not affected by it," as the defendants had not been charged with a sex act prohibited by law. In April 2005 despite the September 2004 challenge of Section 377 by two gay and lesbian NGOs, the NAZ Foundation International, and the National Aids Control Office, the government submitted a petition to the Supreme Court reaffirming the validity of Section 377. In February the Supreme Court ruled that the Delhi High Court should not have dismissed the case because the NGO was not a directly affected party to the case. The Supreme Court referred it to the Delhi High Court, which has not reexamined the case.

In July the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) filed an affidavit in the Delhi High Court supporting the demand to scrap Section 377 of IPC that declares homosexuality an offense. This affidavit supports the petition filed by the NAZ Foundation. The affidavit was filed after NACO conducted a survey that reported 8 percent of the estimated 2.5 million homosexual population of the country was affected with HIV/AIDS as compared to 1 percent of the general population affected by the disease. A high-profile campaign to overturn Section 377, led by writers Vikram Seth and Amartya Sen, continued at year's end.

Homosexuals were detained in clinics against their will and subjected to treatment aimed at "curing" them of their homosexuality. The NAZ Foundation filed a petition with the NHRC regarding a case in which a man was subjected to shock therapy. The NHRC declined to take the case, as gay and lesbian rights were not under its purview.

In January Lucknow, police allegedly carried out a "sting" operation targeting gay men, which drew widespread condemnation from human rights NGOs. The press reported that police officers posed as gay men on the Internet and, entrapped one man. The officers then forced him to call other gay men, who were also arrested. The National Campaign for Sexual Rights (NCSR) stated that the arrests were illegal and the evidence against the men was fabricated. NCSR argued that the police violated the men's right to privacy and that there was no evidence that they were guilty under Section 377.

In January a man in Mumbai registered a complaint against two constables of the Azad Maidan police station for using "decoys" in a public toilet at a train station to entrap and extort money from gay men. The Azad Maidan police apprehended the two constables and handed them over to the railway police. At year's end, there were no further developments in this case.

Authorities estimated that HIV/AIDS had infected approximately 5.1 million persons, and there was significant societal discrimination against persons with the disease. According to the ILO, 70 percent of persons suffering from HIV/AIDS faced discrimination.

In July doctors at Meerut Medical College, Uttar Pradesh tied a 15-year-old HIV positive boy to his bed to prevent him from falling or pulling his IV cord. The boy was in the same ward as patients suffering from tuberculosis and fevers - all of which could be passed to the boy. By the end of the year, the boy was paralyzed and could not speak because a lesion in his brain paralyzed the right side of his body.

HRW reported that many doctors refused to treat HIV-positive children and that some schools expelled or segregated them because they or their parents were HIV-positive. Many orphanages and other residential institutions rejected HIV-positive children or denied them housing.

In September a school for HIV-positive children opened in Karunapuram. HIV-positive children, denied admissions elsewhere, could study in this residential school, in addition to being given medical help and free anti-retro viral medicines.

In January 2004 a Mumbai High Court ruled that HIV-positive persons could not be fired on the basis of their medical status. However, the army removed from service approximately 200 soldiers with AIDS between 2003 and 2005, stating they were unfit for military duty. NACO stated it opposed the practice of discharging soldiers solely because they had AIDS. The army stated that, while the patients received medical care, it could not keep infected soldiers in the service.

The National Council for Applied Economic Research, NACO, and the United Nations Development Program conducted a survey of 2,068 HIV-positive households, 6,224 HIV-negative households, and 2,386 people living with HIV/AIDS patients in July. The survey revealed that 29 percent were refused loans and nearly 30 percent denied promotions. More than 16 percent were forced to resign from their jobs, and 10 percent forced to take voluntary retirement. Additionally, 42 percent felt neglected and isolated, and nearly 29 percent reported being verbally abused by their colleagues.

Indonesia

There was some societal discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS. Some individuals received prejudicial treatment at medical centers, saw their confidential laboratory results released or had their identity published in a newspaper. In most, if not all such cases, the government failed to take corrective action. In Papua, where the incidence of HIV infection is the highest in the country, community members and even families often stigmatized and ostracized those known to be infected with the virus. However, the government encouraged tolerance, took steps to prevent new infections, and drew up plans to subsidize antiretroviral drugs.

Iran

The law prohibits and punishes homosexuality; sodomy between consenting adults is a capital crime. The punishment of a non-Muslim homosexual is harsher if the homosexual's partner is Muslim. In July 2005 two teenage boys, one 16 and one 18 years of age, were publicly executed; they were charged with raping a 13-year-old boy. A number of groups outside the country alleged the two were executed for homosexuality; however, because of the lack of transparency in the court system, there was no concrete information. In November 2005 domestic conservative press reported that two men in their twenties were hanged in public for lavat (defined as sexual acts between men). The article also said they had a criminal past, including kidnapping and rape. It was not possible to judge whether these men were executed for homosexuality or other crimes.

According to Health Ministry statistics announced in October, there were over 13,000 registered HIV-positive persons in the country, but unofficial estimates were much higher; most were men. Transmission was primarily through shared needles by drug users, and a study showed shared injection inside prison to be a particular risk factor. There was a free anonymous testing clinic in Tehran, government-sponsored low-cost or free methadone treatment, including in prisons. The government also started distributing clean needles in some prisons. The government supported programs for AIDS awareness and did not interfere with private HIV-related NGOs. Contraceptives, including free condoms, were available at health centers as well in pharmacies. Nevertheless, persons infected with HIV faced discrimination in schools and workplaces.

Iraq

There was societal discrimination and reported violence against individuals based on sexual orientation. Laws that criminalized sexual assault against minors were used in a manner that targeted homosexual youth. There were several reported examples of juveniles sentenced to up to 10 years in jail for having engaged in same-sex sexual relations.

An advocacy group reported attacks on homosexual men by armed groups and militias during the year. For example, militias and men wearing police uniforms reportedly kidnapped at least five members of an advocacy group in al-Shaab, a poor Shi'a area of Baghdad in December. The mutilated body of one appeared several days later. Other reports of persons targeted because of their sexual orientation who were kidnapped or disappeared in Baghdad in the last months of the year included activists, a clothing store owner, and four barbers.

Israel and the occupied territories

2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Freedom of Assembly

On November 5, the Attorney General authorized a gay pride parade scheduled for November 10 in Jerusalem, and the Supreme Court rejected several petitions to cancel the parade (see section 5).

c. Freedom of Religion

On November 21, the High Court issued a ruling requiring the government to recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in foreign jurisdictions (see section 5).

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

In October and November, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religious leaders protested plans for a gay pride march in Jerusalem on November 10. On November 5, the Attorney General refused a police recommendation to cancel the parade, and the Supreme Court subsequently rejected several petitions to cancel it. Members of Jerusalem's ultra-Orthodox community threatened to attack parade participants. On November 9, the organizers cancelled the parade and instead held a peaceful rally in a university stadium the following day (see section 2.b.).

During the June 2005 gay pride parade, an ultra-Orthodox Jew stabbed three participants. Police arrested Yishai Shlisel and charged him with three counts of attempted murder. On January 31, Shlisel was convicted and sentenced to 12 years in prison.

On November 21, the High Court required the government to recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in foreign jurisdictions (see section 2.c.). In April 2005 the government announced a policy of recognizing same-sex couples with children as a family for purposes of receiving housing aid.

The Occupied Territories (Including Areas Subject To The Jurisdiction Of The Palestinian Authority)

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There was no legal discrimination against homosexuals, and there were no specific reports of abuse because of sexual orientation. However, cultural traditions and religion reject homosexuality, and Palestinians alleged that public and PA security officers harassed, abused, and sometimes arrested homosexuals because of their sexual orientation.

Italy

In June 2005 the Administrative Court of Catania condemned the Ministry of Transport for having requested the revocation of a driver's license of a homosexual based on his sexual orientation. A civil trial seeking restitution was underway at year's end.

Jamaica

The Offenses Against the Person Act prohibits "acts of gross indecency" (generally interpreted as any kind of physical intimacy) between men, in public or in private, which are punishable by 10 years in prison.

The Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All Sexuals, and Gays (J-FLAG) continued to report human rights abuses, including police harassment, arbitrary detention, mob attacks, stabbings, harassment of homosexual patients by hospital and prison staff, and targeted shootings of homosexuals. Police often did not investigate such incidents. J-FLAG documented a number of instances of homophobic violence during the year, some of which resulted in charges brought to court, while others were never reported to authorities by reason of fear.

On April 4, an angry mob of students chased and beat a man accused of making homosexual advances toward a male student at the University of the West Indies Mona campus. Campus security extracted the alleged homosexual from the mob scene and took him to the police station. At year's end no charges had been made, nor had there been a police investigation into the incident.

On June 29, two women believed to be lesbians, Candice Williams and Phoebe Myrie, were killed. It was reported that an estranged male partner of Williams was the primary suspect in the killings and that the relationship between the women may have been the motive. However, no arrests were made.

In November 2005 Lenford "Steve" Harvey, who operated Jamaican AIDS Support for Life, was killed on the eve of World AIDS Day. Authorities arrested six suspects for the robbery and murder of Harvey and held the same suspects in connection with a similar robbery/murder in which a heterosexual man was killed. Police cited this as evidence that Harvey's murder was not a hate crime, but civil society groups maintained that Harvey would not have been killed had he been heterosexual. Authorities set an early 2007 trial date for the four male suspects; at year's end no date had been set to try the two female suspects.

In December 2005 a homophobic mob allegedly chased homosexual Nokia Cowen off a pier at Kingston Harbor where he drowned. At year's end the police had not identified any suspects in the killing, and the case was no longer being investigated.

In May a court sentenced Dwight Hayden to life imprisonment for the 2004 killing of Brian Williamson, a prominent homosexual rights activist and founding member of J-FLAG.

On January 16, a court acquitted famous dancehall artist Mark Myrie, a.k.a. Buju Banton, of all charges related to a 2004 assault in a house in Kingston when a group of armed men beat six men while shouting homophobic insults.

Male inmates deemed by prison wardens to be homosexual were held in a separate facility for their protection. The method used for determining their sexual orientation was subjective and not regulated by the prison system, although inmates were said to admit their homosexuality for their own safety. There were numerous reports of violence against homosexual inmates, perpetrated both by the wardens and by other inmates, but few inmates sought recourse through the prison system.

Homosexual men were hesitant to report incidents against them because of fear for their physical wellbeing. Human rights NGOs and government entities agreed that brutality against homosexuals, both by police and private citizens, was widespread in the community.

No laws protected persons living with HIV/AIDS from discrimination. Human rights NGOs reported severe stigma and discrimination against this group. The ILO worked with the Ministry of Labor on a program to reduce the stigma of HIV/AIDS in the workplace and to assist employers in designing policies for workers with HIV/AIDS. Although health care facilities were prepared to handle patients with HIV/AIDS, health care workers often neglected such patients.

Japan

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Trafficking in Persons

Employers also sometimes "resold," or threatened to resell, troublesome women or women found to be HIV positive, thereby increasing the victims' debts and often leading to even worse working conditions.

Jordan

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Children

During the year authorities received complaints of 59 cases of physical abuse and 475 cases of sexual abuse of children (a decrease from 2005). The law specifies punishment for abuses against children. Conviction for rape or sodomy of a child under 15 years of age potentially carries the death penalty.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Societal discrimination against homosexuals existed. There are no laws that addressed discrimination against homosexuals.

Kazakhstan

Although there were no press reports or official statistics on sexual orientation discrimination, there were reports of such discrimination. Representatives of international organizations reported social attitudes towards marginalized groups, including homosexuals, impeded these groups' willingness to come forward and, consequently, hindered their access to HIV/AIDS programs. The law prohibits discrimination against persons with HIV and AIDS; however, observers report that cultural stigmas against drug users and other at-risk groups continue to affect general access to information, services, treatment, and care.

Kenya

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

Prison personnel stated that rapes of both male and female inmates, primarily by fellow inmates, continued to be a problem. A June 26 media report indicated that it was not uncommon for prison officials to rape female inmates. Experts believed the incidence of HIV infection to be increasing among the prison population, although statistics were difficult to obtain because there were no voluntary counseling or testing services in most prisons. Hundreds of prisoners died annually from infectious diseases caused by overcrowding and inadequate medical treatment. For example, on July 21, a court ruled that the 2004 deaths of five prisoners at Meru G. K. Prison were a result of prison overcrowding, that prison conditions had been inhumane, and that the government should expand the prison.

There were no separate facilities for minors in pretrial detention. At year's end, there were no known developments in the August 2005 petition by 31 pretrial detainees in Embu prison to separate young boys from their adult counterparts because of allegations of sodomy in the cells. A February 2005 media report noted that High Court judges touring King'ong'omaximum security prison discovered several minors, one only 15 years old, serving long sentences among adult prisoners. The judges ordered the prison to provide information on the minors' convictions and imprisonment in order to conduct a review, but there were no known developments in the review during the year. In January a judiciary subcommittee report recommended that judges and magistrates visit prisons regularly to ensure that children are not confined with adult inmates.

