Related Links

State Dept. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2006 03/06/07

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

State of the World, 2007 (Rosendall) 03/27/08

International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission

International Lesbian and Gay Association

Human Rights Watch

Amnesty International

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

ARC International

Petrelis Files

Peter Tatchell

U.S. Department of State

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices  - 2007
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
March 11, 2008

http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2007/

 

 

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

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

c. Freedom of Religion

In early November authorities arrested and detained Ghaus Zalmai for publishing an unofficial translation of the Koran in Dari. Religious scholars alleged the translation was un-Islamic for misinterpreting verses about alcohol, begging, homosexuality, and adultery, as well as for not providing a parallel text in Arabic for comparison. Protests calling for Zalmai's punishment were held in various towns. The parliament prohibited Zalmai from leaving the country, and a commission of clerics and prosecutors was established to examine the text. At the end of the year, Zalmai remained in jail, and no charges have been filed. The editor is in hiding.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

The law criminalizes homosexual activity; however, the authorities only sporadically enforced the prohibition. A recent UNHCR report noted that most homosexual persons 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 2006 the Taliban published a new set of rules that explicitly forbade the recruitment of young boys for sexual pleasure.

Albania

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 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 sometimes beat and abused suspects and detainees. The Albanian Helsinki Committee (AHC) and the Albanian Human Rights Group (AHRG) reported that police sometimes 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.

Section 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

As in previous years, NGOs claimed that police targeted the homosexual community for abuse. According to the Albanian Gay and Lesbian Association, the police arbitrarily arrested homosexuals and then physically and verbally abused them while they were in detention.

The Albanian Human Rights Group reports that during the year police harassed members of the Albanian Gay and Lesbian Association and other known homosexuals, sometimes searching their homes without a warrant.

A 2006 UN Development Program (UNDP) 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.

During the year two HIV-positive minors were removed from their schools and relocated at the request of their classmates' parents, who were afraid of further infection among the students.

Algeria

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Women

In July 2006 the MORA and the Ministry of Health initiated a series of training sessions for imams and 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

The law criminalizes public homosexual behavior and there is no specific legal protection of homosexuals in the country. There was also generally societal discrimination against homosexuals, but not violence or official discrimination. While some homosexuals lived openly, the vast majority did not.

AIDS is considered a shameful disease in Algeria. According to March statistics released by the Ministry of Health, 2,100 citizens were HIV-positive and 736 people suffered from AIDS. There were 54 centers offering free services to detect AIDS in Algeria. During the year according to a survey of 30,000 families in the 48 wilayas performed by UNICEF, only 15 percent were aware of means to protect themselves from contracting AIDS. During the year, the health ministry along with the NGO AIDS Algerie launched an AIDS prevention campaign, stressing the need to avoid discrimination, especially in the workplace, against those with HIV/AIDS.

Andorra

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There were no reports of societal violence or discrimination based on sexual orientation or against persons with HIV/AIDS.

The government's elected ombudsman advised the government to follow World Health Organization recommendations concerning work and residence permits for immigrants. According to the ombudsman, the government's denial of permits to persons with certain diseases, including those affected by the HIV virus, could constitute a violation of human rights.

Angola

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Reports of discrimination against homosexuals and those with HIV/AIDS occurred. The law criminalizes sodomy. Discrimination against those with HIV/AIDS is illegal, but lack of enforcement allowed employers to discriminate against persons with the disease. There were no reports of violence against persons with HIV/AIDS. The government's National Institute for HIV/AIDS conducted HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention campaigns. Local NGOs worked to combat stigmatization and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS. The FAA conducted educational programs to discourage discrimination against HIV-positive military personnel and prevent the spread of the disease.

Antigua and Barbuda

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 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.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There were no reports of violence or discrimination based on sexual orientation or directed toward persons with HIV/AIDS. Nonetheless, the ministers of labor and health both spoke out publicly against such discrimination. The Ministry of Health supported local NGO efforts to register human rights complaints and seek assistance related to cases of discrimination against those with HIV/AIDS. The Ministry of Labor encouraged employers to be more sensitive to employees with HIV/AIDS.

Argentina

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

The Argentine Homosexual Community (CHA) received 1,600 complaints of discrimination during the year, including complaints of wrongful termination of employment of individuals on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV-positive status. The law prohibits termination of employment of HIV-positive employees. In December CHA reported that a Buenos Aires provincial police officer raped, beat, and tortured a transvestite. There were no reports indicating that charges had been filed or that an investigation had begun by year's end.

On November 2, police detained Rodolfo Aguilares in connection with the November 2006 killing of transgender activist Pelusa Liendro, who was found stabbed in her car 10 days after the broadcast of an undercover video tape she and other activists made of police harassment and abuse of transgender persons in Salta Province. Aguilares, a friend of the murder victim, was in detention at year's end.

Armenia

Violence against women and spousal abuse remained problems, as well as trafficking in persons, discrimination against persons with disabilities, and societal harassment of homosexuals.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

The constitution and law prohibit discrimination based on race, gender, disability, language, or social status; in practice, however, there was societal discrimination against women, ethnic and religious 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. However, the legal pretext for this exemption is predicated on a medical finding of gays possessing a mental disorder, which is stamped in their passports and can affect their future. Local observers noted that unlike in previous years, there were no reported cases of police harassment of homosexuals through blackmail, extortion, or violence. Nevertheless, societal attitudes and harassment towards homosexuality remained severe, and hampered homosexuals' access to medical care.

Australia

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

On June 21, HREOC presented a report to Parliament noting 58 federal laws that denied same-sex couples and their children basic financial and work-related entitlements available to heterosexual couples and their children. At year's end the new government was considering the report.

In October police reported that there were nine "sexual preference prejudice" assaults during the year around Oxford Street in Sydney, a popular gay area.

Federal and various state laws prohibit discrimination on the grounds of HIV-positive status. In the 12 months ending June 30, there were 21 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 802 disability-related complaints to HREOC.

Austria

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There was some societal prejudice against gays and lesbians; however, there were no reports of societal violence or discrimination based on sexual orientation or against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Azerbaijan

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

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

According to the European Region of the International Lesbian and Gay Association's 2007 report, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transsexuals in the country were subjected to human rights abuses, discrimination, and social exclusion. The report characterized the community as "vulnerable and exposed to extortion by law enforcement officials," facing problems such as ridicule, forced bribes, abuse, and in some cases rape by law enforcement officials. The report noted that the community lived under a constant fear of being "outed" to family, friends, and colleagues.

Bahamas

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Children

The Department 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 from six to eight abandoned children (all of whom had physical disabilities) during the year when foster homes could not be found. The government maintained a home for 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 sexual orientation. 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 2006 the Constitutional Review Commission found that sexual orientation did not deserve protection against discrimination.

Religious organizations and individual activists opposed a September request by a gay rights group for the cable monopoly to add a gay and lesbian channel to its programming. In the ensuing media controversy, opponents called for recriminalizing homosexual acts, and religious leaders criticized a major newspaper for giving what they considered undue coverage to the gay rights group. Media reports, in turn, referred to a "campaign" against the "gay agenda" or lifestyle by opponents of the proposal. The organizer of a gay and lesbian cruise accused authorities of harassment in shutting down a party at a downtown club on October 7, due to alleged lewd behavior and immigration violations. Police officials denied inappropriate conduct.

Sensationalistic media reporting of reputed gay links in two high-profile murders in Nassau in November, under police investigation at year's end, reflected the atmosphere of societal intolerance.

Bahrain

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

The law does not criminalize homosexual relationships between consenting adults of at least 21 years of age. 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

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Homosexual acts remained 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 some informal support networks for homosexual men, but organizations to assist lesbians were rare.

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 were nonexistent. There were few studies on homosexuality in the country.

Barbados

Section 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 Cricket World Cup in March 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

The law criminalizes consensual homosexual relations, and there are no laws that prohibit discrimination against a person on the basis of sexual orientation in employment, housing, education, or health care. In March the UN Human Rights Committee expressed its concern over discrimination against homosexuals in the country. Although no statistics were available, anecdotal evidence suggested that societal discrimination against homosexuals occurred. In September the chief of prisons admitted that some homosexual prisoners had been placed in special security cells but were still beaten by other inmates for being homosexual.

The government began programs designed to discourage discrimination against HIV/AIDS-infected persons and others living with them. In December the International Labor Organization (ILO) completed 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. The stakeholders, including the ILO, agreed in late November on a transitional sustainability program to allow the program to continue. The business community, labor unions, and the national AIDS commission worked together to form the AIDS alliance, which is developing private sector initiatives to combat HIV/AIDS discrimination in society and the work place.

Belarus

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 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.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

The law prohibits discrimination based on race, gender, disability, language, or social status;however, the government did not always protect these rights in practice. Violence against women and children, trafficking of persons, and discrimination against persons with disabilities, Roma, ethnic minorities, and homosexuals were problems.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Homosexuality is not illegal, although discrimination was a problem. Homophobia was widespread, and harassment occurred. According to a local gay rights group, government-controlled media discouraged participation in the protests following the March 2006 presidential election by saying they were part of a "gay revolution." In July 2006 state media broadcast a police expose of a Latvian diplomat in Minsk, whom authorities accused of distributing pornography. The program exploited his sexual orientation and included several minutes of hidden-camera footage of the diplomat engaging in homosexual activities. The police dropped the investigation several months later.

In November 2006 gay rights leaders were forced to cancel an international lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender conference after police raided an apartment, seizing conference materials and detaining organizers.

Societal discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS remained a problem and the illness carried a heavy stigma despite greater awareness and increasing tolerance towards people infected with the virus. For example, maternity wards no longer had separate facilities for HIV/AIDS-infected mothers. However, the United Nations AIDS office reported that there were still numerous reports of HIV-infected individuals who faced discrimination. At year's end the government reported that 8,631 Belarusians were infected with HIV.

Belgium

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

In its annual report for 2006, the CEOOR noted an increase in discrimination based on health or medical conditions, sexual orientation, and age. The CEOOR in 2006 registered 192 discrimination complaints based on disability. Most complaints were job-related. Courts have occasionally ruled against landlords who refuse to lease to same-sex couples.

Belize

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

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. There were incidents of discrimination based on sexual orientation, but determination of its extent was difficult to ascertain.

Benin

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There were no reports of overt discrimination or violence based on a person's sexual orientation or HIV/AIDS status. In April 2006 the government enacted a law making it illegal to discriminate against a person, at any stage of hiring or employment, based on his or her HIV status.

Bhutan

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Women

The National Women's Association of Bhutan tried to encourage women to improve their living standards and socio-economic status. A National Commission for Women and Children (NCWC) actively defended the rights of women and children during the year. RENEW (Respect, Educate, Nurture and Empower Women), a new organization operating with funding and direction from the queen, focuses on HIV/AIDS and other health issues to improve the lives of underprivileged and marginalized women.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Homosexuality is illegal in Bhutan and is punishable as a petty misdemeanor with a prison sentence ranging from one month to one year. There were no reported cases of anyone charged under the statutes.

Bolivia

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 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 care, but care was inadequate, and it was difficult for prisoners to get permission for outside medical treatment. NGOs and prisoners reported tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS in the jails. 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, and sometimes they used children to traffic drugs inside the prison.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Although the law prohibits discrimination based on race, gender, language, or social status, there was significant discrimination against women, indigenous people, and the small black minority. The human rights ombudsman reported that "persons with HIV/AIDS, indigenous persons, peasant farmers, and homosexuals, in this order, were the most discriminated against within society."

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

According to the human rights ombudsman, persons with HIV/AIDS were the group facing the most discrimination in the country. However, the courts have on occasion attempted to block government discrimination against HIV-positive persons. On July 25, the La Paz Superior Court ruled that naval cadet Richard Condori Martínez should be reinstated, after Condori Martínez argued his HIV status was the reason the naval academy had expelled him. The navy asserted that it was Condori Martínez's many health-related absences.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

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.

For example, in September RS Prime Minister Milorad Dodik publicly commented on the sexuality of the BiH Transparency International director, stating that he would not permit him to enter his offices because "I simply do not allow various 'faggots' into my cabinet." The Bosnian Gay and Lesbian community, led by the NGO Q Association, immediately condemned the statement as hate speech.