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Women

Wife inheritance, in which a man inherits the widow of his brother or other close relative, was commonly practiced in certain communities. On January 15, the Nation reported that men felt it was their responsibility to marry HIV-positive widows to spare other men from being infected. Although poor and uneducated women were more likely to be inherited or suffer from property and inheritance discrimination, prominent and educated women sometimes were victims. Forced marriages were also common.

Children

Child prostitution increased considerably in recent years due to both poverty and the increase in the number of children orphaned because of the spread of HIV/AIDS. Strong growth in the tourism industry led to an increasingly severe problem of foreign and domestic tourists seeking sex with underage girls and boys (see section 6). According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), approximately 30,000 girls under the age of 19 years were engaged in prostitution in the country.

Difficult economic conditions and the spread of HIV/AIDS continued to intensify the problem of homeless street children. During the year the children's rights NGO ANPPCANN estimated that approximately 750,000 children lived on the streets. Street children faced harassment as well as physical and sexual abuse from police and society, and within the juvenile justice system. For example, in January street children who had allegedly stabbed a bus driver were beaten by residents in Eldoret who argued that the children posed a security threat in the community.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There was societal discrimination against homosexuals and persons with HIV/AIDS. A lingering stigma toward persons with HIV/AIDS made it difficult for many families to admit that their members were HIV-positive.

There were occasional reports of violence against persons with HIV/AIDS. For example, on April 15, a 15-year-old boy was killed by his uncle, allegedly because of his HIV status. The uncle was still at large at year's end.An April 26 media report noted that military members with HIV/AIDS were ostracized by their colleagues.

The Department of Defense provided for uniformed personnel and their families and some members of the community to have access to HIV counseling and testing, prevention programming, and antiretroviral treatment.

The government worked in cooperation with international donors on programs of HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment.

6 Worker Rights

d. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment

Children worked primarily in the informal sector, mostly in family businesses and on family plots where they assisted their parents. A significant number of children worked in family units on tea, coffee, sugar, and rice plantations. Children also worked in mining, small quarries, and abandoned gold mines. Children often worked as domestic servants in private homes, and during the year there were reports of abuse of children serving as domestic employees. Poverty and the growing number of HIV/AIDS orphans led to an increase in child labor in the informal sector, which was difficult to monitor and control. In addition a large number of children were exploited in the sex industry (see section 5). The employment of children in the formal industrial wage sector in violation of the Employment Act was less common.

Korea, Republic of

During the year a United Nations Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic estimated that the country had approximately 13,000 persons with HIV or AIDS, although the government recorded only 4,229 official cases. The AIDS Prevention Act, enacted in 1987, ensures the confidentiality of persons with HIV/AIDS and protects individuals from discrimination. The government supported rehabilitation programs and shelters run by private groups and subsidized medical expenses from the initial diagnosis. The government operated a Web site with HIV/AIDS information and a telephone counseling service. Some observers claimed that persons with HIV/AIDs suffered from severe societal discrimination and social isolation.

Kuwait

There was discrimination against homosexuals in societal attitudes and legal issues. In February 2005 police charged a group of 28 alleged homosexuals with creating a public disturbance after they met outside a fast-food restaurant. On October 27, police raided a party where homosexuals were allegedly celebrating a wedding. On December 10, the legislative committee of the National Assembly unanimously approved a law to impose a fine of $3,450 (1,000 dinars) and/or one year's imprisonment for those imitating the opposite sex.

Unmarried men faced housing discrimination based solely on marital status. Emiri decree 125 of 1992 prohibits single men from obtaining accommodation in many urban residential areas as determined by the Municipal Council. In September 2005 the Council of Ministers approved a plan to construct housing for noncitizen single males on the outskirts of the capital and remove them from urban residential areas. At year's end the government had not completed the project. In April the Municipal Council sent teams to warn bachelors that they must move out of areas where families lived.

Kyrgyz Republic

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

According to an August International Crisis Group (ICG) report, the majority of prisoners were under tight control of criminal leaders who enforced a caste system inherited from the former Soviet Union. Corruption was rife and human rights violations widespread among prison officials. According to the ICG, HIV/AIDS and TB infection rates among inmates were higher than in the general population.

According to the department supervising penitentiary facilities, there were 102 prisoners with HIV out of approximately 16,000 prisoners.

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

The law prohibits discrimination based on race, gender, disability, language, or social status, although in practice there was discrimination against women, persons with disabilities, ethnic minorities, and homosexuals.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

According to a 2005 Dutch study, persons of nontraditional sexual orientation, particularly homosexual men, were among the most oppressed groups, although the country does not outlaw homosexuality. Those whose sexuality was publicly known risked physical and verbal abuse, possible loss of work, and unwanted attention from police and authorities, particularly lower ranking police. Incarcerated gay men were often openly victimized in prisons by inmates and officials alike.

Laos

Within lowland Lao society, despite wide and growing tolerance of homosexual practices, societal discrimination persisted against such practices.

There was no official discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS, but social discrimination existed. The government actively promoted tolerance of those with HIV/AIDS, and during the year it conducted awareness campaigns to educate the population and promote understanding toward such persons.

Latvia

2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Freedom of Assembly

The constitution and laws provide for freedom of assembly, and the authorities may not prohibit public gatherings; however, organizers of demonstrations must provide advance notice to local authorities, who may change the time and place of public gatherings for such reasons as fear of public disorder. The law also requires protesters to remain specified distances from foreign diplomatic missions, the parliament, the Prosecutor's Office, and certain other public institutions. Numerous demonstrations took place peacefully and without government interference during the year. However, in July authorities denied a permit for a gay pride parade on grounds of unspecified security threats to the marchers. Parade organizers attempted to host a private event at a local hotel as an alternative to the denied march. This event was disrupted by protesters who opposed homosexuality (see section 5).

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Societal violence and discrimination against homosexuals was a problem. On July 19, the Riga city government, after coming under pressure and criticism from various political parties and religious groups, denied a permit for a gay pride parade. The reasons cited for the cancellation were security considerations, although the specifics were never made public and all court hearings were closed to the press and public. On July 22, parade organizers attempted to host several private functions as alternatives to the cancelled march. Demonstrators opposed to homosexuality surrounded and harassed participants outside these events, throwing eggs, shouting aggressive insults, and dumping human excrement on them. Police arrested 14 people for public disorder. In late August the Riga Vidzeme District Court and Riga Central District court fined seven opponents of the gay pride events charged with causing public disorder. In addition all seven faced prosecution for inciting public disorder. These cases were outstanding at the end of the year. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission all voiced their concern during the year over the failure of authorities to protect the gay pride event participants as well as the imposition of a ban on the originally planned parade.

Lebanon

Discrimination against homosexuals persisted during the year. The law prohibits unnatural sexual intercourse, which is punishable by up to one year in prison. The law was sometimes applied to homosexuals. Citizens sexual preferences reflected societal norms, not legal rulings. There are no discriminatory laws against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Lesotho

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Women

The law prohibits rape, including spousal rape, and mandates a minimum sentence of five years' imprisonment, with no option for a fine. The rape of young children, older girls, and women was common. Courts heard a number of rape and attempted rape cases, and sentences were imposed and carried out. There were numerous cases of rape involving very young girls, as a result of the ill-informed belief among some men that such intercourse could cure HIV infections. Although there were convictions in several cases, sentences tended to be minimal. The organizations involved in combating the problemincluded the GCPU, the LCCU, and other NGOs. Their activities included teaching young persons and parents about the Sexual Offenses Act of 2003, in schools, churches, and in village gatherings; and teaching persons how to report such offenses and how to access victims' services.

Children

Child abuse was a common problem, especially for children made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS. There were few official reports or statistics. During the year the Ministry of Gender, Youth, Sports, and Recreation stated on a number of occasions that there was a need to fight child abuse.

Familial stress, poverty, the spread of HIV/AIDS, and divorce led to a rise in child homelessness and abandonment, creating a growing number of street children and families headed by children; their number totaled an estimated 100,000 to 200,000. Street children were hampered by lack of access to government services, such as medical care and schooling, and were not informed about their rights to such services. There were no reports of abuse of street children by security forces.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There continued to be reports that children orphaned by AIDS, persons with AIDS, and their immediate families were ostracized.

In 2004 the prime minister took an HIV/AIDS test and started an HIV/AIDS awareness campaign.

In June parliament amended the labor code to include an HIV/AIDS workplace policy. On July 17, King Letsie III recognized the work of an HIV/AIDS activist with an award. Each government ministry or department provided subsidized medicine and food to its employees with HIV/AIDS (such assistance was available to all citizens at subsidized prices at all government hospitals).

LDF policy states if a soldier is found to be HIV positive after induction, he is not retired or separated. The soldier is provided counseling and testing, and his duties are adapted as appropriate.

6 Worker Rights

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work

The government and private sector implemented voluntary HIV/AIDS counseling and testing programs in line with Labor Code Act Number 5, passed in June, which strengthened existing programs.

Libya

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Since 2000 six foreign medical personnel charged with deliberately infecting children in a hospital in Benghazi with the HIV virus testified repeatedly that they had been tortured with electric shocks and beatings to extract confessions. The medical personnel also testified to two cases of rape. In June 2005 a court acquitted 10 security officials accused of torture (see section 1.e.).

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial

Trial Procedures

In 2004 a court sentenced to death six foreign health workers accused of deliberately infecting 426 children with HIV‑tainted blood in 1999. The sentences reportedly were based on confessions that the accused made under torture (see section 1.c.). International observers reported serious concerns about the lack of investigation into allegations of torture and delays in bringing the case to a conclusion. In December 2005 the Supreme Court accepted the appeal of the medics and ordered a retrial by the criminal court, which began on May 11. Authorities denied the defendants and their lawyers the right to call witnesses or present evidence while giving wide latitude to the prosecution. Defendants and their lawyers had limited access to government‑held evidence. At the December 19 conclusion of the retrial, the court announced sentences of death for the six health workers. At year's end the Supreme Court was reviewing the verdict.

Lithuania

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

The Seimas ombudsman's office received complaints that prison authorities arbitrarily restricted rights of prisoners who had good conduct records, interfered with inmates' correspondence, separated prisoners with HIV, and did not ensure access to medical services in jails.

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Local human rights organizations and members of the homosexual community reported that physical abuse on the street, discrimination, and persistent social exclusion of homosexuals were problems.

In October the ECHR opened a hearing into a case against the government by a young transsexual woman who appealed to the ECHR to order the Ministry of Health to provide a sex change operation as recommended by her doctors. The ministry deferred acting on the doctors' recommendation on the grounds that the Seimas had not approved a law on sex change. The ECHR had not reached a decision in the case by year's end.

Macedonia

There is no general antidiscrimination law that specifies sexual orientation as a protected class, however, the labor law does prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. A local NGO representing the rights of homosexuals reported incidents of societal prejudice against homosexuals, including harassment or discrimination by employers and state officials. During the year this NGO began a project to document human rights violations based on sexual orientation, as it believed abuses were underreported.

Malawi

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

During the year an average of 20 inmates died in prison each month, mostly due to HIV/AIDS. There were no available statistics on prison deaths at year's end.

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Women

Prostitution is legal; however, the law prohibits living off the wages earned through prostitution, owning a brothel, or forcing another person into prostitution. On February 26, prostitutes found loitering in Kasungu were charged with living on earnings from prostitution and ordered to pay a small fine or face three months' imprisonment. In August eight prostitutes in Lilongwe were ordered to pay a small fine for loitering at night. In July 2005, bar and hotel owners, participating in a 4 day workshop to brainstorm on commercial sex activities and the spread of HIV/AIDS, called on the government to criminalize prostitution. There was no government action during the year.

The law provides for a minimum level of child support, widows' rights, and the rights to maternity leave; however, only individuals who utilized the formal legal system benefited from these legal protections. In a few isolated areas, a widow was sometimes forced to have sex with in laws as part of a culturally mandated "sexual cleansing" ritual following the death of her husband. In some cases, she was "inherited" by a brother in law or other male relative. Although there were no laws specifically prohibiting these practices, the government and civil society made efforts to abolish them by raising awareness concerning the inherent dangers of such behavior, including the risk of HIV/AIDS transmission.

Children

More than half of the country's children lived in poverty, mostly in rural areas. Children in rural households headed by women were among the poorest. Only one third of children had ready access to safe drinking water, infant mortality was high, and child malnutrition was a serious problem. In June 2005 the government launched a National Plan of Action for Orphans and Vulnerable Children to mitigate the impact of poverty and HIV/AIDS on the country's estimated one million orphans.

Child abuse was a problem. The press reported several cases of sexual abuse of children, including arrests for rape, incest, sodomy, and defilement. On February 18, a man was sentenced to nine years' imprisonment with hard labor for indecent assault of his 16-month-old daughter in 2004. In June a man was sentenced to 14 years' imprisonment with hard labor for defiling his 12-year-old niece. In July an HIV-positive man was sentenced to 18 years' imprisonment with hard labor for defiling two girls in Mulanje and infecting them with gonorrhea. During the year the press reported a few alleged rape cases involving female perpetrators who went unpunished since the relevant law only recognizes male rapists.