Gays and lesbians who were open about their orientation faced frequent harassment and discrimination, including termination from employment. 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.

According to unreliable government statistics, there were less than 200 officially registered cases of HIV/AIDS in the country. The NGO XY-Association for Sexual and Reproductive Health estimated that the actual number of cases was at least three times that, or approximately 600 cases, and the UN Programme on HIV/AIDS estimated the number at less than 1,000. There was a significant stigma against persons with HIV/AIDS, a general lack of awareness of HIV/AIDS, and extremely limited resources to identify and assist those affected.

Botswana

There was societal discrimination against homosexuals, persons with HIV/AIDS, and members of the San ethnic group.

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

On September 10, the Registrar of Societies rejected a registration application from the NGO Lesbians, Gays, and Bisexuals of Botswana Organization (LEGABIBO). Officials stated that the application was not approved as it was believed that LEGABIBO would be used for unlawful purposes since homosexual acts are criminal offenses in the country.

Independent local human rights groups included DITSHWANELO; Childline, a child welfare NGO; Emang Basadi, a women's rights group; and the Botswana Network on Ethics, Law, and HIV/AIDS. The government interacted with and provided financial support to some of these organizations.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

The constitution and law prohibit governmental discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, race, nationality, creed, sex, or social status, and the government generally respected these provisions in practice. However, the law does not prohibit discrimination by private persons or entities, and there was societal discrimination against women; persons with disabilities; minority ethnic groups, particularly the San; persons with HIV/AIDS; and homosexuals.

Women

The law prohibits rape but does not recognize the concept of spousal rape. Through September 1,537 incidents of rape were reported to the police. By law the minimum sentence for rape is 10 years in prison, increasing to 15 years with corporal punishment if the offender is HIV-positive, and 20 years with corporal punishment if the offender was aware of having an HIV-positive status. A person convicted of rape is required to undergo an HIV test before being sentenced. Police lacked basic investigative techniques in rape cases.

Children

In 2005 the UN Children's Fund estimated that there were 150,000 orphans in the country, of whom approximately 120,000 had lost their parents due to HIV/AIDS. As of September the government had registered approximately 50,900 children as orphans. Once registered, these children received clothes, shelter, a monthly food basket worth between $50 (300 pula) and $92 (550 pula) depending upon location, and counseling as needed. Some relatives continued to deny inheritance rights to orphans.

No law specifically prohibits child abuse. Sex with a child below the age of 16 is known as defilement, and is prohibited and punishable by a minimum of 10 years of incarceration. Through September 284 defilement cases were reported. Sexual abuse of students by teachers was a problem, and there were frequent media reports of rape, sexual assault, incest, and defilement. Deaths from HIV/AIDS caused an increasing number of orphans. These children were sometimes sexually abused by the extended family members with whom they lived. The law considers incest a punishable act only if it occurs between blood relatives, leaving children legally unprotected from incestuous acts performed by step parents, caregivers, and the extended family.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

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. On September 10, the government rejected an application to register an NGO that supports homosexuals and bisexuals.

Brazil

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

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

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

The Bahia Gay Rights Group confirmed that police continued to commit abuse and extortion directed against transvestite prostitutes in the cities of Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, and Salvador. All such allegations were under police investigation at year's end.

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

Several large penitentiaries were dismantled and replaced with smaller units. Inmates with HIV/AIDS were receiving medication. Violence and corruption accusations were under investigation, and several employees were fired for corruption or physical abuse.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Although the law prohibits and penalizes discrimination on the basis of race, gender, disability, or social status, discrimination against women, Afro-Brazilians, homosexuals, and indigenous people continued.

Women

Each state secretariat for public security operated "delegacias da mulher" (DEAMs), police stations dedicated exclusively to addressing crimes against women. In 2006 there were 394 DEAMs located throughout the country. The quality of services varied widely, and availability was particularly limited in isolated areas. The stations provided psychological counseling, temporary shelter, and 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.

According to the NGO Bahian Gay Group, 83 male homosexuals, 30 transvestites, and three lesbians were killed during the year, for a total of 116 killings, compared with 88 in 2006. The Northeast was the most violent area against homosexuals, with 60 percent of the cases reported. The most violent states were Pernambuco with 16 homicides, Bahia with 13, and Rio Grande do Norte with eight.

During the year the group Rio without Homophobia, in partnership with other NGOs and the Rio de Janeiro state government, developed a program that included professional counseling services, medical assistance, rights defense, and a witness protection program.

Brunei

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There were no reports of societal violence or discrimination based on sexual orientation or against persons with HIV/AIDS. The law makes it a criminal offense to have "sexual intercourse against the order of nature." There were no reports of official discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing, access to education, or health care.

Bulgaria

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

a. Freedom of Speech and Press

Six of eight cases in a complaint filed against Ataka party leader Volen Siderov remained under review by the Sofia regional court. The complaint originated with a coalition of 60 NGOs and charged Siderov with harassing and discriminating against persons from ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities. In the two cases that were decided, both in 2006, the court found in one that Siderov had incited discrimination on the basis of ethnicity but found in the other that his statements did not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

The constitution and law prohibit discrimination on the grounds of race, gender, disability, social status, and sexual orientation; however, the law does not prohibit discrimination on the basis of language. Societal discrimination continued to occur, particularly against women, sexual minorities, and ethnic minorities. Trafficking in persons continued to be a problem.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

The law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, but the government did not effectively enforce this prohibition. Reports of violence against sexual minorities were rare, but societal discrimination, particularly discrimination in employment, although less common than in earlier years, was a problem. Although in 2006 the gay‑rights organization Gemini won three cases it filed with the Commission for Protection against Discrimination, individuals continued to be reluctant to pursue legal remedies for discrimination due to the stigma of being openly identified as gay.

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 were HIV-positive in order to receive medical care.

Burkina Faso

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

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. However, persons with HIV/AIDS were generally not discriminated against in employment practices or the workplace.

Homosexuals were discriminated against and were at times victims of verbal and physical abuse. Both religious and traditional beliefs were intolerant of homosexuality. There were no reports that the government responded to societal violence and discrimination against homosexuals.

Burma

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 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 were harsh and life threatening.... HIV/AIDS infection rates in prisons reportedly were high due to communal use of syringes for injections and sexual abuse by other prisoners.

d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention

Arrest and Detention

On August 24, authorities in South Dagon Township in Rangoon arrested seven NLD members en route to a protest. Witnesses reported that the authorities physically and verbally abused the detainees and demanded they tell police the whereabouts of NLD member and HIV/AIDS activist Phyu Phyu Thin. Also on August 24, police and USDA members arrested 17 activists attempting to stage a protest near Rangoon's city hall. According to witnesses several of the protesters were beaten by USDA members and plainclothes police before being taken away. On the same day, police arrested human rights activist Myint Aye in his home.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Children

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. Many 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, trafficking for sex and labor exploitation, and HIV/AIDS.

Trafficking in Persons

Young women and girls were at high risk for trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, while both young men and women were trafficked to East and Southeast Asia and the Middle East for domestic servitude and bonded labor. Victims of trafficking faced hazardous conditions, including sexual and physical abuse by their traffickers, poor nutrition and sanitary conditions, and disease, including tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.

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. Nonetheless, homosexuals had a certain degree of protection through societal traditions.

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.

Burundi

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Women

The UN Development Fund for Women reported that many rapes of minors were committed with the belief that they would prevent or cure sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS.

Children

The law provides for children's health and welfare, but the government did not meet all the needs of children, particularly the large population of children orphaned by violence since 1993 and by HIV/AIDS.

According to UNICEF, 20,000 children were living with HIV/AIDS, and more than 240,000 children were orphaned by AIDS. UNICEF funded a program to prevent HIV transmission from mother to infant.

Although the 2006 cease-fire agreement between the government and the last remaining rebel group halted active hostilities, the increasing prevalence of HIV/AIDS increased the number of orphans, and, consequently, an increase in the number of street children. The total number of orphans from all causes was more than 836,000, according to the National Council for the Fight Against HIV/AIDS. According to the government, an estimated 30,000 children were heads of household, mostly in rural areas. This marked an increase of more than 60 percent from 2006 UNICEF estimates.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

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. Societal discrimination against homosexuals was widespread. The government took no steps to counter discrimination against homosexuals.

Cambodia

Section 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. There were no reported cases of sexual orientation discrimination in employment, housing, statelessness, or access to education or health care. However, homosexuality was typically treated with fear and suspicion, and there were few support groups based on sexual orientation where such cases could have been reported.

Cameroon

The law provides for the arrest of homosexuals, as well as persons not carrying national, government-issued identification cards. There were reports of prolonged and sometimes incommunicado pretrial detention and infringement on citizens' privacy rights. The government restricted citizens' freedoms of speech, press, assembly, association, and harassed journalists. The government also impeded citizens' freedom of movement. Other problems included official corruption; societal violence and discrimination against women; female genital mutilation (FGM); trafficking in persons, primarily children; discrimination against indigenous pygmies and ethnic minorities; and discrimination against homosexuals.

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

a. Freedom of Speech and Press

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.

On April 7, the police arrested Georges Gilbert Baongla, publisher of the weekly Le Dementi, a Yaounde-based private newspaper, for publication of obscene materials, public contempt of morals, and contempt of decency. The charges stemmed from a March 27 report regarding an alleged homosexual scandal involving an unidentified government minister. The Yaounde prosecutor formally charged Baongla and transferred him to the Yaounde Central Prison. In May a Yaounde court gave Baongla a suspended six-month prison sentence and fined him $1,000 (500,000 CFA francs).

Section 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.

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.

On August 29, gendarmes arrested and detained three young homosexuals in the Douala neighborhood of Bonapriso after neighbors called the gendarmes to report a fight over a sexual transaction. The three were scheduled for trial on November 7 and the trial continued at year's end.

In October the Bonanjo High Court refused to release six Douala men held in New Bell Prison on charges of homosexuality. The Douala High Court formally charged them with homosexuality and the trial was pending at year's end.

In June 2006 the administration of the Douala-based Eyengue Nkongo College, a private high school, expelled 34 students (including 12 women), 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

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There were rare reports of societal violence or discrimination based on sexual orientation or against persons with HIV/AIDs. The Canadian Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, and the criminal code provides penalties for crimes motivated by bias, prejudice, or hate based on personal characteristics, including sexual orientation. The law extends equal access to civil marriage to same-sex couples, and in January the government eliminated restrictions for purposes of immigration on recognition of same-sex marriages performed outside the country.

Cape Verde

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There were no reports of discrimination based on sexual orientation or against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Central African Republic

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Children

There were more than 6,000 street children between the ages of five and 18, 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 persisted during the year, and many citizens denied the existence of homosexuals or attributed their existence to undue Western influence.

Chad

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

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

Chile

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 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 isolated instances prisoners died due to lack of clear prison procedures and insufficient medical resources in the prisons. Prison officials reported that there were 48 deaths from preventable causes during the year, compared with 64 in 2006. As of December, 23 inmates had been killed by other prisoners, and 25 inmates had committed suicide. Prisoners with HIV/AIDS and mental disabilities allegedly failed to receive adequate medical attention.

Section 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. While these groups share the anti-Semitic rhetoric of neo-Nazi groups, there were no reports of neo-Nazi attacks targeting the Jewish community. Police arrested persons involved in neo-Nazi attacks, and neo-Nazis have been dismissed from the armed forces and Carabineros.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

During June a skinhead group hacked into and defaced the Web site of the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation (MOVILH). According to MOVILH's Fifth Annual Report on the Human Rights of Sexual Minorities, 49 cases of discrimination (including two killings) due to sexual orientation were registered in 2006. The report cited a 15 percent decrease in reports but an increase in the use of violence against gays, lesbians, transvestites, and transgendered individuals. On August 26, the Chilean Confederation of Sexual Diversity was formed, grouping together 13 organizations of sexual minorities from around the country.

China (includes Tibet, Hong Kong, and Macau)

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

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

d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention

Arrest and Detention

In February local authorities blocked Dr. Gao Yaojie, a prominent HIV/AIDS activist, from traveling overseas to receive a human rights award by placing her under house arrest. Following international pressure, Gao was permitted to travel.