The trafficking of children for sexual purposes was a problem (see section 5, Trafficking), and child prostitution also occurred. The belief that children were unlikely to be HIV positive and the widespread belief that sexual intercourse with virgins can cleanse an individual of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, contributed to the sexual exploitation of minors.

A few charitable organizations attempted to reduce the number of child beggars in urban areas; however, the problem of street children worsened as the number of orphans whose parents died from HIV/AIDS increased. Extended family members normally cared for such children and other orphans.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Homosexuality is illegal, although there were no prosecutions for homosexuality during the year.

Societal discrimination against persons living with HIV/AIDS was widespread and inhibited access to treatment; many individuals preferred to keep silent about their health rather than seek help and risk being ostracized. In June 2005 the industrial relations court in Lilongwe ruled that an employer had discriminated against an HIV-positive worker, whom he fired after learning of her illness. The employer complied with the court decision to award eight months' compensation to the worker. The Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training (MOLVT) conducted a public relations program to reduce the stigma associated with having HIV/AIDS.

Malaysia

2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

a. Freedom of Speech and Press

Academic Freedom and Cultural Events

The government censored and banned films for profanity, nudity, sex, violence, and certain political and religious content. Films banned during the year included Brokeback Mountain, due to its references to homosexuality, and a locally produced film, The Last Communist, about the communist insurgency in the country from 1948 to 1960.

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Although there are no laws that prohibit homosexuality, laws against sodomy and "carnal intercourse against the order of nature" exist and were enforced. Religious and cultural taboos against homosexuality were widespread. The government's response to HIV/AIDS was generally nondiscriminatory, although stigmatization of AIDS sufferers was common.

Maldives

The law prohibits homosexuality, and citizens did not generally accept homosexuality. The punishment for men includes banishment from nine months to one year or whipping from 10 to 30 times. For women, the punishment is house arrest for nine months to one year.

There were no reports of official or societal discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Mali

2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Freedom of Association

The constitution and law provide for freedom of association, and the government generally respected this right in practice; however, the law prohibits association deemed immoral. In June 2005 the governor of the District of Bamako cited this law to refuse official recognition of a gay rights association.

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Social Abuses and Discrimination

In June 2005 the governor of Bamako refused to grant official recognition to a gay rights association (see section 2.b.).

Mauritania

There was no evidence of either societal violence or systematic transitional government discrimination directed at practicing homosexuals. Although Shari'a outlaws homosexuality under certain conditions, secular laws did not.

There was no evidence of systematic discrimination by either society or government against persons with HIV/AIDS; however, taboos and beliefs associated with the disease caused victims in some areas to face isolation or exclusion.

Mexico

While homosexuals experienced a growing social acceptance, the National Center to Prevent and Control HIV/AIDS (CONASIDA) stated that discrimination persisted. Homophobic beliefs and practices were common, reflected principally in entertainment media programs and everyday attitudes. Reports of attacks against homosexuals and transsexuals were frequent.

The law prohibits several types of discrimination, including bias based on sexuality, and requires federal agencies to promote tolerance. In April 2005 the government launched a radio campaign to fight homophobia with material prepared by CONASIDA.

On November 9, the Mexico City legislative assembly passed a bill, later signed into law, which authorizes homo- and heterosexual couples to register their union with municipal authorities, according them inheritance and certain other rights normally accorded only to spouses.

There were several incidents of harassment and violent attacks against homosexuals. In the case of the June 2005 murder of Octavio Acuna, an activist for the rights of persons with HIV/AIDS, police arrested a minor on the charge of homicide; he remained in juvenile detention awaiting his trial at year's end. The state attorney general's office charged with the case, however, said that the investigation lacked any evidence that suggested the crime was connected to homophobia.

Moldova

2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Freedom of Assembly

On April 28, the Chisinau authorities refused for a second year to issue a permit to the NGO GenderDoc-M for a peaceful demonstration in connection with the country's fifth annual gay pride events (see section 5).

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There were reports of governmental and societal discrimination based on sexual orientation.

According to the NGO GenderDoc-M, lack of community recognition, negative media portrayals, and condemnation by the Orthodox Church often led to public ostracism of gays, lesbians, and their families. On April 28, the Mayor of Chisinau denied the NGO's request to organize an event in support of gay rights out of fear that religious groups would organize protest actions if the rally went ahead. Chisinau authorities had refused a similar request in May 2005 by GenderDoc-M for a demonstration to support antidiscrimination legislation for sexual minorities.

GenderDoc-M reported that there were on-going cases of gay children being asked to leave home by their parents, and incidents of villages shunning a family because of a gay child. The NGO also reported that police continued to threaten gays and lesbians with public exposure if they did not pay bribes.

In Transnistria, homosexuality was illegal, and gays and lesbians were subject to governmental and societal discrimination.

Several NGOs reported instances of discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS, particularly in rural villages.

Mongolia

There was no official discrimination against those with HIV/AIDS; however, some societal discrimination existed.

Montenegro

Society generally showed antipathy towards homosexuals, leading most homosexuals to conceal their identity. Violence against homosexuals was rare and not condoned by the government.

Mozambique

1 Respect for Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Torture and other abusive treatment continued at the police squadrons, particularly at Maputo's 13th Squadron, according to LDH. During the year police detained seven persons from Swaziland and confiscated necessary antiretroviral medicine to fight HIV from two of the detainees; the police only returned the medicine following intervention by LDH. There were no further updates in the case by year's end.

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

In a series of prison visits conducted during the first half of the year, LDH found malaria, scabies, and tuberculosis to be frequent among prisoners in nearly all of the country's prisons. LDH also found other illnesses caused by malnutrition, including paralysis and blindness. During the first half of the year, LDH found 47 persons with paralysis at Machava Prison. Both healthy and sick prisoners regularly were kept in the same cells. The spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases was a serious problem for the prison population.

5 Discrimination, Social Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

The constitution and law prohibit discrimination based on race, gender, disability, language, or social status, but in practice discrimination persisted against women, persons with disabilities, and persons with HIV/AIDS.

Women

Kukuyana, a national network of women living with HIV/AIDS, reported that many women were expelled from their houses and/or abandoned by their husbands and relatives because they were HIV positive. They also reported that some women who were widowed by HIV/AIDS were accused of being witches who purposefully killed their husbands to acquire their belongings, and for this reason these women were deprived of all of their belongings.

Children

During the year, students at a public boarding school in Inhambane reportedly abused incoming students by forcing them to bathe in feces and urine and to have homosexual relations with each other.

The government took steps to address the problems facing HIV/AIDS orphans in the country. In 2005 it was estimated that one in every five households cared for at least one orphan. UNICEF estimated that of the country's 1.6 million orphans, more than 380,000 lost either one or both parents to HIV/AIDS. Several government agencies, including the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Women and Social Action, implemented programs to provide health assistance and vocational education for HIV/AIDS orphans.

The Family Law sets the minimum age for civil marriage at 21 years, although persons between the ages of 18 and 20 could marry with parental consent. Despite the law, local customs, primarily in the northern provinces and in Muslim and South Asian communities, created a pattern of marriage below the legal age. The NGO Mulheid and others worked to combat this custom through education campaigns on the dangers of the practice, including the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

The law prohibits discrimination on the basis of HIV/AIDS, and the Ministry of Labor intervened in cases of perceived discrimination by employers. The NGO Pfunani reported that although the law protects citizens with HIV/AIDS from discrimination in the workplace, persons infected with HIV/AIDS suffered discrimination at home, in their communities, and in the workplace, and that many workers preferred to keep their diagnosis a secret and not seek treatment to avoid risking losing their jobs. In November the news daily Canal de Mocambique reported that some businesses obliged workers to take HIV/AIDS tests twice a year and, in most cases, publicly revealed test results. The report also noted that individuals who tested positive often were fired.

The law does not specifically address discrimination against homosexuals, and there were occasional reports of discrimination. Actions were taken by media and civil society groups during the year to promote the rights of homosexuals. In July a major newspaper published, for the first time, an article arguing in favor of homosexual rights. In the article, prominent journalist Emilio Manhique editorialized that homosexuals "have a right to be different." In October the LDH organized the country's first seminar on homosexual rights. The two-day event proposed the creation of an official homosexual rights association, recommended the inclusion of information on sexuality in the school system, and criticized the censorship of homosexual issues in the media.

6 Worker Rights

d. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment

Although the law prohibits forced and bonded labor by children, a 2004-05 survey by the National Statistics Institute showed that 32 percent of children between the ages of seven and 17 were involved in some form of economic activity. Many children in rural areas were forced to work, particularly in commercial agriculture, as domestics, and in prostitution. The major factors contributing to the worst forms of child labor were chronic family poverty, lack of employment for adults, breakdown of family support mechanisms, the changing economic environment, lack of education opportunities, gender inequality, and the impact of HIV/AIDS.

Children orphaned by HIV/AIDS often were forced to work because they were left without family support.

Namibia

2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

d. Freedom of Movement within the Country, Foreign Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

Protection of Refugees

Approximately 6,000 refugees resided in Osire Refugee Camp and another 500 lived outside the camp among the general population. Approximately 4,500 of the refugees were from Angola; the others primarily were from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, and Rwanda. The government generally did not permit refugees and asylum seekers to work or live outside the Osire refugee camp. Education through grade 10 was available to all refugees at the camp, and the government facilitated further secondary education for students with financial sponsorship at schools outside the camp. Some tension with local farmers persisted, fueled by frequent intrusion of refugees into farmers' properties. On March 30, the government launched an initiative to provide antiretroviral therapy to refugees infected with HIV/AIDS.

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Children

During the year the government took several steps to provide medical care and other assistance to the approximately 108,500 HIV/AIDS orphans and other vulnerable children. For example, the government reduced or eliminated school fees and provided social grants.

Child prostitution occurred, and parents as well as perpetrators were liable in such cases. The growing number of HIV/AIDS orphans increased the vulnerability of children to sexual abuse and exploitation.

Numerous children orphaned by HIV/AIDS engaged in prostitution as a means of survival.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Discrimination of homosexuals occurred. During the year senior government officials continued to make disparaging public remarks about homosexuals or used the word "homosexual" as an epithet. For example, Sam Nujoma the SWAPO President and former President of the country, reportedly called the director of the National Society for Human Rights and members of the Shabeen Owners Association "homosexuals" for criticizing government action on the closure of illegal shebeens. His remarks sparked wide criticism in the media and by human rights groups. Observers believed the slur generated greater societal pressure on homosexuals and undermined the human rights organization.

6 Worker Rights

d. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment

The government has introduced several programs aimed at supporting children to stay in school and away from the labor market. The Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, and the Ministry of Health and Social Services coordinated welfare programs for orphans, including those affected by HIV/AIDS, by providing grants and scholarships to keep them in school. Additionally, the government also collaborated with the Namibia Agricultural Union and the Namibia Farm Workers Union in efforts to eliminate child labor through awareness campaigns. The government also continued to work with NGOs such as Project Hope to assist the victims of child labor.

Nepal

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Trafficking in Persons

Hundreds of women and girls returned voluntarily or were rescued and repatriated to the country after having worked as commercial sex workers in India. Many had been expelled from their brothels after contracting sexually transmitted diseases or tuberculosis. Most were destitute and, according to estimates by local NGOs Maiti Nepal and ABC Nepal, 50 percent were HIV-positive when they returned. Maiti Nepal, the country's largest antitrafficking NGO, operated a hospice for HIV-positive trafficking victims and their children.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

The country has no laws that specifically criminalize homosexuality; however, government authorities, especially police, sometimes harassed and abused homosexuals. According to Blue Diamond Society (BDS), an indigenous NGO that worked to protect against discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities, harassment of homosexuals did not stop after the popular uprising.

On March 14, according to BDS, police arrested 26 transgender people and HIV/AIDS outreach workers in the Thamel and Durbar Marg areas of Kathmandu. They were charged reportedly with "creating a public nuisance" and were taken to Hanoman Dhoka police station in Kathmandu. Several members of the group were later moved to Kalimati police station. They were not permitted to speak to a lawyer for several days.

Netherlands, The

2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

c. Freedom of Religion

Societal Abuses and Discrimination

The number of Muslims in the country has increased significantly in the past two decades. At the beginning of the year, the population included approximately 950,000 Muslims, 5.8 percent of the total. They lived primarily in the larger cities. The murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh in 2004 by an Islamic extremist, and subsequent reactions to it, brought tensions between the Muslim and non‑Muslim communities to the surface. These tensions continued to color intercommunal relations during the year. Minor incidents, including intimidation, brawls, vandalism, and graffiti with abusive texts, were frequent. Many in the Muslim community expressed an increased sense of alienation from Dutch society.

In a February poll, a majority of "native Dutch" found Islam an intolerant (52 percent), violent (40 percent), women‑unfriendly (70 percent), and humorless (54 percent) religion, and 54 percent said Islam and democracy were incompatible.

Half of those interviewed in a June poll conducted by the Motivaction Research Institute held very negative views of Islam, and 63 percent regarded Islam as incompatible with Western society. Dutch Muslims often felt compelled to defend themselves against criticism of their poor integration into society, the high level of criminal activity among Muslim youth, and the views of conservative Muslims on women's rights, homosexuality, and corporal punishment.

Anti‑Semitism among right‑wing extremists appeared to increase. The independent Registration Center for Discrimination on the Internet has described several hundred right-wing Web sites as extremist, including those of Stormfront.org, Polinico, National Alliance, and Holland Hardcore. These sites target not just Jews but also Muslims, blacks, and homosexuals.

It is a crime to engage in public speech that incites religious, racial, or ethnic hatred, and the government prosecuted several cases during the year. For example, on May 3, a district court convicted and sentenced to 200 hours of community services a man who placed remarks insulting Jews, disabled persons, homosexuals, Muslims, and other minorities on a right‑wing Web site. On May 24, the producers of the Housewitz film clip, a spoof on Auschwitz, which the court called "sickening," were convicted of incitement to hatred. On January 25, a man was convicted of incitement to hatred for producing material, placed on the Internet, that insulted homosexuals and Jews.

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

Protection of Refugees

However, NGOs and the UNHCR alleged that the government returned asylum seekers to countries where the security situation was insufficiently stable to guarantee their safety, such as Iraq, Iran, Somalia, and Afghanistan. These challenges drew intense political scrutiny and gave rise to parliamentary hearings whose consequences included the delay or reversal of government proposals to return asylum seekers from central and southern Iraq, as well as homosexuals and Christian converts from Iran.

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

With the proliferation of Internet Web sites, the dissemination of racial and discriminatory material remained widespread. The NGO Discrimination on the Internet Registration Center registered approximately 1,300 incidents in 2005. The increase in expressions of hostility toward Muslims was particularly notable. Groups subject to hostility on a national basis included Moroccans, blacks, Jews, and homosexuals.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Homosexuals faced increasing harassment in larger cities, primarily from some groups of Muslim youth. Harassment consisted largely of verbal epithets and abuse.

Nicaragua

Although sexual orientation is not mentioned specifically, the constitution states that all persons are equal before the law and have the right to equal protection. The penal code criminalizes homosexual acts with a penalty of between one and three years' imprisonment, but this prohibition was not enforced.

The law provides specific protections for persons with HIV/AIDS against employment and health services discrimination. During the year there were no reports of police or other authorities perpetrating or condoning violence against persons based on sexual orientation or HIV/AIDS status, and there were no reliable statistics on the extent of societal discrimination based on sexual orientation or HIV/AIDS status. The government undertook minimal effort to address discrimination based on sexual orientation or HIV/AIDS status.

Niger

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Children

Underage marriage was a problem, especially in rural areas and in traditional communities. Some families entered into marriage agreements under which young girls from rural areas were sent by the age of 10 or 12 and sometimes younger to join their husband's family under the tutelage of their mother in law. Since 2005 the Ministry of Women's Promotion and Child Protection cooperated with women's associations to sensitize rural communities and their traditional chiefs and religious leaders to the problem of underage marriage. In November the ministry and women's NGOs organized a three-week program of country-wide town hall meetings and educational caravans to address issues including child marriage, FGM, HIV/AIDS, and domestic violence.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There were no reports of violence against homosexuals; however, social discrimination was routinely practiced. Most homosexuals hid their sexual preference to avoid this. The government took no action on discrimination against homosexuals.

There were strong government efforts to discourage discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS. Prime time radio and television skits were aired several times daily beginning in October to sensitize families of persons with HIV/AIDS and the population at large to care for such persons. The announcements emphasized that persons with HIV/AIDS constituted no threat and that they needed support and understanding. They also stressed the availability of free drugs. However, societal discrimination against such persons continued.

Nigeria

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

Disease was pervasive in the cramped, poorly ventilated facilities, and chronic shortages of medical supplies were reported. HIV/AIDS was of particular concern within the prison population, and pre-existing infections were exacerbated by the substandard living conditions imposed on inmates. Prison inmates were allowed outside their cells for recreation or exercise only irregularly, and many inmates had to provide their own food. Only those with money or whose relatives brought food regularly had sufficient food; petty corruption among prison officials made it difficult for money provided for food to reach prisoners. Poor inmates often relied on handouts from others to survive. Beds or mattresses were not provided to many inmates, forcing them to sleep on concrete floors, often without a blanket. Prison officials, police, and security forces often denied inmates food and medical treatment as a form of punishment or to extort money from them. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) continued to provide health and hygiene items to prisoners during the year.

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Homosexuality is illegal under federal law; homosexual practices are punishable by prison sentences of up to 14 years. In the 12 northern states that have adopted Shari'a, adults convicted of having engaged in homosexual intercourse are subject to execution by stoning, although no such sentences were imposed during the year. Because of widespread taboos against homosexuality, very few persons were openly homosexual.

During the year the National Assembly considered an antigay marriage bill that would duplicate existing laws on marriage and sexual relations while making it more difficult for advocacy groups to operate. The bill had not passed by the end of the year.

There was widespread discrimination against persons living with HIV/AIDS, which the public considered a disease resulting from immoral behavior. Persons living with HIV/AIDS often lost their jobs or were denied health care services. However, public education campaigns were implemented to reduce stigma and change perceptions of the disease.

Oman

While there were no reports of official discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS, societal attitudes in the country remained fearful toward persons with the disease. The Ministry of Health initiated and promoted a "Peer Education" pilot project in the Muscat area to improve awareness of and education about the disease among youth. An outreach center opened in the town of Sur in June and provided free HIV/AIDS testing and counseling. The Ministry of Health, in conjunction with UNICEF, also performed outreach and free testing at several large cultural festivals held during the year. A toll‑free AIDS hot line fielded several hundred calls during the year and approximately 2,000 calls in 2005. The hot line also provided information on sexually transmitted diseases.

The Penal Code criminalizes homosexuality. Individuals can be prosecuted based on complaint, and sentenced to a jail term of six months to three years.

Pakistan

Homosexual intercourse is a criminal offense; however, the government rarely prosecuted cases.

Homosexuals rarely revealed openly their sexual orientation, and there were no allegations during the year of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

In cooperation with donors and the UN, the government established the National AIDS Control Program (NACP), which managed an aggressive campaign to educate its citizens regarding AIDS. NACP held rallies, public campaigns and spoke about birth control and AIDS awareness in mosques. Those suffering from HIV/AIDS faced broad societal discrimination.

Panama

A law prohibiting homosexuality was not enforced. The March gay pride parade was headed by former Miss Universe Justine Pasek, who asked for tolerance. The NGO New Men and Women of Panama averred that employers discriminated against openly gay people.

The law prohibits discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS in employment and education, but discrimination continued to be common due to ignorance of the law and of HIV/AIDS. The government provided treatment for HIV/AIDS in at least 80 percent of cases through the Ministry of Health and Social Security, but the government had problems maintaining retroviral medication in stock.

Papua New Guinea

There were no reports of government discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS; however, there was a strong societal stigma attached to HIV/AIDS infection that prevented individuals from seeking HIV/AIDS related services, and there were reports that companies have dismissed HIV positive employees after learning of their condition.

Peru

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

Prison conditions were harsh. Prisoners with money had access to cellular telephones, illicit drugs, and meals prepared outside of the prison, but conditions were poor to extremely harsh in all facilities for prisoners lacking funds. Overcrowding, poor sanitation, and inadequate nutrition and health care were serious problems. Inmates had intermittent access to running water; bathing facilities were inadequate; kitchen facilities were unhygienic; and prisoners slept in hallways and common areas for lack of cell space. Illegal drugs were available in many prisons, and tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS were reportedly at near epidemic levels.

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Homosexuals faced extensive discrimination, although homosexual rights gained a higher profile. On July 16, for the fifth year, hundreds of persons, including public officials, union leaders, lesbians, homosexuals, and bisexuals marched in downtown Lima.

Poland

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention

Role of the Police and Security Apparatus

In November, following several anti-Semitic and anti-gay incidents in Warsaw and Wroclaw, a local non-governmental organization (NGO), Open Republic of Poland - Association against Anti-Semitism and Xenophobia, appealed to the Ministry of Interior to provide clearer guidelines to police on how to respond to these types of complaints. The NGO accused police of being inattentive and helpless in reacting to societal abuse and harassment.

2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Freedom of Assembly

In contrast with the previous year, Warsaw authorities granted a permit to a consortium of gay rights advocates to organize an Equality Parade on June 10 as well as to a right-wing, antigay group to protest the event. Police provided adequate protection for the approximately 5,000-6,000 local and international activists who took part in the parade, although some counterprotestors threw eggs and rocks at the marchers (see section 5).

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

International NGOs, including Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International (AI), and the European Parliament urged the government to end homophobia and to halt attacks on gays and lesbians. In June, HRW and AI separately issued statements expressing concern about possible violence in connection with an "equality parade" organized by a consortium of gay rights advocates (see section 2.b.); the parade was held June 10 without major incidents.

Prior to the equality parade, a Sejm member and prominent member of the Catholic League of Polish Families, Wojciech Wierzejski, criticized the event in remarks before the Sejm, describing gays as "deviants" and stating that, when the parade begins, marchers "should be beaten with batons."

On June 15, the European Parliament voted to condemn the rising environment of intolerance and homophobia in the country, with some parliamentarians singling out Wierzejski for inciting violence against gays and lesbians.

There was discrimination against HIV-positive persons. The national AIDS center reported no cases of discrimination against HIV-positive persons in the units supervised and funded by the center.

Portugal

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

According to the Director General for Prisons, approximately 35 percent of the prison population was infected with HIV/AIDS and/or hepatitis B or C. The highest percentage (at least 20 percent) is infected with hepatitis C while at least 10 percent are infected with HIV/AIDS. According to the Ministry of Justice, 93 persons died in prisons during 2005, 25 of them from HIV/AIDS and 35 from unspecified illnesses. Nine were reported as suicides. The government's AIDS prevention and treatment program continued in two major prisons on a three-year trial basis.

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Children

The high-profile trial of a pedophilia operation at the Casa Pia children's home in Lisbon that began in November 2004 continued at year's end. The eight defendants faced charges ranging from procurement and rape to homosexual acts with adolescents and sexual abuse of minors for abusing 46 children.

Qatar

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Although there were no reports of discrimination based on sexual orientation, sodomy (whether male or female) is a criminal offense.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

The law prohibits same-sex relations between both males and females.Penalties for adults range from a maximum of seven to 15 years imprisonment. There were at least two cases that come before the court during the year. One case involved a Qatari male and an Asian expatriate male. The case remained before the court as of years end. The other involved a 41-year old Turkish male who was acquitted in a case involving a 21-year old Turkish male.

There was no discrimination reported against HIV patients if they were citizens or were in the country with a legal residence permit. They were usually reported to the Preventive Health Department to maintain statistical records about the extent of contagious diseases in the country and to receive treatment. Foreigners who contracted the disease were deported if they had not stamped their residence permits yet. In the case of AIDS patients, foreigners were deported to their home country. In case of citizens, they were quarantined and received treatment. Specific statistics on diseases were not available and such information was classified by the government as critical and sensitive.

Romania

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Lesbian and gay rights NGOs complained that police singled out members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community for violence and harassment (see section 5).

c. Freedom of Religion

Societal Abuses and Discrimination

In April the government enacted a law to combat anti-Semitism and prohibit fascist, racist, and xenophobic organizations. The law includes the persecution of Roma in addition to Jews in its definition of the Holocaust, since approximately 14,000 Roma were killed in the country during that period. However, authorities failed to enforce the law against participants in an anti-gay parade on June 3, who used symbols and slogans of the Iron Guard (see section 5).

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Persons with Disabilities

The Center for Legal Resources, a local NGO, reported that minors with mental disabilities were routinely mistreated in state care institutions. These children were subjected to both verbal and physical abuse, including being tied to their beds, beaten, and threatened that they would be sent to psychiatric hospitals. Some minors were sent to psychiatric hospitals without the consent of the minors' legal guardians. According to human rights NGOs, there was no system to ensure that the rights of children with mental disabilities were observed in state care institutions. There were also reports that children without any mental disability were placed in centers for children with mental disabilities because they were HIV/AIDS-positive.

An August Human Rights Watch report noted widespread discrimination faced by children with HIV/AIDS and authorities' failure to protect children from discrimination, abuse, and neglect. According to the report, less than 60 percent of the approximately 7,200 children and youths with HIV/AIDS attended any form of schooling. Doctors often refused to treat children and youths with HIV/AIDS, who obtained medication only with difficulty and delays. Medical personnel, school officials, and government employees did not keep the confidentiality of information about the children, which caused the children and families to be denied services such as schooling. In addition, in some situations the children and their parents were threatened by parents of other children to keep them out of school.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

NGOs reported that police abuse and societal discrimination against homosexuals was common (see section 1.c.) and that open hostility prevented the reporting of some harassment and discrimination. Members of the gay and lesbian community also continued to voice concerns about discrimination in public education and health care systems, and about the possibility that young lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons were being involuntarily referred to psychiatric institutions based on their parents' decisions.