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Freedom of Association

Authorities supported the growth of some civil society organizations that addressed social problems, such as poverty alleviation. However, authorities remained cautious that these organizations might emerge as a source of political opposition among disgruntled citizens. A student-led NGO called Xinjiang Snow Lotus, which advocated on behalf of AIDS and Hepatitis B patients, was shut down in October 2006 on the claim that it was not formally registered as an NGO. Snow Lotus' founder, Chang Kun, was expelled from his university.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

No laws criminalize private homosexual activity between consenting adults. According to the Ministry of Health, the country has approximately 30 million homosexuals between the ages of 15 and 60. 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.

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 700,000 persons with HIV/AIDS and approximately 120 million hepatitis B carriers (including 20 million chronic carriers) remained widespread in many areas. Hospitals and physicians sometimes refused to treat HIV-positive patients.

Persons with HIV/AIDS likewise suffered discrimination and local governments sometimes tried to suppress their activities. In July officials in Guangzhou forced organizers to cancel an international conference on the legal rights of HIV/AIDS patients. 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 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 encouraged and facilitated 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 toward coordinating efforts with NGOs and preferred to work independently.

Tibet

Women and Children

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

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Trafficking in Persons

There is no law prohibiting trafficking in persons. There are various laws and ordinances that allow law enforcement authorities to take action against traffickers. Despite robust efforts by the SAR government to stop such activities, Hong Kong was a point of transit and destination for a small number of persons trafficked for sexual exploitation from the mainland and Southeast Asia. The SAR government stated that it was difficult to identify trafficking victims from among the larger group of illegal immigrants.

Nearly all trafficking victims initially 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 by criminal syndicates and promises of financial rewards but faced circumstances of debt bondage. Syndicates sometimes held passports and travel documents until debts were paid.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There were no reports of societal violence or discrimination based on sexual orientation or against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Macau

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There were no reports of societal violence or discrimination based on sexual orientation or against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Colombia

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

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

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

Killings

According to CINEP, extrajudicial killings attributed to the government were a combination of false reports of guerrillas killed in combat and "social cleansing" (including vagrants, homosexual populations, and other "undesirables"). Examples of extrajudicial executions by security forces reported by CINEP and the UNHCHR included:

Paramilitary members who refused to demobilize and new illegal groups killed journalists, local politicians, human rights activists, indigenous leaders, labor leaders, and others who threatened to interfere with their criminal activities, showed leftist sympathies, or were suspected of collaboration with the FARC. They also reportedly committed massacres and "social cleansing" killings of prostitutes, homosexuals, drug users, vagrants, and gang members in city neighborhoods they controlled. New illegal groups, according to CINEP, were responsible for the deaths of 128 civilians from January through June, a 52 percent increase from 58 deaths reported during the same period in 2006.

Comoros

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There were no reports of discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS. Homosexuals did not publicly discuss their sexual orientation due to societal pressure.

Congo, Republic of

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

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. Schools were overcrowded and facilities extremely poor. 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 constitution prohibits discrimination based on political, sexual or religious orientation. However, 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

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 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

Medical care at most facilities generally was adequate for routine illnesses and injuries. However, prisoners were referred to social services agencies for complex medical issues, such as HIV/AIDS, with consequent treatment delays.

Section 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 one report complaining of such discrimination during the year. In April the president and the minister of health signed an order derogating a 1990 decree that established a prohibition for HIV/AIDS high risk persons from donating blood, plasma, and body organs and tissues.

Cote d'Ivoire

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

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

Trafficking in persons, violence and discrimination against homosexuals, and discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS were also reported.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There was some societal violence and discrimination against homosexuals.

During an annual Gay Pride parade in July in Zagreb, approximately 20 participants claimed that antigay groups followed them during and after the parade and beat some of them on side streets away from the event. Among the persons beaten at the event or later were Italian Senator Gianpaolo Silvestri and citizens from other European countries. Despite over 500 police protecting some 300 participants, a group of young persons attempted to throw five or six Molotov cocktails into the event. Police arrested a 25-year-old-man and charged him with a hate crime for the incident. In October the state prosecutor indicted the suspect. This was the first time that someone was indicted for a hate crime since this type of crime was introduced into the Criminal Code in June 2006.

Societal discrimination against homosexuals was frequently present in the form of insults, stereotypical jokes and societal prejudices. According to a 2006 national survey conducted on a random sample of 200 sexual minority members, 14.4 percent of interviewees had experienced physical violence over a period of 36 months. More than 56 percent had been exposed to insults or threats. More than half had a friend or partner who had been the victim of violence because of their sexual orientation. Such violence and harassment most frequently occurred in open public places and the perpetrators usually did not know the victim. The survey found that 22 percent of persons who experienced violence because of their sexual orientation reported it to the police, but that for one in four or these, going to police resulted in further embarrassment, humiliation, and inappropriate police behavior towards the victims.

Police investigated but made no arrests in the 2006 attack by a dozen persons on two homosexual British tourists in a bar in which one of the tourists sustained a concussion, ear injury, and loss of teeth. Police also investigated but made no arrests in the 2006 attack by at least three persons on 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.

Societal discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS remained a problem. The Croatian Association for HIV (HUHIV) reported that there were instances of dentists and general practitioners refusing to treat HIV positive patients and that some hospitals postponed surgeries because doctors were reluctant to operate. If an HIV patient did not go through the infectious disease hospital, he or she often waited for treatment, and surgery was sometimes delayed indefinitely. There were allegations that transplant centers refused to put HIV patients on their list of potential organ recipients.

According to HUHIV representatives, the lack of public assistance, such as hot lines, for HIV-positive patients was a problem. 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 employment. According to the analysis, most cases of discrimination occurred outside the scope of the law or was due to insufficient enforcement of privacy laws, lack of consistent adequate medical care, and discrimination in school or the workplace.

Cuba

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 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. At Manto Negro Prison in Havana, the country's largest 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 and stabbings. Guards frequently looked the other way and failed to punish perpetrators. The government did not release information on the treatment of minors at either youth or adult prisons or detention centers.

Section 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. 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, on an individual basis, workers in state‑run hotels, 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.

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. Some persons with HIV/AIDS suffered job discrimination or were rejected by their families. The government operated four prisons exclusively for HIV/AIDS sufferers; some inmates were serving sentences for "propagating an epidemic." A person with HIV/AIDS released in November from a Havana prison for HIV/AIDS sufferers reported that prison conditions were poor, medical care was erratic, and antiviral drugs and other HIV treatment were not provided regularly.

Cyprus

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

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

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

The law criminalizes homosexuality in the area administered by Turkish Cypriots. Homosexuality remained highly proscribed socially and rarely discussed.

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

Czech Republic

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There were no reported cases of violence or discrimination against persons based on sexual orientation or who were HIV-positive.

Denmark

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

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

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial

Trial Procedures

The law provides that criminal sentences can be increased when bias is proved as a motive. Bias can be based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or religion.

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

a. Freedom of Speech and Press

The law prohibits any public speech or dissemination of statements or other pronouncements by which a group of persons is threatened, derided, or degraded because of their race, skin color, national or ethnic background, faith, or sexual orientation; offenders may be fined or imprisoned for up to two years. The law also prohibits "blasphemy" and provides that a person who publicly mocks or insults a legally existing religious community's tenets of faith or worship may be fined or imprisoned for up to four months.

Djibouti

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There was no known societal violence or discrimination based on sexual orientation or against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Dominica

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

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

The government and the Dominica Planned Parenthood Association operated programs designed to discourage discrimination against HIV/AIDS-infected persons and others living with them.

Dominican Republic

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 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 often did not provide adequate medical care to inmates. Prisoners immobilized with HIV/AIDS or who had terminal illnesses were not transferred to hospitals.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

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.

Ecuador

Societal problems continued, including violence against women; discrimination against women, indigenous people, Afro-Ecuadorians, and homosexuals; trafficking in persons and sexual exploitation of minors; and child labor.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

The constitution prohibits discrimination based on race, gender, disability, language, or social status; however, women, persons with disabilities, indigenous people, Afro-Ecuadorians, homosexuals, and transgendered persons continued to face discrimination.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

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 Kirmirina, a credible NGO, police subjected homosexuals, transsexuals, and transvestites to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. The NGO 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.

On December 20, the Municipality of Quito passed an ordinance supporting the fundamental human rights of all citizens, regardless of sexual orientation.

Egypt

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 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 April 2006 the parliament's Human Rights Committee requested that prisoners be permitted to meet with their wives as a means of preserving family ties and reducing HIV/AIDS among prisoners.

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 used the Emergency Law to try cases outside the scope of combating terrorism and grave threats to national security.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

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.

There were no reports during the year of societal violence against persons with HIV/AIDS.

El Salvador

The most significant human rights problems included harsh, violent, and overcrowded prison conditions; lengthy pretrial detention; inefficiency and corruption in the judicial system; violence and discrimination against women; abuses against children, child labor, and forced child prostitution; trafficking in persons; discrimination against persons with disabilities, indigenous persons, and persons based on sexual orientation; and lack of enforcement of labor rights.

Section 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 Ministry of Governance delayed approval of or denied legal status for NGOs with particular human rights or political agendas, including the case of a gay, lesbian, and transgender advocacy NGO denied such status in 2005.

Section 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.

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 2006 National Health Survey, only half of the population between the ages of 15 and 24 was sufficiently aware of methods for preventing HIV infection.

Equatorial Guinea

Section 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, but the government restricted this right in practice. The law establishes what types of NGOs can register, and human rights associations were added to the list in 2005; since then human rights NGOs have been registered to address issues of the aged and disabled, HIV/AIDS, conservation, and environment. The law prohibits the formation of political parties along ethnic lines and prohibits coalitions between political parties; however, six opposition groups continued to be part of what was effectively a coalition with the ruling party. Unlike in past years, opposition party members were able to advance agendas in public meetings with little successful interference from the ruling party.

Section 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.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

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

Despite frequent public statements and radio campaigns advocating nondiscrimination toward them, persons with HIV/AIDS continued to be victims of societal stigmatization, which led them to keep their illness hidden. The government promulgated a decree that provides for free HIV/AIDS testing and treatment, and supported public information campaigns to increase awareness.

Eritrea

There was societal abuse and discrimination against women; widespread practice of female genital mutilation (FGM); governmental and societal discrimination against members of the Kunama ethnic group; widespread societal discrimination based on sexual orientation, and reports of discrimination against those with HIV/AIDS.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Homosexuality is illegal, and homosexuals faced severe societal discrimination.

Estonia

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Freedom of Assembly

A gay rights parade took place in Tallinn on August 11 without incident. The government had failed to protect participants of a gay rights parade in 2006.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There were no reports of societal violence or discrimination based on sexual orientation or against persons with HIV/AIDS.

In April police fined four persons and issued warnings to several others for verbally and physically attacking participants in a 2006 gay rights parade. A similar parade took place on August 11 without incident.

Ethiopia

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Trafficking in Persons

According to international NGOs, child prostitution was a growing problem, particularly in urban areas. Approximately 60 percent of persons exploited in prostitution were between the ages of 16 and 25, according to one NGO report. Underage girls worked as hotel workers, barmaids, and prostitutes in resort towns and at 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.

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. IOM officials reported some linkages between internal and international trafficking, specifically noting that children internally trafficked from Dire Dawa, Bahir Dar, and Dessie, were frequently sent to the Middle East, transiting through Dire Dawa, Jijiga, Bosasso (in Somalia), and then Djibouti.

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.

Section 6 Worker Rights

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

In June 2006 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 a pension plan.

Fiji

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

The constitution prohibits discrimination based on race, sex, place of origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation, color, primary language, economic status, age, or disability. The government generally enforced these provisions effectively, although there were problems in some areas.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

The constitution prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The preexisting penal code criminalizes homosexual acts between males, but the judiciary has held these provisions to be unconstitutional. There was some societal discrimination against homosexuals and persons with HIV/AIDS, although there was no systemic discrimination. There were no known cases of violence directed at homosexuals or person with HIV/AIDS.

Finland

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There were no reports of societal violence or discrimination against persons based on their sexual orientation or against persons with HIV/AIDS.

France

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

a. Freedom of Speech and Press

On January 25, an appeals court affirmed an earlier verdict fining UMP deputy Christian Vanneste $4,440 (3,000 euros) for defamatory comments against homosexuals. Vanneste was required to pay a portion of his fine to three gay rights groups for his public assertion that "homosexuality is inferior to heterosexuality. If one extended [the homosexual lifestyle] universally, it would be dangerous for humanity. There [already] is a social model that consists of heterosexual marriage and the education of children."

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

Citizens may report cases of discrimination based on age, gender, national origin, ethnicity, family situation, sexual orientation, physical disability, state of health, religious conviction, or group affiliation to the independent High Authority for the Fight against Discrimination and for Equality (HALDE). At year's end the HALDE had received 6,222 discrimination claims, 50 percent of them relating to employment discrimination.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

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.

An inquiry conducted by AIDS Info Service in 2005 showed that 57.3 percent of HIV-positive respondents complained of discrimination. These cases represent 13.9 percent of the discrimination caseload addressed by the HALDE in 2005.

Gabon

The following human rights problems were reported: limited ability of citizens to change their government; use of excessive force, including torture, on prisoners and detainees; harsh prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention; an inefficient judiciary susceptible to government influence; restrictions on the right to privacy; restrictions on freedom of speech, press, association, and movement; harassment of refugees by security forces; widespread government corruption; violence and societal discrimination against women, persons with HIV/AIDS, and noncitizen Africans; trafficking in persons, particularly children; and forced labor and child labor.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There was considerable discrimination against women and persons with HIV/AIDS. One local NGO worked closely with the Minister of Health to combat both the associated stigma and the spread of the disease. The same organization also worked to combat the stigma associated with homosexuality but did not receive any assistance from the government for these activities.

Gambia, The

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

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. The government took a multisectoral approach to fighting HIV/AIDS through its 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. In April the National AIDS Secretariat collaborated with The Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry to develop a business coalition response to HIV/AIDS using workplace policies to destigmatize AIDS and allow workers to feel comfortable asking for information. Public discourse about HIV/AIDS increased during the year, as President Jammeh launched an herbal treatment program for the virus. Throughout the year, the secretary of state for health urged persons to undergo voluntary HIV/AIDS counseling and testing.

There were no discriminatory laws based on sexual orientation; however, there was societal discrimination based on sexual orientation, which remained a social taboo. In an October 13 speech to commemorate the end of Ramadan, the president condemned homosexuality as un‑Islamic.

Georgia

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Women

Rape is illegal. Criminal cases of 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. If the victim was pregnant, contracted HIV/AIDS, or was subjected to extreme violence, the sentence may be increased to 15 years and, if the victim was a minor, up to 20 years.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

While there are no laws that criminalize homosexual behavior, it was not widely accepted in society.

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 treatment 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 in 2006.

Germany

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

c. Freedom of Religion

Beginning in January 2006, authorities in Baden‑Wuerttemberg required residents seeking naturalization to complete a questionnaire concerning their political and moral beliefs and their adherence to the constitution. Some minority groups, particularly Muslims, protested against this questionnaire, claiming it was discriminatory. In June 2007 the questionnaire was modified to eliminate questions about sexual orientation and to rephrase those about marriage to address only forced marriages. The questionnaire was reoriented to immigrants in general, and not just to Muslims. The new version of the questionnaire was approved by Muslim associations.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

In August 2006 the government enacted a law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, religious affiliation, age, sex, handicap, or sexual orientation.

National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

In 2006 the federal OPC recorded 17,597 right‑wing, "politically motivated crimes" (PMCs), an increase from 15,361 in 2005 and the highest number since 2000. There were also 2,369 left‑wing PMCs, 477 PMCs by foreigners, and 168 other types of PMCs. The Federal Criminal Office defines politically motivated crimes as offenses related to the victims' ideology, nationality, ethnicity, race, skin color, religion, worldview, ancestry, sexual orientation, disability status, appearance, or social status.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Despite increasing public awareness, media and other reports indicated that societal and job‑related discrimination against homosexuals occurred, though such instances were rare.

Five victims were hospitalized in June after eight right‑wing radicals attacked a group of actors in Halberstadt (Saxony‑Anhalt), still costumed from their performance of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Four previously convicted right-wing extremists went on trial for this attack on October 9 in Magdeburg. On December 5, the four men were released from custody on the basis of insufficient evidence while the adjudication of the case proceeds. One suspect who made a partial confession was obliged to report his whereabouts periodically to the police.

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

Ghana

The government generally respected human rights and made significant improvements during the year; however, there were problems in several areas, including incidents of vigilante justice. Human rights problems included deaths resulting from the excessive use of force by police; vigilante justice; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; police corruption and impunity; prolonged pretrial detention; forcible dispersal of demonstrations; corruption in all branches of government; violence against women and children; female genital mutilation (FGM); societal discrimination against women, persons with disabilities, homosexuals, and persons with HIV/AIDS; trafficking in women and children; ethnic discrimination and politically and ethnically motivated violence; and child labor, including forced child labor.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

The law criminalizes homosexuality, and lesbians and gays faced 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.

Discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS was a problem, and the fear of being stigmatized continued to discourage persons from being tested for HIV infection.

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

Greece

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Violence against women and children, trafficking in persons, and discrimination against ethnic minorities, particularly Roma, and homosexuals were problems.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

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.

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

Grenada

Section 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 women's awareness of their rights. The programs also addressed issues of women's health, particularly the risks of HIV/AIDS.

Other Social Abuses and Discrimination

The law criminalizes consensual homosexual relations, providing penalties of up to 10 years' imprisonment. Society generally frowned upon homosexuality, and many churches condemned it. There was no perceptible discrimination against those with HIV/AIDS, partly because the disease was widespread in the general population, including women infected by partners engaging in sex with men and boys. The government encouraged citizens to be tested and to get treatment. An NGO, GRENCHAP, provided counseling to those affected by HIV/AIDS.

Guatemala

Human rights and societal problems included the government's failure to investigate and punish unlawful killings committed by members of the security forces; widespread societal violence, including numerous killings; corruption and substantial inadequacies in the police and judicial sectors; police involvement in kidnappings; impunity for criminal activity; harsh and dangerous prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention; failure of the judicial system to ensure full and timely investigations and fair trials; failure to protect judicial sector officials, witnesses, and civil society representatives from intimidation; threats and intimidation against journalists; discrimination and violence against women; trafficking in persons; discrimination against indigenous communities; discrimination and violence against gay, transvestite, and transgender persons; and ineffective enforcement of labor laws, including child labor provisions.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 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 and transvestites with similar threats of false charges. Critics accused the police of indiscriminate and illegal detentions when conducting antigang operations in some high-crime neighborhoods. Security officials allegedly arrested and imprisoned without charges, or sometimes using false drug charges, suspected gang members; at times police arrested these persons without a warrant.

Section 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. 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.

Guinea

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 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 most prisons, men and women were held separately, but juveniles generally were held with adults in prisons outside the capital. In 2006 an international NGO reported the prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS among incarcerated minor boys to be as high as 50 percent, suggesting sexual abuse. Due to the work of a local NGO, a separate facility was built in 2006 at the main prison in Conakry to house minors.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

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.

Unlike in the past, there were no reports that hospitals refused to treat patients with HIV/AIDS. There were no reports of workers being discriminated against based on HIV/AIDS status.

Guinea-Bissau

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There was no open discussion of homosexuality or HIV/AIDS, and the government did not address discrimination on either basis.

Guyana

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Women

Prostitution is illegal but present. It continued to receive greater public attention due to the high incidence of HIV/AIDS among prostitutes and increased prevalence of trafficking in persons.

Trafficking in Persons

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. In some instances victims were forcibly abducted. Trafficking reportedly took place in the interior, where there was little government oversight and law enforcement was lacking. 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. 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.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation or against persons with HIV/AIDS were not widely reported.

Haiti

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 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 and detention centers throughout the country remained overcrowded, poorly maintained, and unsanitary.... Prisoners and detainees continued to suffer from a lack of basic hygiene, malnutrition, poor quality health care, and the presence of rodents. Furthermore, most prisons lacked adequate food and sanitation and periodically suffered from lack of water. The incidence of preventable diseases such as beriberi, AIDS, and tuberculosis remained a serious problem. Overcrowding at the National Penitentiary prompted the government to release 200 prisoners who for the most part were either very ill or committed very minor offenses, but some of whom had been detained for very serious, violent offenses.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

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

The following human rights problems were reported: unlawful killings by members of the police and government agents; arbitrary and summary killings committed by vigilantes, street gangs, and former members of the security forces; beatings and other abuse of detainees by security forces; harsh prison conditions; failure to provide due process of law; lengthy pretrial detention; politicization of the judiciary, as well as judicial corruption and institutional weakness; erosion of press freedom; government restrictions on recognition of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs); violence and discrimination against women; child prostitution and abuse; trafficking in persons; discrimination against indigenous communities; violence and discrimination against persons based on sexual orientation; ineffective enforcement of labor laws; and child labor.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

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

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

On December 13, the Public Ministry charged five police officers with torture and illegal detention of several members of the NGO Lesbian-Gay Rainbow Association of Comayaguela.

On March 18, security authorities detained without charges for several hours Donny Reyes, a transvestite person and member of the Gay-Lesbian Rainbow Association of Comayaguela, at the Comayaguela police station. During his detention, other inmates allegedly physically assaulted and raped Reyes with the encouragement of police officers. There was no information about any follow-up investigation of this incident.

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

There were credible reports that security officials condoned rapes and other physical assaults on detainees who were homosexuals (see section 5).

Section 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. The criminal association law, however, prohibits illicit association and prescribes prison terms of three to 12 years. 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.

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

The government revoked or denied legal registration to gay and lesbian advocacy groups (see section 5).

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Trafficking in Persons

The law sets penalties and defines offenses related to trafficking, including incest, lechery, abuse, prostitution, pornography, and knowingly infecting someone with HIV/AIDS. Punishments include fines ranging from $5,294 to $26,469 (100,000 to 500,000 lempiras) and imprisonment for four to 20 years. The law was not enforced effectively. Inadequate government funding to combat trafficking, corruption, and routine dismissal of government employees limited the government's ability to address trafficking.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There are no discriminatory laws based on sexual orientation, but in practice social discrimination against persons based on sexual orientation was widespread. Representatives of sexual diversity rights NGOs asserted that their members were killed, beaten, and subjected to other mistreatment by security authorities. In cases where lesbians, gays, and transgender persons were found dead, the prosecutor often encountered serious difficulties because the victims had either concealed their identity or sexual orientation or, in many cases, were hiding from their families. Criminal investigations were categorized by female or male gender but did not recognize a "transgender person" category. Sexual diversity rights groups asserted that security forces, government agencies, and private employers engaged in antigay discriminatory hiring practices. These groups also reported intimidation, fear of reprisal, and police corruption made gay and lesbian victims of abuse reluctant to file charges or proceed with prosecutions.

The government required, as a condition for legal registration, sexual diversity rights organizations to remove any reference in their bylaws to promotion of respect for the rights of gay, lesbian, or transgender persons. In March the secretary general of the Ministry of Governance and Justice commented publicly that the government denied registration to gay rights advocacy NGOs because their stated purposes did not comport with "good custom."

On April 24, Javier Medina, president of the Asociacion Kukulcan, filed an appeal against the Ministry of Governance and Justice's 2006 unilateral modifications to the legal registrations of Colectivo Violeta, Asociacion Kukulcan, and Asociacion de Gay, Lesbianas y Travestis. These modifications removed references to gay rights advocacy and instead stated that these organizations' purposes were only to combat HIV/AIDS. Medina stated that homosexuals were vulnerable and subject to constant and increasing human rights violations. There was no information available on the status of Medina's appeal.

The sexual diversity rights organization the Lesbian-Gay Rainbow Association of Comayaguela reported that between January and March, seven homosexuals were killed due to their sexuality by unknown actors and that a number of gay persons had fled the country out of fear of social and security force persecution.

On March 18, police beat and detained Donny Reyes, the treasurer of the Lesbian-Gay Rainbow Association of Comayaguela. Police then reportedly put Reyes in a jail cell with 57 gang members who raped and beat him. Reyes filed a formal complaint and was subsequently harassed by police. At year's end there was no information about further developments in the case.