The second "march of diversity" gay pride parade was held in Bucharest on June 3 and included hundreds of participants. The parade was marred by violent physical and verbal attacks by onlookers against the marchers. Roving groups of men shouted abuse and hurled bottles, food, and buckets of water at the parade participants. The attackers were encouraged in their behavior by some onlookers, including Romanian Orthodox priests and seminarians. The Romanian Orthodox Church and 20 other organizations had called for a ban on the gay parade. The police were reportedly alerted in advance to the planned attacks and dispatched a highly organized force to protect the marchers. The force included hundreds of uniformed officers, units of horse-mounted police, and armored personnel transport carriers.

After the "march of diversity," six participants (four Romanians and two foreigners) were assaulted on the subway by a group of youths making homophobic statements. Although the police were cooperative and called the victims to look at video recordings and pictures, no perpetrators had been identified by year's end.

Earlier in the day on June 3, the New Right sponsored a march against homosexuality. The participants displayed symbols and chanted slogans and songs of the Iron Guard and wore t-shirts with the portrait of Legionnaire leader Codreanu.

ACCEPT, an NGO promoting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights, reported that it received complaints from people who were harassed and subjected to degrading treatment in prisons because of their sexual orientation. Few victims pursued charges due to fear of harassment from the local community and police or the belief that authorities would not carry out unbiased investigations. The NGO mentioned the case of a man who, beginning in April, was subjected to harassment at his workplace due to his alleged sexual orientation. After ACCEPT filed a petition on his behalf with the CNCD, the man was transferred to another location and demoted.

A survey released by the government in November revealed that 53 percent of respondents did not want homosexual neighbors, 50 percent did not want to work with homosexuals, 60 percent did not want homosexual friends, and 67.8 percent would not want homosexual inlaws.

The law prohibits discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS. For the period between January and March 2005, the National Union of the Organizations of Persons Affected by HIV/AIDS (UNOPA) reported that 438 out of approximately 1,000 individuals interviewed had encountered human rights violations; this figure included 156 cases of denied access to medical care on the pretext of medicine shortages at the hospital level, 269 cases of delays in the provision of subsidized food and social welfare allowances, and eight cases of breach of confidentiality. For the period between April and September 2005, UNOPA reported that 795 out of 2,407 individuals interviewed had encountered discrimination.

In June Human Rights Watch issued a report on the country's "failure to protect and support children and youth living with HIV." The report was based on field research conducted in Bacau, Constanta, Giurgiu, and Ilfov counties and in Bucharest. The report found that, although the country was the first in Eastern Europe to provide universal access to antiretroviral therapy, stigma and discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS frequently impeded their access to education, medical care, government services, and employment. The government lacked a strategy to manage the transition of HIV-positive children living in institutions or foster care after they turned 18. Less than 60 percent of HIV-positive children and adolescents attended some form of schooling. Moreover, those who did attend school sometimes faced ostracism, abuse, and possible expulsion if their HIV status became known.

Discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS impeded access to routine medical and dental care. Breaches of confidentiality involving individuals' HIV status were common and rarely punished; medical staff, teachers, social workers, and municipal staff were common sources of leaked information.

Children had no legal right to learn of their HIV status without parental consent, and adolescents often lacked the ability to make informed decisions on medical treatment, education, and employment. Over half of HIV-infected adolescents were sexually active; they frequently experienced reduced access to facilities for reproductive healthcare and the prevention of HIV and sexually transmitted infections.

The authorities rarely enforced laws prohibiting discrimination against persons with HIV. The law set penalties for knowingly transmitting HIV.

During the year the government cooperated with international organizations to implement a national AIDS strategy by conducting conferences and disseminating brochures to raise public awareness of the disease.

Russia

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

Abuse of prisoners by other prisoners continued to be a problem. Violence among inmates, including beatings and rape, was common. There were elaborate inmate‑enforced caste systems in which informers, homosexuals, rapists, prison rape victims, child molesters, and others were considered to be "untouchable" and were treated very harshly, with little or no protection provided by the prison authorities.

Inmates in the prison system often suffered from inadequate medical care. According to the Ministry of Justice, as of March 17, there were over 58,000 tuberculosis‑infected persons and 35,000 HIV‑infected persons in SIZOs and correction colonies, compared to approximately 49,000 tuberculosis‑infected persons and 31,000 HIV‑infected persons in September 2005. Tuberculosis infection rates were far higher in detention facilities than in the population at large. The Moscow Center for Prison Reform reported that conditions in penal facilities varied among the regions.

2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Freedom of Assembly

On May 27, police intervened belatedly to protect participants in a lesbian and gay rights festival in Moscow from attack by antigay protesters (see section 5).

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses or Discrimination

Persons with HIV/AIDS often encountered discrimination. Federal AIDS law contains antidiscrimination provisions, but these were frequently not enforced. Human Rights Watch reported that HIV‑positive mothers and their children faced discrimination in accessing healthcare, employment, and education. Persons with HIV/AIDS found themselves alienated from their families, employers, and medical service providers.

While homosexuality is not illegal, the gay community continued to suffer societal stigma and discrimination. Medical practitioners reportedly continued to limit or refuse their access to health services due to intolerance and prejudice. According to recent studies, male homosexuals were often refused work due to their sexuality. Openly gay men were targets for skinhead aggression, which was often met with law enforcement indifference.

In May gay rights activists hosted a small international conference in Moscow on combating homophobia; however, the mayor of Moscow and the courts denied their applications to hold a gay pride parade. According to Human Rights Watch, on May 27, several dozen Russian lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender protestors, accompanied by Russian and foreign supporters, including members of the European and German parliaments, sought to hold two successive protest rallies, one to lay flowers on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier near the Kremlin wall, and the second a vigil at city hall in support of the freedoms of assembly and expression. Organizers decided to hold these events after a court upheld Mayor Yuriy Luzkhov's ban on a march they planned for that day. At both events hundreds of antigay protesters, including skinheads and nationalists attacked the participants, beating and kicking many, while throwing projectiles and chanting homophobic slogans. Police intervened only belatedly,failing to protect demonstrators from violence; observers noted that police inaction aggravated the violence.

In protest of a large lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender "open party" held in Moscow on April 30, several hundred protestors gathered outside a night club, shouting threats and throwing bottles, rocks, and eggs at the attendees. The following night at least 100 protestors gathered outside another gay club, conducting themselves in a similar manner. While human rights groups protested the organized nature of what appeared to be a campaign against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, public officials were notably reluctant to condemn the violence, with one Duma deputy accusing gays of provoking Orthodox believers.

Gay rights organizations were few and often operated "under the radar." Projects working with homosexuals and educating them about HIV and sexual health continued to be scarce. In April, the Moscow city Duma urged President Putin to restrict the activities of foreign NGOs that fight HIV/AIDS, saying they encouraged pedophilia, prostitution, and drug use among teenagers. The Moscow Duma also accused the Ministry of Education of aiding NGO activities. The State Duma, however, responded at the federal level with a clear statement supporting the urgent need to prevent HIV/AIDS.

The government has made a major effort to deal with AIDS, including stigma and discrimination with dramatic increases in the federal and regional budgets for AIDS. HIV/AIDS media and prevention messages are being piloted in school curricula, and a national "stop AIDS" campaign was launched. The Ministry of Justice has agreed to make AIDS treatment available to prisons. President Putin spoke out about the fight against HIV/AIDS and in April specifically mentioned the importance of NGO work in the field.

Rwanda

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

There were an undetermined number of deaths in prison during the year, largely the result of preventable diseases and suspected cases of HIV/AIDS. The government began an HIV/AIDS counseling and treatment program in three prisons.

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Children

Due to the genocide and deaths from HIV/AIDS, there were numerous households headed by children, some of whom resorted to prostitution to survive. Unlike in the previous year, there were no reports that the government was recruiting children and training them to be combatants.

Trafficking in Persons

Due to the genocide and deaths from HIV/AIDS, there were numerous children who headed households, and some of these children resorted to prostitution or may have been trafficked into domestic servitude. UNICEF estimated in 2004 that there were 2,140 child prostitutes in the major cities and several thousand street children throughout the country.

Saint Lucia

There was widespread stigma and discrimination against persons infected with HIV/AIDS, although the government implemented several programs to address this issue, including a five-year program to combat HIV/AIDS. The UN Population Fund also provided support for youth-oriented HIV/AIDS prevention programs.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

On January 16, the government opened the Belle Isle Prison Farm that allows inmates to learn and work on the farm on a daily basis. Despite such reforms, problems such as endemic violence, understaffing, underpaid guards, uncontrolled weapons and drugs, an increase in the incidence of HIV/AIDS, and unhygienic conditions persisted.

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There are no laws that prohibit discrimination against a person on the basis of sexual orientation. Although no statistics were available, anecdotal evidence suggested that societal discrimination against homosexuals and persons with HIV/AIDS occurred.

Sao Tome and Principe

There was societal discrimination against homosexuals.

Persons with HIV/AIDS were often rejected by their communities and shunned by their families. However, the government provided free AIDS testing and distributed antiretroviral drugs to some patients.

Saudi Arabia

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

The NSHR visited and reported abuses in 18 prisons, including four women's prisons.... NSHR also reported unauthorized and exaggerated lashings in the women's prisons, as well as the mixing of HIV positive with HIV negative inmates.

2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

a. Freedom of Speech and Press

The Basic Law does not provide for freedom of speech or the press, and the government generally did not respect these rights in practice. According to the Basic Law, the media's role is to educate the masses and promote national unity. Media outlets can be banned if they promote mischief and discord, compromise the security of the state and its public image, or offend man's dignity and rights. The government continued to restrict freedom of speech and press and censored articles critical of the royal family or Islam. The authorities routinely censored foreign print sources. However, during the year, there was regular discussion in the media of social, economic, and political issues previously considered taboo such as reform, trafficking in persons, prostitution, homosexuality, the religious establishment, women's rights, and human rights.

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Under Shari'a as interpreted in the kingdom, sexual activity between two people of the same gender is punishable by death or flogging. It is illegal for men to behave like women or wear women's clothes and for women to wear men's clothes (see section 1.c.). There were reports of societal discrimination based on sexual orientation.

There were reports of discrimination, physical violence, and harassment toward homosexuals.

On August 16, the media reported that 250 young men were detained and subsequently 20 were arrested at a suspected "gay wedding" in Jizan.

On November 7, the media reported that police arrested five men on November 2 for preparing to stage a beauty contest for homosexual men. The five men had previously been arrested in May for the same offense. The police confiscated evaluation sheets, beauty products, make-up, lingerie, sex toys, and aphrodisiacs. The media also reported that several months before this incident, 92 men had been arrested at a gay party in Al-Qatif for wearing women's clothes, make-up, and wigs. At year's end none of these men had been sentenced.

According to a December 23 press report, during the year a journalist was arrested for "harboring destructive thoughts" and accused of promoting homosexuality by commenting on Internet fora that homosexuality is caused by genetics. The case was dismissed. The lawyer who defended the journalist was criticized for being a "lawyer for homosexuals."

Beginning in June the NSHR held meetings to prepare a proposal for a system to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and protect HIV/AIDS patients in the kingdom. The media reported that there are 11,000 people living with AIDS in the country. Although the media continued to discourage discrimination against AIDS patients and those infected with HIV, the press reported that the government failed to provide proper medical treatment to HIV-positive noncitizens and treated them poorly until their deportation. The Ministry of Health set up three HIV centers that provided diagnostic and preventive services. In September the media reported medical staff refused to attend to a pregnant HIV-positive woman, causing her to miscarry.

Senegal

Homosexuals faced widespread discrimination and social intolerance, but they were not generally targeted for violence and harassment. However, human rights organizations reported that in August a social worker faced public humiliation and harassment upon his return to the country from the First World OutGames. Homosexuality is not a criminal offense; however, societal discrimination against homosexuals was widespread.

As a result of HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns, persons with HIV or AIDS were increasingly accepted in society.

Serbia (includes Kosovo)

Violence and discrimination against homosexuals was a problem. Some NGOs reported that homosexuals were denied equal opportunities in education and employment. A survey by the Youth Initiatives for Human Rights indicated that lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender persons experienced widespread threats, hate speech, verbal assault, and physical violence.

Although the broadcasting law prohibits discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, the media carried slurs against homosexuals. On February 26, a high ranking official of the SPS called homosexuality a "social pathology" and "something especially decadent," and indicated that gays and lesbians should not be allowed in the diplomatic service.