Amnesty International reported that on April 10, five men physically assaulted with police encouragement transvestite activist Josef Fabio Estrada. The police reportedly prevented other persons from aiding Estrada during the attack. On April 27, security authorities charged Estrada with attempted homicide and robbery and temporarily held him in a penitentiary for convicted criminals. Security officials reportedly neither detained nor brought charges against Estrada's attackers. There was no further information regarding any investigation of these incidents.

On May 26, police reportedly arrested and detained arbitrarily transvestite activist Claudia Spellmant and seven other gay persons and allegedly physically abused them. There was no information available regarding any investigation of these incidents.

By year's end police had detained two suspects in the August 2006 killing of Ramon Valladares, director of the Comunidad Gay Sampedrana.

Hungary

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Homosexuality is legal, but on one occasion right‑wing groups subjected homosexuals to physical abuse. Despite a police escort, the approximately 2,000 participants in the annual gay pride march on July 7 encountered a crowd of several hundred antigay demonstrators who hurled verbal abuse, beer bottles, eggs, nylon bags filled with sand, and two smoke bombs at them. This counterdemonstration was organized by the far‑right‑wing party Jobbik. Later in the evening, after police had observed the dispersal of the antigay demonstrators and departed, witnesses reported a number of physical assaults on persons entering and leaving a nightclub that marked the terminus of the march. Police allegedly failed to respond to phone calls reporting these incidents. Several NGOs criticized police for inaction and for charging the 17 persons arrested in connection with the parade with group disorderly conduct, instead of the more serious charge of incitement against a community or violation of the freedom of assembly.

Iceland

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

a. Freedom of Speech and Press

The law establishes fines and imprisonment of up to three months for those who publicly deride or belittle the religious doctrines of a lawful religious association active in the country. Additionally, the law establishes fines and imprisonment of up to two years for anyone who publicly ridicules, slanders, insults, threatens, or in any other manner publicly assaults, a person or a group of people on the basis of their nationality, skin color, race, religion, or sexual orientation. There were no reports that the law was invoked during the year.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There were no reports of societal violence or discrimination based on sexual orientation or against persons with HIV/AIDS.

India

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 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 2006 NHRC report, a large proportion of the deaths in judicial custody were from natural causes, in some cases aggravated by poor prison conditions. 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 checkups on all inmates. By the end of 2006, only a few examinations had been performed.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Children

Despite legal constraints, according to a 2005 Health Ministry report on population and development, half of all women were married by the age of 15. The 2005 NFHS reported that forty-five percent of women (18-24) and 32 percent of men (18-29) marry before the legal age of 18 years and 21 years, respectively. According to another 2005 report from the Office of the Registrar General of India, 240 girls die every day due to pregnancy-related complications in early child marriages. The International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) concluded that those married under the age of 18 were twice as likely to be abused by their husbands compared with women married later; they were also three times more likely to report marital rape. ICRW reported that child brides often showed signs 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.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

The law 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. Gays and lesbians faced discrimination in all areas of society, including family, work, and education. Activists reported that in most cases, homosexuals who did 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 arrest to coerce victims into not reporting the incidents.

Voices Against 377, a high-profile campaign to overturn Section 377, which outlaws homosexuality, led by writers Vikram Seth and Amartya Sen, continued at year's end. In February 2006 the Supreme Court ruled that the Delhi High Court should not have dismissed an earlier case brought by two NGOs on behalf of Seth and Sen and referred the case to the Delhi High Court. There were no further developments regarding this case during the year.

In March a new media outlet based in Kolkata, Ananda Bazar Patrika, reported the attack and killing of apparently effeminate men in Kolkata. No police cases were filed.

There were no developments in the January 2006 arrests of gay men in Lucknow through a sting operation in which police officers posed as gay men on the Internet and, after entrapping one man, forced the individual to call other gay men, also arrested. Several NGOs claimed that the arrests were illegal, that evidence against the men was fabricated, and that the police violated the men's right to privacy.

There were no developments in the January 2006 complaint against two constables of the Azad Maidan police station for using decoys in a train station public toilet to entrap and extort money from gay men. The Azad Maidan police apprehended the two constables and handed them to railway police.

In March the UN Development Program (UNDP) released a report on "launda dancers", young men and boys hired to dance in women's clothing at marriage ceremonies and Hindu festivals in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Dancers were vulnerable to exploitation by orchestra leaders, who cheated them of earnings or forced them into prostitution. Sexual assault and gang rape by intoxicated clients were frequent and dancers were at high risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. Some laundas had illegal castrations to join the hijra (traditional transvestite) community, but they often suffered from post operation complications for which they could not get government medical care.

Authorities estimated that HIV/AIDS had infected approximately 5.1 million persons, and according to the International Labor Organization (ILO), 70 percent of persons suffering from HIV/AIDS faced discrimination. 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 August state government authorities readmitted five HIV-positive children who were denied education at the Mar Dionysius Lower Primary School Pampady, in the Kottayam District of Kerala. The five students were turned out of school in 2005 under pressure from parents of the other students.

In 2004 a Mumbai High Court ruled that HIV-positive persons could not be fired on the basis of their medical status. However a July 2006 survey by the National Council for Applied Economic Research, the National AIDS Control Organization, and the UNDP revealed that 29 percent of persons living with HIV 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.

Indonesia

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

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

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

On January 22 and 23, two gay men in Banda Raya, Aceh, were physically and verbally abused by their neighbors and then arbitrarily arrested, beaten, and sexually abused by police. Four police officers were suspended and administratively sanctioned for their abuse of the men. At year's end the case was still under investigation, but the authorities maintained they were unable to file charges because one of the victims had fled Aceh and the other refused to be questioned.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Stigma and discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS were pervasive. However, the government encouraged tolerance, took steps to prevent new infections, and provided free antiretroviral (ART) drugs, although with numerous administrative barriers. The government position of tolerance was adhered to unevenly at all levels of society; for example, prevention efforts often were not aggressive for fear of antagonizing religious conservatives, and in addition to barriers to access to free ART drugs, potential recipients had to pay medical fees that put the cost beyond the reach of many.

Iran

Violence and legal and societal discrimination against women, ethnic and religious minorities, and homosexuals; trafficking in persons; and incitement to anti-Semitism remained problems.

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

a. Freedom of Speech and Press

On August 6, the general prosecutor ordered to close the last major reformist daily Shargh. The ban placed on Shargh in September 2006 was lifted on May 14, but the paper was operational for less than three months before being closed again. The government reportedly closed the newspaper in response to a published interview with a writer accused of being a homosexual activist.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

In 2004 the judiciary formed the Special Protection Division, a volunteer unit that monitored and reported moral crimes. The law prohibited and punished homosexuality; sodomy between consenting adults was a capital crime. The punishment of a non-Muslim homosexual was harsher if the homosexual's partner was Muslim. At a speech at Columbia University in September, the president publicly denied the existence of homosexuals in the country.

According to health ministry statistics announced in October 2006, there were more than 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, and government-sponsored low-cost or free methadone treatment for heroin addicts, 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 as in pharmacies. Nevertheless, persons infected with HIV reportedly faced discrimination in schools and workplaces.

Iraq

During the year the following significant human rights problems were reported: a pervasive climate of violence; misappropriation of official authority by sectarian, criminal and extremist groups; arbitrary deprivation of life; disappearances; torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment; impunity; poor conditions in pretrial detention and prison facilities; denial of fair public trials; delays in resolving property restitution claims; immature judicial institutions lacking capacity; arbitrary arrest and detention; arbitrary interference with privacy and home; other abuses in internal conflicts; limitations on freedoms of speech, press, assembly, and association due to sectarianism and extremist threats and violence; restrictions on religious freedom; restrictions on freedom of movement; large numbers of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees; lack of protection of refugees and stateless persons; lack of transparency and widespread, severe corruption at all levels of government; constraints on international organizations and nongovernmental organizations' (NGOs) investigations of alleged violations of human rights; discrimination against and societal abuses of women, ethnic, and religious minorities; human trafficking; societal discrimination and violence against individuals based on sexual orientation; and limited exercise of labor rights.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There were continued reports of societal discrimination and reported violence against individuals based on sexual orientation.

In April the Iraqi Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender organizationstated that eight killings took place between January and April, while several other gay activists were arrested and tortured. During the year reports of persons targeted because of their sexual orientation that were kidnapped or disappeared in Baghdad included a taxi driver, a tailor, a translator, a chef, a college student, and a transvestite. Islamist death squads reportedly were involved in the killings.

Other parts of this report contain related information; see sections 1.c, 2.c., and 6.d.

Ireland

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

The law prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of gender, marital status, family status, sexual orientation, age, disability, race, and membership in the Traveller community. However, discrimination against racial minorities, including immigrants and Travellers, remained a problem.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There was no reported societal violence or discrimination based on sexual orientation or against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Israel and the occupied territories

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Societal violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation or against persons with HIV/AIDS existed in isolated cases. The government continued to uphold laws criminalizing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or HIV/AIDS. Gay Pride events, including a large march in Tel Aviv, were held peacefully and without violence or widespread disruption.

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

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

The law states that all Palestinians are equal without discrimination because of race, gender, color, religion, political views, or disability. There was societal discrimination against women, persons with disabilities, and homosexuals; child abuse also persisted.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There was no legal discrimination against homosexuals. However, cultural and religious traditions reject homosexuality, and Palestinians alleged that PA security officers harassed, abused, and sometimes arrested homosexuals due to orientation.

Italy

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There were reports of societal discrimination based on sexual orientation. In July newspapers published the story of a student in Sicily who was insulted and abused by classmates and expelled from school by the teacher because of his perceived homosexuality. The minister of education ordered an investigation.

In June 2005 the Administrative Court of Catania criticized 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

While the government generally respected the human rights of its citizens, there were serious problems in some areas, including: unlawful killings committed by members of the security forces, mob violence against and vigilante killings of those suspected of breaking the law, abuse of detainees and prisoners by police and prison guards, poor prison and jail conditions, continued impunity for police who committed crimes, an overburdened judicial system and frequent lengthy delays in trials, violence and discrimination against women, trafficking in persons, and violence against suspected or known homosexuals.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

The law 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 members also reported death threats, as well as threats to burn down its offices. In October members of J-Flag reported that they were considering sending a prominent AIDS spokesman abroad due to concerns for his personal safety in the country.

Authorities postponed the trial of six suspects arrested for the 2005 robbery and murder of Lenford "Steve" Harvey, and it had not been held by year's end.

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 confirm their homosexuality for their own safety. There were numerous reports of violence against homosexual inmates, perpetrated by the wardens and by other inmates, but few inmates sought recourse through the prison system. One foreign homosexual man held in prison complained about harassment and for his safety was moved to a maximum-security prison and placed in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day.

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

No laws protect 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

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There were no reports of societal violence or discrimination based on sexual orientation or against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Jordan

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Societal discrimination against homosexuals existed. There were reports of individuals leaving the country out of fear they would be harmed by their family for being homosexual.

HIV/AIDS was a taboo subject in society, and public awareness was limited. Many citizens assumed the disease was a problem exclusively of foreigners due to government requirements that only foreigners be tested for HIV annually.

Kazakhstan

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

The law prohibits discrimination based on race, gender, disability, language, or social status; however, the government did not enforce this effectively. Violence against women, trafficking in persons, and discrimination against persons with disabilities, homosexuals, and non-ethnic Kazakhs in government were problems.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Although there were no official statistics on discrimination based on sexual orientation, there were reports of such discrimination. Representatives of international organizations reported that negative 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 continued to affect general access to information, services, treatment, and care.

Kenya

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Children

Child prostitution increased in recent years due to both poverty and the increase in the number of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS. Strong growth in the tourism industry led to a large increase in foreign and domestic tourists seeking sex with underage girls and boys.

Poverty and the spread of HIV/AIDS continued to intensify child homelessness. The Standard reported in May that the government began a pilot program to place two million AIDS orphans with families in 20 districts. As of August the government had placed 5,000. In 2006 the children's rights NGO, African Network for the Prevention and Protection Against Child Abuse and Neglect, estimated that 750,000 children lived on the streets. Street children faced harassment and physical and sexual abuse from police and others, and within the juvenile justice system.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There was societal discrimination based on sexual orientation. The Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK) and other civic leaders condemned homosexuality and argued against legalizing gay marriages. A group in Mombasa created the Muslim Youth Pressure Group to oppose homosexuality.