In a poll released during the year by lesbian rights organization Labris, 65 percent of homosexual respondents claimed they had experienced violence due to their sexual orientation. Only ten percent of respondents had reported this violence to the police.

The new criminal code, which entered into force on January 1, included a provision equalizing the age of consent for all types of sexual contact. The previous law maintained a higher age of consent for homosexual sex (18) than for heterosexual sex (14). Under the new law, the age of consent for all types of sexual contact is 14. Activists had complained that the old law unfairly discriminated against the homosexual community.

Kosovo

The law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation; however, the law was not applied during the year.

Traditional societal attitudes about homosexuality intimidated most gays and lesbians into concealing their sexual orientation. Gays and lesbians generally felt insecure, with many reporting threats to their personal safety. The print media previously reinforced these attitudes by publishing without retraction negative articles about homosexuality that characterized gays and lesbians as mentally ill and prone to sexually assaulting children. Individual homosexuals also reported job discrimination. At least one political party, the Islamic-oriented Justice Party, included a condemnation of homosexuality in its political platform.

In December 2005 local media reported that KPS officers and a treating physician verbally abused and mistreated two young gay men after an unknown assailant had attacked them with a knife near Pristina. The KPS briefly suspended two officers without pay pending investigation. The officers subsequently received minor reprimands and were reinstated. In January, police commissioner Kai Vittrup transferred KPS spokesperson Refki Morina out of the KPS press office following the December incident, after Morina stated, incorrectly, that homosexuality was punishable under the criminal code.

On January 6, an unknown person attacked two members of the Center for Social Emancipation, an advocacy group for the gay community. Upon learning they were homosexual, the KPS reportedly treated the victims as criminals and failed to arrest the perpetrator. KPS took the victims to the Pristina University Hospital, where the treating doctor reportedly called them "sick people."

On March 25, a group of seven men physically assaulted and verbally abused a 30-year-old man for being a homosexual. Although he reported the incident to the KPS, which in turn submitted it to the Serious Crimes Unit, the victim ultimately decided to drop the charges due to pressure from the main attacker's family. The district court prosecutor continued with the prosecution, and the court eventually convicted two perpetrators and sentenced them to six months in prison.

On March 28 in Pristina, unknown persons severely beat two men whom they observed engaging in homosexual sex. One of the men later died at the hospital of his injuries. The Center for Social Emancipation, a local NGO promoting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights, criticized police for treating the case as a robbery rather than as a hate crime. An investigation was continuing at year's end.

On September 26, Ferid Agani, a psychiatrist and Kosovo Assembly member from the Justice Party, wrote an article in a local newspaper in which he referred to homosexuality as a "serious psychiatric disorder" that went against "human nature." Two local human rights organizations, the Youth Initiative for Human Rights and the Center for Social Emancipation, called on Agani and the newspaper to issue a public apology; neither did so.

Sierra Leone

There was no official discrimination against HIV/AIDS positive persons; however, persons with HIV/AIDS were stigmatized in society.

The law prohibits homosexual acts, and there was both official and societal discrimination based on sexual orientation. In November 2005 the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender, and Children's Affairs condemned same-sex marriage at an Inter-Religious Council meeting.

In 2004 prominent gay activist Fannyann Eddy was killed in her office. The activist's recently-dismissed domestic employee was arrested and charged with the crime. In July 2005 the defendant, along with approximately 24 other prisoners, escaped custody. At year's end, the defendant was still at large.

Singapore

2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Freedom of Assembly

In August the government approved a gay and lesbian festival that included movie showings, book signings, and theater performances. In July 2005 the police had denied a permit for the fourth annual gay and lesbian beach festival, after having approved the festival in prior years.

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Some individuals with HIV/AIDS claimed that they were socially marginalized and faced employment discrimination if they revealed they were suffering from the disease. The government discouraged discrimination, supported initiatives that countered misperceptions about HIV/AIDS, and praised employers that welcomed workers with HIV/AIDS.

Slovenia

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

The constitution and law prohibit discrimination based on race, gender, disability, language, or social status, and the government generally enforced these provisions in practice. However, violence against women and children, trafficking in persons, and discrimination against homosexuals and Roma were problems.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

The law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation; however, such societal discrimination was widespread, and isolated cases of violence against homosexuals occurred. A 2004 poll conducted by the Peace Institute of members of the gay and lesbian community found that 53 percent of respondents had experienced verbal, sexual, or physical harassment because of their sexual orientation.

On June 30, multiple assailants attacked activists of Lingsium, an advocacy group for homosexuals, who had set up a stand and were distributing leaflets in Maribor saying, "Action for tolerance: gays and lesbians wish you a good day." Members of the Maribor city council published a statement condemning the attack.

On July 1, the sixth annual gay pride parade in Ljubljana took place without incident with the support of local government officials. However, on the evening of July 1, multiple assailants attacked two individuals in the vicinity of the Ljubljana train station and were reported to have shouted anti-gay comments. The police investigation was ongoing at year's end.

Solomon Islands

Same-sex relationships are illegal, and persons engaged in same-sex relationships were often the subject of societal discrimination. While there were fewer than 200 confirmed HIV/AIDS cases, there were reports that HIV-positive individuals were often disowned by their families.

Somalia

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

Prison conditions remained harsh and life threatening in all regions of the country. The main Somaliland prison in Hargeisa, designed for 150 inmates, held more than 700 prisoners. The UNIE had noted the previous year that in general Somaliland prisons lacked funding and management expertise. Overcrowding, poor sanitary conditions, lack of access to health care, and inadequate food and water supply persisted in prisons throughout the country. Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and pneumonia were widespread. Abuse by guards reportedly was common in many prisons. Detainees' clans generally were expected to pay the costs of detention. In many areas prisoners depended on food received from family members or from relief agencies.

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Women

Domestic violence against women remained a serious problem. There are no laws specifically addressing domestic violence; however, both Shari'a and customary law address the resolution of family disputes (see section 1.e.). No statistical information was available on the extent of domestic violence. Sexual violence in the home was reportedly a serious problem, linked to general gender discrimination. Women have suffered disproportionately in the country's civil war and inter-factional fighting.

Laws prohibiting rape exist; however, they were not generally enforced. There were no laws against spousal rape. There were no reports that rape cases were prosecuted during the year. NGOs documented patterns of rape of women with impunity, particularly of women displaced from their homes due to civil conflict or who were members of minority clans. Police and militia members raped women, and rape was commonly practiced in inter-clan conflicts. Traditional approaches to dealing with rape tended to ignore the victim's situation and instead communalized the resolution or compensation for rape through a negotiation between members of the perpetrator's and victim's clans. Victims suffered from subsequent discrimination based on attributions of "impurity." Women and girls in IDP camps were especially vulnerable to sexual violence, contributing to the spread of HIV/AIDS.

South Africa

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

According to the Judicial Inspectorate report, there were 1,554 prison deaths in 2005, 1,507 of which resulted from natural causes, including HIV/AIDS. The remaining deaths were the result of suicides, assaults, accidents, or similar events. The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) estimated that nearly 6 percent of sentenced prisoners were HIV positive. This HIV infection rate was much lower than the rate in the general population and was therefore suspect. According to DCS reports, only 800 HIV-positive prisoners (of a total 6,400 such prisoners) were receiving treatment with anti-retroviral (ARV) therapy. In partnership with a foreign government, DCS conducted programs to prevent HIV/AIDS, care for victims, and treat some patients with the disease. In June the Durban High Court ordered the government to provide ARV treatment to prisoners at the Westville Prison in KwaZulu-Natal. In September after its appeal was dismissed, the government agreed to comply with the court's ruling.

Prison employees and other prisoners abused and assaulted prisoners physically and sexually. Detainees awaiting trial reportedly contracted HIV/AIDS through rape.

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Children

There continued to be reports of widespread rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and assaults of girls at school by teachers, students, and other persons in the school community. The law requires schools to disclose sexual abuse to the authorities; however, administrators often concealed sexual violence or delayed disciplinary action. The level of sexual violence in schools also increased the risk for girls of contracting HIV/AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases, as well as unwanted pregnancies. Many girls, some as young as four years old, were raped on school premises.

HIV/AIDS activists, physicians, and opposition parties continued to criticize the government for failing to provide ARV therapy to pregnant and breast feeding women and thereby protect young children from HIV/AIDS transmission. The government responded to a 2004 constitutional court finding that it must provide programs to prevent the transmission of HIV from mothers to children by expanding the number of antenatal clinics providing nevirapine to HIV positive mothers. Implementation by the national and provincial governments was slow, and the government continued to raise concerns about the use of nevirapine mono-therapy to prevent transmission. The government was unable to provide for the rapidly growing number of children who were affected by HIV/AIDS, including both infected children and AIDS orphans.

Despite outreach programs, adult male circumcision was still a prevalent initiation tradition in various parts of the country. Initiation practices, which included circumcisions, continued during the year. The House of Traditional Leaders attempted to address unsafe initiation practices and designed strategies to prevent deaths and the spread of diseases, such as HIV/AIDS. The Department of Health in the Eastern Cape provided 400 surgeons, 425 officials, and 80 vehicles during the June initiation season to monitor initiation practices. Nonetheless, circumcision deaths reported in the Eastern Cape during the year increased from 20 in 2005 to 23 during the year, according to press reports.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

The post-apartheid constitution outlaws discrimination based on sexual orientation and on December 1 the country legalized same-sex marriage. Nevertheless, there was some societal violence and discrimination against homosexuals, but unlike in the previous year, there were no reports of official violence or discrimination. Gay and lesbian rights NGOs alleged that abuse of gay and lesbian persons by police was still occurring.

Although the government conducted campaigns to reduce or eliminate discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS, the social stigma associated with HIV/AIDS remained a general problem. There were reports of the abuse of HIV infected individuals by their families and communities.

6 Worker Rights

d. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment

Child labor is prohibited by law; however, child labor was widespread in informal and agricultural sectors, particularly in the former homeland areas. The government generally enforced child labor laws in the formal sectors of the economy. The death of parents by HIV/AIDS has increased the number of children who have to support themselves and often younger siblings in households headed by children.

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work

Labor conditions for mostly Black farm workers were harsh. Many, mostly white, farmers did not accurately measure working hours and often required their laborers to work 11 hours per day and six days per week. Twelve-hour days were common during harvest time, and few farmers provided overtime benefits. Human Rights Watch reported low wages, a lack of basic services in farm workers' housing, and inadequate education for workers' dependents (see section 5). Farm owners, predominantly whites, continued to evict workers legally and illegally. There was lack of compliance with labor legislation, lack of information on HIV/AIDS, and significant violence and crime against farm workers and farm owners. Health and safety regulations often were not observed when chemicals were used in agricultural work.

Sri Lanka

The law criminalizes homosexual activity between men and between women, but the law was not enforced. NGOs working on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues did not register with the government. As in recent years human rights organizations reported that police harassed, extorted money or sexual favors from, and assaulted gay men in Colombo and other areas.

There was no official discrimination against those who provided HIV prevention services or against high-risk groups likely to spread HIV/AIDS, although there was societal discrimination against these groups.

Sudan

Homosexuality is a crime, but no one has been prosecuted on the charge; there is societal but not official discrimination against homosexuals.

Suriname

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Children

There was a home for HIV/AIDS orphans and abandoned children in Paramaribo.

Trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of minors remained a problem (see section 5, Trafficking). According to the Mamio Namen Project Foundation, an NGO working on the well-being of HIV-infected persons, sex tourism was increasing; boys reportedly were targeted in particular. The Salvation Army and a Catholic charitable organization provided shelter for homeless boys.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Although the law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, there were reports that homosexuals continued to suffer from employment discrimination. Persons with HIV/AIDS continued to experience societal discrimination in employment and medical services. In March local newspapers reported that a patient infected with HIV/AIDS died because hospital workers were reluctant to treat him. An NGO working with HIV-infected persons reported that HIV testing was still part of the hiring procedures of law enforcement agencies and the fire department.

During the year the National AIDS Program expanded and authorities filled crucial positions that had been vacant since its inception. The Ministry of Health also intensified its efforts in prevention of mother to child transmission. By the end of the year, the ministry expected to reach 90 percent of pregnant women for voluntary testing. Testing was also available through hospitals, Primary Health Services' clinics, family practitioners, and the Regional Health Services. The government included combating HIV/AIDS as an issue in its 2006-11 Multi-Year Development Program, and in December it launched a "Unite for Children, Unite Against AIDS" campaign against AIDS.

In July the Union of Teachers, together with the NGOs Education International and the Education for All Commission organized a seminar on HIV/AIDS and prevention for Teacher's College teachers.

In December 2005 the business community launched the Business Coalition against HIV/AIDS. The coalition wrote a protocol on dealing with HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment on the work floor and combating stigma and discrimination. Initially intended to be a three-month project, the Know Your Status campaign concluded in June after seven months and produced good results. In an effort to reach as many people as possible for testing, there were seven voluntary counseling and testing sites.