There was societal discrimination against homosexuals and persons with HIV/AIDS. The common view of HIV/AIDS as a stigma made it difficult for many families to acknowledge that a member was HIV-positive, and to date no socially or politically prominent individual has admitted being HIV-positive. However, there were fewer reports of violence against persons with HIV/AIDS.

The Department of Defense arranged for uniformed personnel and their families and some local persons to have access to HIV counseling and testing, prevention programs, and antiretroviral treatment.

The government worked in cooperation with international donors on programs for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. This enabled a rapid expansion of counseling and testing as well as care and treatment. During the year the number of people with knowledge of their HIV status and those able to achieve improved health if found to be infected more than doubled. These developments were seen as key to ultimately reducing stigma and discrimination.

Kiribati

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Sodomy and acts of "gross indecency" between males are illegal, but there were no reports of prosecutions under these provisions. Societal discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and against persons with HIV/AIDS were not significant problems. A government-run HIV/AIDS taskforce coordinated outreach and education activities concerning HIV/AIDS.

Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

No information was available on other societal abuses and discrimination, such as societal violence or discrimination based on sexual orientation or against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Korea, Republic of

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

The law forbids discrimination on the basis of gender, religion, disability, age, social status, regional origin, national origin, ethnic origin, physical condition or appearance, marital status, pregnancy and child delivery, family status, race, skin color, thought or political opinion, record of any crime for which punishment has been fulfilled, sexual orientation, or medical history, and the government generally respected these provisions. However, traditional attitudes limited opportunities for women, persons with disabilities, and ethnic minorities. While courts have jurisdiction to decide discrimination claims, many of these cases were instead handled by the NHRC. From January to August, 779 such cases were brought before the NHRC.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Some observers claimed that persons with HIV/AIDs suffered from severe societal discrimination and social isolation. A 2006 UN 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 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.

A 2007 Human Rights Watch letter maintained that, although the law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, transgender people were at risk of discrimination in employment, education, housing, and healthcare.

Kuwait

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Homosexuality is illegal, and there was discrimination against homosexuals in societal attitudes and legal issues.

On December 10, the National Assembly approved a law to impose a fine of $3,450 (1,000 dinars) and/or one year's imprisonment for those imitating the appearance of the opposite sex in public. According to HRW, in December police arrested several individuals they believed were imitating the appearance of the opposite sex. For example, on December 18, police arrested three individuals at a police checkpoint in Salimeya and days later arrested three more individuals in Kuwait City. On December 21, police arrested three individuals in Hawalli district and two others at a police checkpoint. According to HRW, the men were subjected to physical and psychological abuse while in detention in Tahla prison. HRW reported that the detainees did not have access to counsel. At year's end the men remained in detention.

There were no developments in the 2006 case in which police raided a party where homosexuals were allegedly celebrating a wedding. In 2005 police charged a group of 28 alleged homosexuals with creating a public disturbance after they met outside a fast‑food restaurant.

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. At year's end the government had not completed the 2005 plan by the Council of Ministers to construct housing for noncitizen single males on the outskirts of the capital and remove them from urban residential areas.

Kyrgyz Republic

The following human rights problems were reported: some restrictions on citizens' right to change their government; torture and abuse by law enforcement officials; impunity; poor prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention; lack of judicial independence; pressure on nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and opposition leaders, including government harassment; an increase in pressure on independent media, including assaults on staff and vandalism of property; government harassment and detention of assembly organizers; pervasive corruption; discrimination against women, persons with disabilities, ethnic minorities and homosexuals; child abuse; trafficking in persons; and child labor.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

The law prohibits discrimination based on race, gender, disability, language, or social status; however, 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 nontraditional sexual orientationwas publicly known risked physical and verbal abuse, possible loss of work, and unwanted attention from police and authorities, particularly lower‑ranking officers. Incarcerated gay men were often openly victimized in prisons by inmates and officials alike.

Laos

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

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

The government generally respected the human rights of its citizens and the large resident noncitizen community; however, there were problems in some areas. These included: serious police abuse of detainees and arrestees; poor conditions at police detention facilities; poor prison conditions and overcrowding; judicial corruption; obstacles to due process; violence against women; child abuse; trafficking in persons; violence against ethnic minorities; and societal violence and occasional government discrimination against homosexuals.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

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

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

Prison and detention cell conditions remained poor, as indicated in reports during the year by the COE human rights commissioner and the LCHR. The human rights commissioner reported that living conditions in prison had not improved significantly since his visit to the country in 2003, although he noted a small reduction in the prison population. The LCHR report on prisons and detention centers described conditions that ranged from good to terrible. The report described the key problems as prison overcrowding, violence among prisoners, health problems (a high incidence of tuberculosis, drug addiction, and HIV infection), and the absence of social rehabilitation.

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Freedom of Assembly

In contrast to 2006, authorities issued a permit for a gay pride parade that took place on June 3.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

The law prohibits discrimination based on race, gender, language, disability, or social status; however, violence against women and racial minorities, societal discrimination against women and homosexuals, child abuse, and trafficking in persons were problems.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

In contrast with 2006, there were no reports of societal violence or discrimination against homosexuals; however, the population at large had little tolerance for homosexuality. On December 10, Roman Catholic Cardinal Janis Pujats delivered a speech criticizing homosexuality, in what some observers described as a call for gays to be banned from holding political office.

In contrast with 2006, when the Riga City Council cancelled a permit for a gay pride parade, a gay pride event and concert was held in a park in Riga in 2007 with permission from the city and under heavy police protection. There were reports of verbal harassment by opponents from outside the security perimeter, but there were no violations of public order.

Lebanon

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Discrimination against homosexuals persisted during the year. The law prohibits what is termed unnatural sexual intercourse, which is punishable by up to one year in prison. The law was sometimes applied to homosexuals. There are no discriminatory laws against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Lesotho

Widespread domestic violence, restrictions on women's rights, societal discrimination against women and persons with disabilities or HIV/AIDS, and child labor were problems.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Children

Child abuse was a common problem, especially for children orphaned by HIV/AIDS. There were few official reports or statistics.

Familial stress, poverty, the spread of HIV/AIDS, and divorce led to a rise in child homelessness and abandonment, creating numerous street children and an estimated 100,000 to 200,000 families headed by children. 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.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

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

The law prohibits discrimination in the workplace on the basis of HIV/AIDS status. The law does not address sexual orientation, and general discrimination against homosexuals was present in the workplace.

In June 2006 parliament amended the labor code to include an HIV/AIDS workplace policy. Each government ministry or department provided subsidized medicine and food to its employees with HIV/AIDS, and 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.

Section 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. The Labor Code Amendment Act of 2006 provides for the further development of HIV/AIDS policies in the work place. The Ministry of Labor and Employment has an HIV/AIDS Support Group which carried out campaigns for the implementation of the labor code. The Support Group also provides testing and counseling services to employees in the private sector living with HIV/AIDS. The target sectors were security companies, construction, and transport. Thirty-seven private sector companies had developed policies on HIV/AIDS.

Liberia

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There was no societal violence or discrimination based on sexual orientation or against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Libya

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There were no reports of societal violence or discrimination based on sexual orientation or against persons living with HIV/AIDS.

Liechtenstein

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

A government-contracted study published in December found evidence of discrimination based on sexual orientation. In a poll 71 percent of homosexuals who responded said that discrimination was widespread in the country; 58 percent of the overall population expressed the view that homosexuality remained a taboo. There also were some reports of discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Lithuania

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

a. Freedom of Speech and Press

According to a July report by the Baltic News Service, the number of hate speech investigations opened by prosecutors in Lithuania have sharply increased over the past two years. In 2007 prosecutors initiated 37 cases investigating incitement of hatred based on ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation. Twenty such cases were opened in 2006, compared to just one in 2005. More than half the cases involved the incitement of hatred against Jews.

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Freedom of Assembly

The law and constitution provide for the right to peacefully assemble, and the government generally respected this right in practice for most groups; however, the government denied parade permits to gay rights groups on several occasions during the year.

In April the Vilnius municipality refused to issue a permit for a public event, sponsored by the European Commission, to promote tolerance and respect for persons with disabilities, homosexuals, and persons of different religions. Municipal officials said they withheld the permits because they were afraid of possible violence by counter-demonstrators. In response to, and at the same place and date for which the tolerance event was planned, a group calling itself "For Morals and Nation" organized an antihomosexual rally on May 25. Anti-homosexual flyers were posted in many locations in Vilnius prior to the event. Approximately 50 persons were at the event, and they passed out antihomosexual flyers to passersby. In May the Equal Opportunities Ombudsman started an investigation to determine if the municipality acted legally by cancelling the prodiversity event; however, the ombudsman later terminated the investigation due to lack of available information. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), European Commission officials, and some Lithuanian officials criticized the withholding of the permit.

In October, a gay rights NGO requested a permit to unfurl a rainbow flag in Town Hall Square on October 25 as part of the annual conference of the European division of the International Lesbian and Gay Association. The municipality refused. The reason given was that construction work underway in Town Hall Square could jeopardize the safety of participants. The NGO challenged the city in court, but the court did not overturn the city's decision.

c. Freedom of Religion

Societal Abuses and Discrimination

According to a July report by the Baltic News Service, the number of hate speech investigations opened by prosecutors in Lithuania has sharply increased over the past two years. In 2007 prosecutors initiated 37 cases investigating incitement of hatred based on ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation. Twenty such cases were opened in 2006, compared to just one in 2005. More than half the cases involved the incitement of hatred against Jews.

Section 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.

On September 11, the ECHR ruled that the government violated the rights of a transexual woman who had appealed to the Ministry of Health for permission for a sex change operation, as recommended by her doctors. The ministry deferred acting on the doctors' recommendation on the grounds that the parliament had not approved a law on sex change. The court ordered Lithuania to pay compensation of $7,000 (5,000 euros), and Lithuania is obligated to pass a law on sex change within three months. If parliament does not pass a law within three months, the court obliged the country to pay $68,000 (40,000 euros) to the plaintiff, the approximate cost of a sex change operation in Western Europe. In December the government appealed the decision and requested the court review this case again.

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

Luxembourg

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

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

Macedonia

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

A local NGO representing the rights of homosexuals reported incidents of societal prejudice against homosexuals, including harassment or discrimination by employers and state officials. The Macedonian Association for Free Sexual Orientation faced bureaucratic obstacles in organizing activities. The press carried homophobic articles.

The number of persons with HIV/AIDS was extremely low, and there were no reports of societal discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Madagascar

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

The law does not prohibit discrimination against homosexuals, and there was general societal discrimination against them.

Although the national HIV/AIDS rate was low at approximately 1 percent, there was stigma and occasional discrimination attached to having HIV/AIDS. In July the government adopted a new law protecting HIV/AIDS patients' rights to free and quality health care and specifying sanctions against persons who discriminate or marginalize people with the disease. The law was enforced by the ministries of health and justice and the National Committee for the Fight Against AIDS in Madagascar.

Malawi

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 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

Numerous inmates died in prison each month, largely due to HIV/AIDS, diarrhea, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and inadequate diet. More than 280 deaths in prison were recorded in 2006, according to AI. During the year there were 171 reported deaths in the prison system, including 72 attributed to HIV/AIDS, 36 to tuberculosis, 22 to pneumonia, and 18 to malaria.

On September 19, inmates at Zomba Central Prison wrote a letter to the Malawi Human Rights Resource Center complaining of poor diet, inadequate medical care, and poor sanitation. The prisoners stated that HIV-infected inmates had no access to proper treatment or nutritious food. A Department of Prison spokesperson admitted that the department did not have adequate funding to buy nutritious food and that funding for HIV/AIDS affected prisoners was inadequate.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Societal violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and against persons with HIV/AIDs occurred but there were no government statistics on the extent of the problem. The National AIDS Commission stated that discrimination was a problem in both the public and private sector but believed the problem was decreasing due to HIV awareness campaigns.

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, but campaigns by the government and NGOs to combat the stigma were having some success. During July the Ministry of Health sent 2,177 counselors to 1,367 sites to conduct HIV Testing and Counseling Week; 186,631 persons voluntarily came for testing, exceeding the ministry target by over 50,000 persons.

Malaysia

Section 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

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

The law prohibits homosexuality, and citizens did not generally accept homosexuality. The punishment for men includes banishment for nine months to one year or whipping 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

Section 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; 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.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Social Abuses and Discrimination

Societal discrimination based on sexual orientation and persons with HIV/AIDS occurred.

Malta

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There were no reports of discrimination based on sexual orientation or against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Marshall Islands

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There were no accounts of societal violence based on sexual orientation or HIV/AIDS infection. There are no enforced laws criminalizing homosexuality. In general homosexuals were accepted in society. There was some cultural stigma attached to HIV infection, but NGOs and the government conducted campaigns to provide HIV/AIDS education and encourage testing for the disease.

Mauritania

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There was no evidence of either societal violence or systematic government discrimination based on sexual orientation. Although Shari'a outlaws homosexuality under certain conditions, secular laws do 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. The stigma related to the disease and the belief that victims are guilty of violating Islamic practices contributed to underreporting of HIV infection, the incidence of which was likely significantly higher than the official figure of 1 percent.

Mauritius

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

In 2006 the government responded with the introduction of the HIV/AIDS Act 2006 for the protection of HIV/AIDS patients against stigmatization and discrimination due to a 2004 case where a woman was evicted from her rented house after she publicly revealed that she had AIDS. On August 12, the media reported that a citizen was not granted permission to marry an HIV positive South African citizen based on her HIV status. Authorities based their initial refusal on clauses of the Immigration and Civil Status Acts. Following lobbying by local NGOs, the couple was granted special permission to marry. By year's end the law had not been amended in accordance with the HIV/AIDS Act 2006.

Mexico

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

While homosexuals experienced a growing social acceptance, the National Center to Prevent and Control HIV/AIDS 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.

There were several incidents of harassment and violent attacks against homosexuals. There were no updates on the minor arrested for the 2005 killing of Octavio Acuna, an activist for the rights of persons with HIV/AIDS.

On September 24, the SCJN ruled on the fifth case of eight soldiers who alleged discrimination by their superiors because they were summarily discharged after being tested HIV-positive. The SCJ ordered SEDENA to reinstate the soldiers in their former positions.

Micronesia, Federated States of

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

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

Moldova

Section 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 news reports during the year, inmates in Balti Prison were each allotted two square meters (approximately 36 square feet) of space. Juveniles were held together with adults, and all prisoners suffered from poor ventilation and low‑quality food; 31 prisoners were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Freedom of Assembly

On April 11, Chisinau municipal authorities refused the gay rights NGO GenderDoc‑M permission to hold a demonstration calling for legislation to bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The denial was issued despite a February 13 Supreme Court ruling that a similar ban in 2006 was a violation of the right of assembly.

Section 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 gay‑rights 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 11, Chisinau municipal authorities refused permission to GenderDoc‑M to hold a demonstration calling for legislation to bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (see Section 2.b.).

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.

Monaco

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There were no reports of violence or discrimination based on sexual orientation or against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Mongolia

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Homosexuality is not specifically proscribed by law. However, Amnesty International and the International Lesbian and Gay Association criticized a section of the penal code that refers to "immoral gratification of sexual desires," arguing that it could be used against homosexuals. Homosexuals reported harassment by police, but remained divided over the overall level of societal discrimination.

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

Montenegro

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Society generally showed antipathy towards homosexuals, leading most homosexuals to conceal their identity. Violence against homosexuals was rare and not condoned by the government. There were no reports of violence or discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDs.

Morocco

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There was some societal violence based on sexual orientation. The penal code criminalizes homosexual acts but was infrequently enforced. On November 23, the home of a man who had hosted an alleged gay wedding the previous weekend was ransacked by an angry mob. On December 10, he and five other participants were tried and convicted for violating the law against homosexual acts. At year's end they remained in jail.

Mozambique

...societal problems such as domestic violence, discrimination against women, abuse, exploitation, and forced labor of children, trafficking in women and children, and discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS remained widespread.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

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

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

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

In a series of prison visits conducted during the first half of the year, the 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. 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, and the LDH noted that in many prisons, authorities denied condoms to inmates.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal 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 homes and/or abandoned by their husbands and relatives because they were HIV positive. It also reported that some women who were widowed by HIV/AIDS were accused of being witches who purposely killed their husbands to acquire belongings, and in retribution were deprived of all belongings.

Children

The government took steps to address the problems facing HIV/AIDS orphans. A 2006 UNICEF study 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.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

The law prohibits discrimination on the basis of HIV/AIDS, and the Ministry of Labor generally intervened in cases of perceived discrimination by employers. In July the Ministry of Labor reported receiving more than 100 cases annually of workers being dismissed by their employers for having HIV/AIDS. Often, the worker was obligated by the employer to take HIV/AIDS tests. In response to these violations, the ministry registered the complaints and confronted companies responsible for dismissals.

The law does not specifically prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, and there were occasional such reports. Despite the absence of a law, the LDH reported cases of discrimination against homosexuals in the judicial system. The Workers Law, passed during the year, includes an article that prevents discrimination in the workplace based on a number of factors, including sexual orientation.

Section 6 Worker Rights

d. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment

Although the law prohibits forced and bonded labor by children, it was considered to be a common problem, especially in rural areas. 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 educational opportunities, gender inequality, and the impact of HIV/AIDS. Children, including those under the age of 15, commonly worked on family farms in seasonal harvests or on commercial plantations, where they picked cotton or tea leaves and were paid on a piecework basis.

Namibia

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of Refugees, and Stateless Persons

Protection of Refugees

According to the UNHCR, approximately 6,300 refugees resided in Osire Refugee Camp and another 1,400 lived outside the camp among the general population. Approximately 5,600 of the refugees were from Angola; the others were primarily from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, and Rwanda. During the year the government registered all refugees and asylum seekers and began issuing identification cards to make it more convenient to travel outside the camp. Education through grade 10 was available to all refugees, and the government facilitated further secondary education for students with financial sponsorship at schools outside the camp. The government provided antiretroviral therapy to refugees infected with HIV/AIDS.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There were no reported cases of discrimination against homosexuals. Unlike in previous years, there were no reports of senior government officials making disparaging public remarks about homosexuals.

There were no reports of discrimination against workers because of their HIV/AIDS status. The government supported the work of the Namibia Business Coalition against HIV/AIDS.

Section 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 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

Section 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, an indigenous NGO that worked to protect against discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities, harassment of homosexuals continued.

Between July and September, authorities arrested five transgender persons in Kathmandu. All were released on the same or next day.

On July 2, the NA fired a trainee after keeping her in solitary confinement for 49 days because she was a lesbian. On July 20, the NA fired Bhakti Shat after keeping her for 60 days in solitary confinement for the same offense. Bhakti Shat had served in the NA for four years prior to her dismissal. At year's end, her case was pending.

On December 21, the Supreme Court ruled that sexual minorities (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, and intersex) are "natural persons" and should be allowed to enjoy all the rights defined by national and international human rights law and instruments.

Netherlands, The

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

a. Freedom of Speech and Press

It is a crime to engage in public speech that incites hatred, discrimination, or violence against persons because of their race, religion, convictions, gender, sexual orientation, or handicap, and the government prosecuted several cases during the year. The prosecutor’s office reviewed 46 cases on these grounds in 2006. The government urged prosecutors and police to give proper attention to incidents of discrimination.

c. Freedom of Religion

Societal Abuses and Discrimination

The independent Registration Center for Discrimination on the Internet described several hundred right-wing Web sites as extremist, including those of Stormfront.org, Polinico, National Alliance, and Holland Hardcore. The sites targeted not only Jews but also Muslims, blacks, and homosexuals.

It is a crime to engage in public speech that incites hatred, discrimination, or violence against persons because of their race, religion, convictions, gender, sexual orientation, or handicap, and the government prosecuted several cases during the year. The government urged prosecutors and police to give proper attention to incidents of discrimination, which included discrimination on religious grounds.

d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of Refugees, and Stateless Persons

Protection of Refugees

The law provides for the granting of asylum or refugee status in accordance with the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 protocol, and the government has established a system for providing protection to refugees. The government remained committed to providing protection against refoulement, the return of persons to a country where there is reason to believe they feared persecution; however, some observers asserted that some of the government's procedures placed persons at risk of refoulement. The authorities provided economic assistance to those whom it denied asylum and who chose to return home voluntarily.

Authorities denied asylum to persons who came from a so‑called safe country of origin or who resided for some time in a safe country of transit. European Union guidelines were used to define such countries. NGOs, including Amnesty International, and the UNHCR, raised cases in which protection from refoulement appeared to have been violated and called for stricter policies to prevent refoulement, which the authorities promised to investigate. These charges also drew intense political scrutiny and gave rise to parliamentary hearings that reversed or delayed government proposals to return asylum seekers from central and southern Iraq, as well as homosexuals and Christian converts from Iran.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

The law prohibits discrimination based on race, gender, disability, language, political preference, sexual orientation, and social status. The government generally enforced these prohibitions; however, violence against women and children, trafficking in persons, and discrimination against ethnic minorities, were problems.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There was increasing harassment of homosexuals in larger cities, primarily from some groups of Muslim youth. For example, Moroccan youths beat a prominent foreign gay activist on the Dutch National Day, April 30. However, most harassment consisted of verbal epithets and abuse. Police gave antigay violence high priority. In response to criticism that the police did not register antigay incidents separately, the Amsterdam police for the first time in 2007 kept such records. It recorded 234 antigay incidents. Most of them involved cursing and threats, but in 79 cases violence was used.

New Zealand

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

The law prohibits violence or discrimination against persons based on sexual orientation and against persons with HIV/AIDS. During the 12-month period ending June 30, the HRC received 52 discrimination complaints relating to sexual orientation (3.1 percent of all complaints), but it did not keep records as to whether violence was involved. The Ministry of Justice received no reports of societal violence or discrimination based on sexual orientation or against persons with HIV/AIDS, and there were no criminal prosecutions relating to these crimes.

Nicaragua

The most significant human rights abuses during the year included: harsh prison conditions; arbitrary application of justice, lack of respect for the rule of law, and widespread corruption and politicization of the judiciary, the Supreme Electoral Council (SEC), and other government organs; intimidation and harassment of journalists and undermining of press freedom; intimidation of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs); politicization of the Office of Human Rights Ombudsman; domestic violence; violence against children and widespread child labor; discrimination against indigenous communities; discrimination against homosexuals and persons with HIV/AIDS; trafficking in persons; and violations of trade union rights, especially in free trade zones (FTZs).

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

There were reports of societal abuses and discrimination against persons of Afro-Caribbean descent, indigenous communities, homosexuals, and persons with HIV/AIDS.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

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 the public encouragement of homosexual acts with a penalty of between one and three years' imprisonment, but this prohibition was not enforced. Members of the gay community complained about use of homophobic language by deputies Wilfredo Navarro and Freddy Torres during a September 14 National Assembly debate, which was publicized on television. There were allegations that a garment factory summarily fired homosexuals and that the company's management tolerated workplace violence against homosexuals.

The law provides specific protections for persons with HIV/AIDS against employment and health services discrimination. Although there were no reliable statistics, there was societal discrimination against persons based on alleged HIV/AIDS or sexual orientation status. Several NGOs worked to educate communities about HIV/AIDS discrimination issues, but persons with HIV/AIDS were often stigmatized by their communities, and there was a general lack of awareness and education among the public and health care professionals about prevention, treatment, and transmission of HIV/AIDS.

In August a woman in Jinotega Department filed a complaint with the Women's Police Commissariats against three public health professionals who in 2001 misdiagnosed her as HIV positive, denied her medical treatment, and publicized her alleged HIV/AIDS status to the community. As a result of their actions, the woman was reportedly denied work medical attention and other public services, thrown out of her house, and ostracized by her family and friends. By year's end the Institute of Legal Medicine was investigating the matter.