Swaziland

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

Government prisons and detention centers remained overcrowded, and conditions generally were poor. There were reports of torture and that a lack of basic hygiene and unsafe sexual practices, including forced sexual intercourse between prisoners, were spreading HIV/AIDS among the prisoners. Newspapers reported in September 2005 that the government's draft multisectoral HIV and AIDS policy would provide for the release of prisoners in the last stages of AIDS; however, when the policy was issued in April, it did not contain that provision.

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Women

Mourning customs resulted in inequalities for women, and the high incidence of HIV/AIDS exacerbated this inequality. The constitution states that "a woman shall not be compelled to undergo or uphold any custom to which she is in conscience opposed;" however, traditional families may treat a woman as an outcast if she refuses to undergo the mourning rite. When the husband dies, his widow must remain in strict mourning for one month, during which she cannot leave the house, and the husband's family can move into the homestead and take control of its operations. The mourning period can extend as long as three years, during which the widow's actions are extremely restricted. For example, she cannot participate in the chief's kraal, a traditional place of gathering where persons take their problems
(see section 3).

Children

The legal age of marriage is 18 for both men and women. However, with parental consent and approval from the minister of justice, girls age 16 married. The government recognized two types of marriage: civil marriages and marriages under law and custom. Traditional marriages under law and custom can be with girls as young as 14. Critics of the royal family said the king's many wives and young fiancées, some of whom were 16, set a poor example for behavior change in a country with the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in the world.

There were growing numbers of street children in Mbabane and Manzini. A large and increasing number of HIV/AIDS orphans were cared for by aging relatives or neighbors, or they struggled to survive in child headed households. Some lost their property to adult relatives. The National Emergency Response Committee on HIV and AIDS, a private group partly funded by the government and by international aid, and other NGOs assisted some AIDS orphans.

With more than 10 percent of households headed by children, the UN Children's Fund supported school feeding programs, established a number of neighborhood care points, and provided nutritional support to children weakened by AIDS.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Societal discrimination against homosexuals was prevalent, and homosexuals often concealed their sexual preferences. There was a social stigma associated with being HIV positive, and this discouraged persons from being tested; however, education was slowly eroding the cultural prejudice. The May 19 Times of Swaziland reported that a major construction company in Matsapha was harassing an HIV-positive employee by denying her salary increments which other employees received and accusing her of gross incompetence.

Sweden

2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

a. Freedom of Speech and Press

The constitution and law provide for freedom of speech and of the press. While the government generally respected these rights, it prohibited certain types of expression it deemed hate speech (incitement of racial hatred). The law on hate speech prohibits threats or expressions of contempt for a national, ethnic, or other such group of persons with allusion to race, color, national or ethnic origin, religious belief, or sexual orientation.

In April the Gota Court of Appeal reversed the conviction and acquitted an individual who had been sentenced in November 2005 to a one-month jail sentence for violating the hate-speech law. He had been prosecuted as the legally responsible publisher of an article concerning homosexuality and another about immigration of Roma from Central Europe.

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

The law prohibits discrimination based on race, gender, disability, language, or social status. Violence against women and children, trafficking in persons, and discrimination against resident foreigners, Roma, and homosexuals were problems.

Women

At year's end authorities estimated that approximately 2,000 women had been exposed to honor-related violence (patriarchal violence often linked to cultural and religious convictions about female chastity and marriage) from family members. Honor-related violence involved exclusively immigrants from Muslim countries. The government allocated extra funding to combat honor-related violence against young women and men (including homosexuals). As part of an ongoing project, the government established a national center to study male violence against females. The funding also would support the establishment of additional women's shelters. The government provided protected housing for young women vulnerable to honor related violence from family members.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Societal violence and discrimination against homosexuals was a problem. In 2005 police received reports of 563 crimes with homophobic motive, an 8 percent decrease from 2004. The ombudsman against discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation registered 45 reported cases during the year, compared with 47 cases in 2005. Additionally, the ombudsman's office initiated 11 new discrimination investigations, a decrease from 15 in 2005. In September the government formed a working group to promote equal rights for homosexuals, bisexuals, and transsexuals. The group advises government offices on how to improve its handling of related matters.

Tajikistan

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

Prison conditions remained harsh and life threatening. Prisons were generally overcrowded and unsanitary. In March Minister of Justice Khalifabobo Homidov acknowledged that bad conditions existed in prisons, which in some incidents led to deaths among inmates. Disease, particularly the spread of tuberculosis, and hunger were serious problems. There were reports that up to 73 prisoners died of tuberculosis; 957 prisoners had tuberculosis and 87 had HIV. With the help of international organizations, the government improved conditions in the women's penitentiary.

Tanzania

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

Prison dispensaries offered only limited medical treatment, and friends and family members of prisoners generally had to provide medications or the funds with which to purchase them. Diseases were common and resulted in numerous deaths in prisons. According to NGO reports, the leading causes of death were malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, cholera, and diseases related to poor sanitation. In February, to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in prisons, the government established 12 voluntary counseling and testing centers to provide services to penal institutions.

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

The constitution prohibits discrimination based on nationality, ethnicity, political affiliation, race, or religion; however, the government did not always effectively enforce these prohibitions. Discrimination based on gender, age, or disability was not prohibited specifically by law but was discouraged publicly in official statements and by government policies. Discrimination against women, refugees, minorities, and persons with HIV/AIDS persisted, and societal ethnic tensions continued to be a problem in some parts of the country.

Trafficking in Persons

Children in low-income families were at significant risk of being trafficked, and girls were more vulnerable than boys since girls were considered more of an economic burden on their families. Girls who completed primary school but did not enter secondary school were at particularly high risk. The country was also experiencing a boom in the number of child-headed households as more adults succumbed to HIV/AIDS-related disease and death, leaving their dependents at very high risk for child labor and trafficking.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Homosexuality and lesbianism are illegal in the country. The law in Zanzibar establishes a penalty of up to 25 years' imprisonment for men who engage in homosexual relationships and seven years for women in lesbian relationships. There were no reports that anyone was punished under the law during the year.

Homosexuals faced societal discrimination, especially at the community level. In September Uamsho blocked a local restaurant's planned celebration of Freddie Mercury's birthday because the Zanzibar-born rock star was gay. The Tanzania Parliamentarians' AIDS Coalition addressed discrimination against persons infected with HIV/AIDS. However, there were reports that discrimination in housing, healthcare, and education continued to occur against the estimated 3.5 million persons in the country living with HIV/AIDS. There were isolated reports that private employers fired or did not hire persons based on the perception that they had HIV/AIDS. The government, working with NGOs, continued to sensitize the public about HIV/AIDS-related discrimination and to create safeguards for HIV/AIDS patients' human rights. A network of lawyers, policy-makers, and doctors continued lobbying efforts and other activities to deal with legal, ethical, and human rights problem associated with HIV and AIDS.

6 Worker Rights

d. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment

Child labor remained a problem, compounded by HIV/AIDS. Data from 2000-01 (the latest available) indicated that 35.4 percent of children ages five to 14 were working. Legislation enacted in 2004 outlaws the exploitation of children in the workplace and prohibits forced or compulsory labor; however, at year's end, implementing regulations and institutions such as a Commission for Mediation were not in place, resulting in weak enforcement of child labor provisions. In 2005 the government hired additional inspectors to improve enforcement once the law is fully operational. Nevertheless, child labor remained a problem.

Thailand

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Women

Domestic violence against women was a significant problem, and there were no specific laws addressing the problem. A few domestic violence crimes were prosecuted under provisions for assault or violence against a person. Domestic violence often went unreported, and the police often were reluctant to pursue reports of domestic violence. Reliable statistics on rates of domestic violence were difficult to obtain, but in November 2005 the public health minister noted that the number of reported cases of abuse had increased from five per day in 2002 to 28 per day in 2005. Approximately half of these cases involved sexual abuse. It was unclear whether the increase reflected an increase in violence or an increased public awareness of the problem and an increased willingness on the part of battered women to report it to authorities. Also in November 2005 the World Health Organization released findings of a study that showed 41 percent of women in Bangkok and 47 percent of women in rural areas had experienced physical or sexual abuse by an intimate partner. NGO supported programs included emergency hot lines, temporary shelters, counseling services, and a television program to increase awareness of domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, and other issues involving women. The government's "one-stop" crisis centers, located in state-run hospitals, continued to care for abused women and children but faced budget difficulties.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

HIV/AIDS was estimated to have infected approximately 1.5 percent of the population. During the year the government took measures to improve its support of persons with HIV/AIDS. The government aggressively implemented a program to provide anti-retroviral drugs and, as of September, more than 80,000 HIV/AIDS sufferers were receiving such drugs. The government provided funds to HIV/AIDS support groups and continued public debate at the highest levels of political leadership. Societal discrimination against persons with AIDS most often was found in the form of a psychological stigma associated with rejection by family, friends, and the community. There were reports that some employers refused to hire persons who tested positive following employer-mandated blood screening.

Togo

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

The constitution and law prohibit discrimination based on race, gender, religion, disability, language, or social status; however, the government did not enforce these provisions effectively. Violence and discrimination against women, FGM, trafficking in persons, and discrimination against ethnic minorities and individuals with HIV/AIDS were problems.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

A 2005 law prohibits discrimination against persons infected with HIV/AIDS; however, such persons continued to face significant societal discrimination.

Tonga

Persons who engaged in openly homosexual behavior faced societal discrimination.

Turkey

While the law does not explicitly discriminate against homosexuals, representatives of the gay and lesbian rights organizations Lambda Istanbul and Kaos GL claimed that vague references in the law relating to "the morals of society" and "unnatural sexual behavior" were sometimes used to punish homosexuality. During the summer the Ankara governor ordered the confiscation of Kaos's quarterly magazine that included a one-page article that explored societal conceptions of "intimacy" and "pornography." On December 28, a prosecutor opened a case against Umut Gurel, the magazine's editor, alleging that the issue was "harmful to children." Gurel faces up to three years in prison. Gay and lesbian rights activists maintained that homosexuals risked losing their jobs if they disclosed their sexual orientation and said the law did not protect their rights in such circumstances.

Turkmenistan

There was a strong societal dislike of homosexuality. Homosexuality between men is illegal and punishable by up to two years in prison; it was believed that homosexuality between women would also be considered illegal, although it is not specifically written in law.

Uganda

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

Prisons were believed to have high mortality rates from overcrowding, malnutrition, diseases spread by unsanitary conditions, HIV/AIDS, and lack of medical care. On March 20, David Isabirye, a student at Bupadhengo Secondary school, was found dead in a prison cell in Kamuli District; the cause of death was unclear and no further action was taken. On May 10, inmates died in a prison in Lira District as a result of negligence by prison authorities; three others died of HIV/AIDS related diseases. The Prisons Service registered 150 deaths between January and June as a result of malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS.

2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

a. Freedom of Speech and Press

Academic Freedom and Cultural Events

In May the Media Council halted a screening of a documentary about the play "Vagina Monologues," which the Media Council banned in February 2005 on the grounds that it promoted "unnatural sex acts, homosexuality, and prostitution." The cabinet also endorsed the ban the next day.

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Women

A 2003 HRW report concluded that married women were particularly vulnerable to HIV/AIDS infection as a result of forced sex in marriage by husbands with multiple partners or wives. The HRW report identified numerous social and legal obstacles to women's ability to protect themselves against HIV/AIDS infection in abusive relationships.

Children

UNICEF reported in January that two million children have been orphaned since the beginning of the war as a result of conflict and instability, including population dislocation, and that 940,000 children nationwide have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS. The government supported programs to assist children affected by HIV/AIDS and conflict in the north.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Homosexuals faced widespread discrimination and legal restrictions. It is illegal for homosexuals to engage in sexual acts, based on a legal provision that criminalizes "carnal acts against the order of nature" with a penalty of life imprisonment.

On August 8, the Red Pepper tabloid published a list of 45 first names and professions of alleged homosexual men. HRW condemned the tabloid's decision to publish the list and called for the government to end harassment and condemnation of homosexuals and sexual rights activists. There were unconfirmed reports that arrests were made following the publication of the article.

On August 14, a court in Kampala charged David Kaloke with having "carnal sex" in September 2005 with Michael Mukiibi, a 16-year-old student of Kyebando. Kaloke was released on bail and the case was pending at year's end.

In July 2005 parliament amended Article 31 of the constitution to prohibit same sex marriage.

Persons with HIV/AIDS continued to face discrimination among local communities and employers. On July 17, the director of the country's HRW HIV/AIDS program called for an end to abuses of persons living with HIV/AIDS. The NGO cited the example of Vivian Kavuma, who was reportedly murdered in June by her lover after she disclosed she was an HIV/AIDS patient. No arrests were made in the case by year's end.

International and local NGOs, in cooperation with the government, sponsored public awareness campaigns that aimed to eliminate the stigma of HIV/AIDS. Counseling and testing for HIV/AIDS was free and available at health centers and local NGOs across the country. Counselors encouraged patients to be tested with their partners and family so that they all received information about living with HIV/AIDS. Persons living with HIV/AIDS formed support groups to promote awareness in their local communities.

Ukraine

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Women

The government increased the number of state run hot lines, shelters, and other forms of practical support for victims of abuse. During 2005-2006, authorities opened six shelters for victims of domestic violence, 18 crisis centers that provided a wide range of services to women going through crises such as divorce, loss of a son while on military duty, or domestic violence, and 24 centers for psychological and medical assistance. The law requires authorities to operate a shelter in every major city, but in practice they did not do so. According to AI, private shelters were not always accessible. For example, one shelter in Kyiv refused to accommodate three women because they had neither Kyiv registration nor a medical certificate with HIV/AIDS test results. Violence against women did not receive extensive media coverage despite the efforts of human rights groups to highlight the problem.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

International human rights organizations have criticized widespread discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS and lack of access to treatment. Routine police abuse of drug users and sex workers also contributed to the problem. Although the country's national AIDS law is often held up as a model in the region for incorporating human rights protections for people living with HIV/AIDS, implementation has been weak. Persons with HIV/AIDS continued to face discrimination in the workplace, job loss without legal recourse, harassment by law enforcement, prosecutorial, and judicial authorities, and social isolation and stigmatization within their communities.

On May 17, members of Nash Mir, the country's leading NGO that advocates for gays and lesbians, held an "international day against homophobia" demonstration in front of the Economics and Law College of the Inter-Regional Academy of Personnel Management (MAUP) to protest the expulsion of a gay student from the college in March 2005.

In September approximately 100 people in Kyiv participated in a march against homosexuality. They held signs declaring: "HOMO dictatorship will not be allowed; politicians, protect our families!"

United Arab Emirates

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

There were credible reports that government officials discriminated against prisoners with HIV by not granting commuted sentences or parole that other prisoners with similar records had received (see section 5, Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination).

2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

a. Freedom of Speech and Press

Internet Freedom

According to the NGO The Initiative for an Open Arab Internet, Internet access was widely available. According to January 2005 press reports, 37 percent of the country's population was connected to the Internet provided through the state‑owned monopoly Etisalat. A proxy server blocked material deemed inconsistent with the religious, cultural, political and moral values of the country; information on how to circumvent the proxy server; dating and matrimonial sites; and gay and lesbian sites, as well as those concerning the Baha'i Faith and those originating in Israel. The proxy server occasionally blocked broad categories of sites including many that did not meet the intended criteria.

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

The government failed to provide many free or reduced-cost services to noncitizens including child and adult education, health care, housing, and social and recreational club memberships. While citizens who contract HIV are afforded full, continuous, and free health care, noncitizen migrant workers who contract the same disease are denied health care and deported. Expatriate residents infected with HIV are denied all healthcare benefits, quarantined, and deported.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Both civil law and Shari'a criminalize homosexual activity. In November 2005 Abu Dhabi Police arrested 26 men, 13 citizens and 13 other Arabs and Asians, for alleged homosexual activity. Government officials reportedly said that the men were transferred to the ministry's Social Support Center and would "be given the necessary treatment, from male hormone injections to psychological therapies" after their trial. The Ministry of Interior later disavowed this statement. In May 12 of the 13 nationals involved were sentenced to five years in prison; the other was given six months, all for immoral activities. All 13 of the foreign nationals involved were sentenced to a period equal to that which they had already been imprisoned, and were deported to their home countries.

There were credible reports that government officials discriminated against prisoners with HIV by not granting commuted sentences or parole that other prisoners with similar records had received (see section 1.c.).

Uzbekistan

There was social stigma against HIV/AIDS patients. People living with HIV reported social isolation by neighbors, public agency workers, health personnel, law enforcement officers, landlords, and employers after their HIV status became known. Recruits in the armed services found to be HIV positive were summarily expelled. A brochure produced by the MVD's Department of Corrections for its staff who deal directly with detainees focused primarily on the risk to staff of becoming infected during casual contact. A proposal from the National Institute of Virology recommended channeling HIV positive patients into clinics and laboratories closed off to the rest of the public. The government's restrictions on local NGOs left only a handful of functioning NGOs that assisted and protected the rights of persons with HIV/AIDS.

In October 2005 the government, in cooperation with UN agencies and NGOs, launched a national HIV/AIDS prevention program aimed at increasing awareness of the disease and curbing its spread. President Karimov's daughter, Lola Karimova, was a prominent spokesperson for the campaign.

Nearly all of the risk behaviors associated with being HIV positive, including prostitution, injecting drug use, and homosexual activity are crimes. Homosexual activity is punishable by up to three years' imprisonment. Some homosexuals reportedly left the country due to the restrictive environment.

Vietnam

2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

a. Freedom of Speech and Press

In a Web chat forum in May hosted by Tienphong Online, frank discussions on sexuality and persons with HIV/AIDS were not censored, although these were normally taboo subjects.

c. Freedom of Religion

The Ho Chi Minh City government continued to facilitate certain charitable activities of the Catholic Church in combating HIV/AIDS.

Societal Abuses and Discrimination

In general relations among the various religious communities continued to be amicable, and there were no known instances of societal discrimination or violence based on religion. There was limited cooperation between the Catholic Church and the government recognized Vietnam Buddhist Sangha on charitable activities such as the fight against HIV/AIDS. There was no indigenous Jewish community in the country, and there were no reports of anti Semitic acts.

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There was no evidence of official discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS, but there was substantial societal discrimination against such persons. There were multiple credible reports that persons with HIV/AIDS lost jobs or suffered from discrimination in the workplace or in finding housing. In a few cases, children of persons with HIV/AIDS were barred from schools, although this is against the law. With the assistance of some foreign donors, the national government and some provincial authorities took steps to treat, assist, and accommodate persons with HIV/AIDS; decrease societal stigma and discrimination; and increase dignity, although overall consistency was lacking. Religious charities were sometimes permitted to operate in this area.

Zambia

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

The HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in prisons was estimated at 17 percent. Antiretroviral treatment (ART) was available to some prisoners with HIV/AIDS; however, poor nutrition often rendered ART ineffective.

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Children

There were approximately one million children under the age of 15 in the country who were orphaned, approximately 750,000 of these as a result of HIV/AIDS. These children faced greater risks of child abuse, sexual abuse, and child labor. Approximately 75 percent of all households were caring for at least one orphan, and children headed approximately 7 percent of households due to the death of both parents. The government instituted programs to increase public awareness of HIV/AIDS.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

The law prohibits "carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature," but it does not specifically outlaw homosexuality. There was societal discrimination against homosexuals.

The government actively discouraged societal discrimination against those living with HIV/AIDS; however, there was strong societal discrimination against such individuals, and much of the population believed that persons infected with HIV/AIDS should not be allowed to work.

6 Worker Rights

d. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment

Approximately 600,000 children were in the work force, of which approximately 87 percent worked in the agricultural sector. During the year children, often orphans who had lost both parents to HIV/AIDS, continued to migrate to urban areas where they lived as street children. In urban areas children commonly engaged in street vending.

Zimbabwe

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

Prison conditions remained harsh and life threatening. The government's 47 prisons were designed for a capacity of 16,000 prisoners but held approximately 25,000 according to media reports. In December 2004 the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) conducted a prison inspection at Khami Maximum Prison in Bulawayo. The inspection revealed that the prison, built to accommodate 650 prisoners, had 1,167 inmates. Poor sanitary conditions persisted, which aggravated outbreaks of cholera, diarrhea, measles, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS related illnesses. Human rights activists familiar with prison conditions reported constant shortages of food, water, electricity, clothing, and soap.

Harsh prison conditions and a high incidence of HIV/AIDS were widely acknowledged to have contributed to a large number of deaths in prison. The Institute of Correctional and Securities Studies, a local NGO, estimated that 52 percent of the country's prisoners were HIV positive. One doctor who worked with former prisoners in the Harare area estimated that the prevalence figure was closer to 60 percent. In February Zimbabwe Prisons Service Commissioner General Paradzai Zimondi described the mortality rate in prisons as a "cause for concern."

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

In May 2005 the government embarked on Operation Restore Order without prior notice, in which more than 700,000 persons lost their homes, their means of livelihood, or both. The government's stated reason for the operation was to curb illegal economic activities and crime in slums and illegal settlements in several cities and towns, but it made no provision for the affected before beginning the operation. Those who returned to rural areas often faced unemployment, food shortages, and other economic and social stresses. An estimated 300,000 children lost access to education as a result of displacement. The operation disrupted medical care, particularly for HIV/AIDS patients. The government reportedly prevented or interfered with UN and other humanitarian organizations' efforts to provide shelter and food assistance. The government's actions were widely condemned by local civil society organizations and the international community.

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

Elections and Political Participation

There were reports that the government's partisan disbursement of food and other material assistance to perpetuate public dependence on the ruling party further bolstered support for ZANU PF and subverted electoral processes. In some areas a ZANU PF card was required to obtain food and agricultural inputs. In August the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), a local NGO, documented 83 incidents of abuse of aid based on political affiliation in Manicaland Province, including denial of food and antiretroviral drugs to treat HIV/AIDS, as well as exclusion from the basic education assistance module (BEAM), a national financial assistance plan for school children (see section 5). ZPP reported that most of those affected were considered to be supporters of the opposition.

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Women

The criminal code defines sexual offenses as rape, sodomy, incest, indecent assault, or immoral or indecent acts with a child or person with mental disabilities. The act makes rape and nonconsensual sex between married partners a crime; however, few cases of rape, especially spousal rape, were reported to authorities because women were unaware spousal rape was a crime and, particularly in rural areas, feared losing the support of their families. The criminal code provides for penalties up to life in prison for sexual crimes; however, there were continued reports of rape, incest, and sexual abuse of women and young girls. In many cases the victims knew their rapist. The criminal code also makes it a crime to infect anyone knowingly with HIV/AIDS, and the government prosecuted some individuals for the crime.

Several active women's rights groups concentrated on improving women's knowledge of their legal rights, increasing their economic power, combating domestic violence, and protecting women against domestic violence and sexual transmission of HIV/AIDS.

Children

Girl Child Network and UNICEF reported that girls believed to be virgins were at risk for rape due to the belief among some that having sex with a virgin would cure men of HIV and AIDS.

The traditional practice of offering a young girl in marriage as compensatory payment in interfamily disputes continued during the year. Arranged marriage of young girls also continued. The legal age for a civil marriage is 16 for girls and 18 for boys. Customary marriage, recognized under the Customary Marriages Act, does not provide for a minimum marriage age for either boys or girls; however, the Criminal Code prohibits sexual relations with anyone younger than 16 years of age. According to UNICEF, 29 percent of young women married as children. Child welfare NGOs reported that they occasionally saw evidence of underage marriages, particularly in isolated religious communities or among HIV/AIDS orphans. The Musasa Project reported an increase in instances where families pledged girls and unborn babies in marriage in exchange for economic protection. Such girls often "married" well before the age of 12.

There were an estimated 1.6 million HIV/AIDS orphans, and the number was increasing. The number of AIDS orphans (including children who lost one as well as both parents) was about 10 percent of the country's population. Many grandparents were left to care for the young, and, in some cases, children or adolescents headed families and were forced to work to survive. AIDS orphans and foster children were at high risk for child abuse. Some children were forced to turn to prostitution as a means of income. According to local custom, other family members inherit before children, leaving many children destitute. Many such children were unable to obtain birth certificates, which then prevented them from obtaining social services.

Trafficking in Persons

Anecdotal information suggested that citizens who emigrated to seek a better life were exploited while employed illegally in a neighboring country after being lured there by false employment schemes. The groups at highest risk were HIV/AIDS orphans and displaced persons.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Over a period of years, President Mugabe has publicly denounced homosexuals, blaming them for Africa's ills. Although there was no statutory law proscribing the activities of homosexuals, common law prevents homosexual men, and to a lesser extent, lesbians, from fully expressing their sexual orientation and, in some cases, criminalizes the display of affection between men. On July 2, the 2004 amended criminal code became effective and broadens the definition of sodomy to include "any act involving physical contact between males that would be regarded by a reasonable person to be an indecent act."

On August 5, six unidentified men approached the Gays and Lesbians Association (GALZ) exhibit at the Zimbabwe International Book Fair, seized GALZ literature, and forcibly removed the GALZ members from the event. Police officers and security guards working at the event stood by and watched without intervening. A nearly identical incident occurred at the same book fair in 2005. GALZ staff members believed these actions were part of an ongoing government campaign of discrimination and harassment against homosexuals. No action was taken against those who threatened the GALZ staff members in 2005 or during the year.

The government has a national HIV/AIDS policy that prohibits discrimination against persons living with HIV/AIDS, and the law aims to protect against discrimination of workers in the private sector and parastatals. Despite these provisions, societal discrimination against persons affected by HIV/AIDS remained a problem. Although there was an active information campaign by international and local NGOs, the Ministry of Health, and the National AIDS Council to destigmatize HIV/AIDS, ostracism and condemnation of those affected by HIV/AIDS continued.

 

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