Section 6 Worker Rights

b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

During the year FTZ garment factory Nien Hsing fired six union leaders and approximately 40 union members. Although pursuant to a February Labor Ministry order Nien Hsing rehired two labor leaders and 10 union members, it did not comply with the Ministry of Labor's order to rehire 20 other workers. Union members and others reported that Nien Hsing prohibited union activities during working hours, forbade workers to speak with union leaders, threatened to fire workers using the health clinic, and summarily fired homosexual workers.

Niger

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 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 poor and life threatening. Prisons were underfunded, understaffed, and overcrowded. For example, in Niamey's civil prison there were 759 prisoners in a facility built for 350. During the year the government built a new ward for women. Family visits were allowed, and prisoners could receive supplemental food, medicine, and other necessities from their families; however, nutrition, sanitation, and health conditions were poor, and deaths occurred from AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Persons with HIV/AIDS experienced social discrimination. There were strong government efforts to discourage such discrimination. This included the April 26 launch of an antidiscrimination campaign in conjunction with several other organizations working on HIV/AIDS issues.

Homosexuals experienced social discrimination.

Nigeria

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 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 and tuberculosis were of particular concern within the prison population, and infections were exacerbated by substandard living conditions.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Children

Numerous children were homeless and lived on the streets. According to the Consortium for Street Children, there were no known statistics on numbers of street children in the country. Major factors that caused children to turn to the streets included instability in the home, poverty, hunger, abuse and violence by parents, and displacement caused by clashes in the community. HIV/AIDS also had a tremendous impact on the numbers of orphaned street children.

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 had adopted Shari'a law, adults convicted of engaging 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.

Norway

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There were no reports of societal violence or discrimination based on sexual orientation or against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Oman

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Despite various campaigns sponsored by the government to encourage acceptance of persons with HIV/AIDS, societal attitudes remained fearful toward persons with the disease. According to recent Ministry of Health statistics, there were approximately 1,000 reported cases of HIV/AIDS.

On December 2, the Ministry of Heritage and Culture, in cooperation with UNICEF, launched a four-year, inter-departmental National Response Strategy to HIV/AIDS, which is intended to raise awareness and develop an integrated strategy to counter the spread of the disease.

In 2006 the Ministry of Health promoted a "Peer Education" pilot project in the Muscat area to improve awareness and education about the disease among youth and opened an outreach center in Sur to provide free HIV/AIDS testing and counseling. UNICEF and the Ministry of Health operated a toll‑free AIDS hotline that fielded more than 8,000 calls in 2006. The Ministry of Health temporarily closed the hotline and outreach center in early 2007 pending plans to expand services.

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

Pakistan

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Homosexual intercourse is a criminal offense; however, the government rarely prosecuted cases. Homosexuals rarely revealed their sexual orientation, and there were no cases brought during the year of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

According to a December 7 report by OCHA, health experts estimate there were 85,000 HIV-positive persons in the country, with approximately 50 percent of them in Sindh Province. The report stated that "entrenched age-old social attitudes, practices, and stereotyping, which often lead to violence against women, coupled with unequal access to economic resources, are hampering progress towards dealing with the spread of HIV/AIDS."

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.

Palau

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There were no reports of cases of violence or discrimination based on sexual orientation or against person with HIV/AIDS.

Panama

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 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 authorities provided inadequate medical care. HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, hepatitis B, and other communicable diseases were common among the prison population. Through August approximately 13 inmates had died at the La Joya and Joyita complex due to various causes including AIDS, heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia, and kidney diseases.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

A law prohibiting homosexuality was not enforced. There was societal discrimination against homosexuals, and gay persons were often denied employment opportunities. The internal regulations of the PNP describe homosexuality as a "grave fault." There were reports that the PNP fired police officers because of the officers' sexual preferences, and that officers hid their sexual orientation due to fear of job termination. The director of the Office of Professional Responsibility of the Police defended the regulations policy on the basis that both physical and mental health was required of police officers.

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 Ministry of Health and Social Security provided treatment for HIV/AIDS, but the government had problems maintaining stocks of retroviral medication.

Papua New Guinea

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Sodomy and acts of "gross indecency" between males are illegal, but there were no reports of prosecutions under this law during the year. There were no specific reports of societal violence or discrimination against homosexuals, but homosexuals were vulnerable to societal stigmatization.

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 some individuals from seeking HIV/AIDS related services, and there were reports that companies have dismissed HIV-positive employees after learning of their condition.

Paraguay

Violence and discrimination against women and indigenous persons continued, as did trafficking in persons, discrimination against persons with disabilities, and discrimination based on sexual orientation or against persons with HIV/AIDS. Protections for worker rights and laws regulating child labor were inadequately enforced.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There was societal discrimination based on sexual orientation or against persons with HIV/AIDS. The Public Ministry was responsible for investigating these cases; however, police or other government agents perpetrated or condoned such discrimination. In May the Ministry of Health and Welfare reported 5,358 cases of HIV/AIDS, including 642 new cases in the first 10 months of 2006; 61 percent of all cases were male and 39 percent female.

Peru

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 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 cell phones, illicit drugs, and meals prepared outside 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.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

While homosexuals and persons with HIV/AIDS faced extensive discrimination, there were efforts to combat it. The Ministry of Health created public policies to combat discrimination based on sexual orientation, including a four-year (2007-11) strategic plan for the prevention and control of HIV and AIDS. In 2006 the Ministry of the Interior adopted the Handbook of Human Rights Applied to the Civil Police, which stipulates that the police must respect human rights, especially of the most vulnerable groups; it refers explicitly to lesbians, gays, and transvestites. On July 7, hundreds of persons, including public officials, union leaders, lesbians, homosexuals, and bisexuals, marched in downtown Lima.

Philippines

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

The law prohibits all forms of discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS and provides basic health and social services for these persons. However, there was some evidence of discrimination against HIV/AIDS patients in the provision of health care, housing, and insurance services. The rate of HIV/AIDS remained low, although the rate of infection was believed to be underreported. Overseas workers are required to participate in an HIV/AIDS class as part of a pre-departure orientation seminar.

There was no widespread discrimination based on sexual orientation; however, there were anecdotal reports of abuse and discrimination against homosexuals. In April an organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons applied for accreditation in the election of party-list representatives. The Commission on Elections denied their application.

Poland

There was discrimination against women in the labor market, sexual exploitation of children, trafficking in women and children, and societal discrimination and violence against ethnic minorities and homosexuals.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Women

The Ministry of Labor and Social Policy is responsible for combating gender discrimination, incorporating gender equality into governmental policy, and monitoring implementation of government programs to promote gender equality. During the year the ministry continued to implement a number of projects to combat gender discrimination in the workplace, including an EU project that involved local NGOs to combat discrimination on the grounds of sex, race, religion, disability, age, and sexual orientation.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

During the year there were some reports of skinhead violence and societal discrimination against persons based on their sexual orientation.

On April 21, an estimated 2,000 persons took part in Krakow's annual gay March for Tolerance to call for an end to prejudice against homosexuals in the country. In contrast to previous years the event took place in the city center without incident and organizers said they were satisfied with police protection.

At the same time, a counter Tradition and Culture March organized by the nationalist All Poland Youth took place along a route outside of the city center. Authorities assigned 530 police officers to keep an estimated 300 counter-marchers on a separate route away from the March for Tolerance. Clashes between the All Poland Youth demonstrators and police erupted as some marchers threw eggs, stones and ran at police cordons. Police arrested some 13 protestors.

On May 16, in remarks to the press, then Minister of Education and Sejm member Roman Giertych stated that he planned to prohibit the spread of homosexuality in schools by proposing amendments to the law to prohibit activities that promoted "homosexuality, pornography, or other phenomena violating moral norms." Giertych's proposal was not implemented and his political party, the League of Polish Families, was no longer represented in parliament.

On May 18, the UN Committee Against Torture (CAT) raised concerns over violence and hatred against homosexuals in the country. In its concluding observations, the CAT recommended that the government incorporate an offence in the criminal code to punish hate crimes as acts of intolerance, inciting hatred and violence based on sexual orientation.

On May 19, for the second consecutive year, Warsaw authorities allowed the annual Equality Parade to take place in the city center. Approximately 4,000 local and international gay rights advocates participated in the march without serious incident. However, several prominent members of parliament publicly denounced the event. For example, Roman Giertych called the participants "foul pederasts." Another member of his party, Wojciech Wierzejski, labeled the group a "degenerate horde." The parade was banned in 2005 by Warsaw city officials, a decision that the ECHR stated was a violation of freedom of association and assembly.

There were reports of discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS. On November 30, panelists at a Warsaw conference on HIV/AIDS in the country noted that discrimination, stigmatization, and ignorance remained major problems for persons with HIV. The conference, which featured medical, governmental, and humanitarian experts, noted that, over the previous ten years, the number of newly detected cases of HIV in the country has stabilized at 550-700 per year. Panelists noted incidents of discrimination against HIV positive persons, including several cases of doctors refusing to treat them. Panelists also remarked on weaknesses in educating school children about HIV/AIDS and called for better education to combat discrimination.

Portugal

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

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

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

According to the director general for prisons, approximately 35 percent of the 11,875 total prison population was infected with HIV/AIDS or hepatitis B or C or both. The largest number (at least 20 percent) were infected with hepatitis C, while at least 10 percent were infected with HIV/AIDS. According to the directorate general for prisons, 91 persons died in prisons during 2006, 74 from illness; 14 were reported to have been suicides. The government's AIDS prevention and treatment program continued in two major prisons on a three‑year trial basis, and the prison service instituted a needle exchange program.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There were no reports of societal violence or discrimination based on sexual orientation or against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Qatar

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Although there were no reports of discrimination based on sexual orientation, sodomy 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 three cases before the court during the year. The verdict in the 2006 case involving a Qatari male and an Asian expatriate male remained unknown at year's end.

There was discrimination reported against HIV patients if they were citizens or were in the country for at least five years 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. HIV-positive foreigners were deported to their home country, while HIV-positive citizens were quarantined and received treatment. According to the Qatar National Health Authority on December 1, a total of 228 HIV/AIDS cases have been detected in the country. More than half the number of patients are citizens and in the age group of 18 to 35. There are approximately 10 cases reported per year.

Romania

Societal violence and discrimination against the Roma was pervasive. Homosexuals continued to suffer societal discrimination. Discrimination against persons living with HIV/AIDS, particularly children, was a serious problem.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

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

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

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

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

c. Freedom of Religion

Societal Abuses and Discrimination

An April 2006 law to combat anti-Semitism and prohibit fascist, racist, and xenophobic organizations 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 a June 9 anti-gay parade, who used Nazi symbols and slogans.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

A study released in June by the Institute of Public Policies and Romani CRISS pointed to the danger of online discrimination and hate speech on the discussion forums of four national dailies. The study revealed that hate speech was mostly directed against Roma and homosexuals.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

NGOs reported that police abuse and societal discrimination against homosexuals was common and that open hostility prevented the reporting of some harassment and discrimination. Members of the gay and lesbian community continued to voice concerns about discrimination in public education and the health care system.

Approximately 400 people participated in the annual "march of diversity" gay pride parade in Bucharest on June 9. The local authorities mobilized hundreds of police to protect the participants, but there were still verbal and violent physical attacks against the marchers. One group of protesters threw stones, trash, and firecrackers at march participants, and also attacked the police. Police arrested over 100 people, including 13 minors. Five young men were charged with violent actions and 50 persons received fines for misconduct. Some participants in a counterdemonstration organized by the New Right and some religious organizations displayed symbols of the Iron Guard and wore t-shirts displaying a portrait of Legionnaire leader Codreanu. Although the law forbids the display and promotion of Nazi and neo-Nazi symbols, the authorities did not take any legal action against the counter-demonstrators.

Following repeated requests by the Accept Association, an NGO promoting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights, police announced that an investigation was initiated in March regarding the case of six participants in the 2006 "march of diversity" who were assaulted by a group of youths on the subway.

Among persons held in police detention, an increasing number of young men who other inmates perceived as being homosexual complained of harassment and of being subjected to violence by other inmates, while authorities failed to effectively protect them.

In June Georghe Becali, the owner of a soccer team and head of the right-extremist New Generation Party, launched a strong attack against gays in a public address, calling on them not to attend his team's soccer matches.

In July a Bucharest court ruled in favor of a person who accused the Distrigaz Sud gas utility of discrimination in access to services on grounds of sexual orientation. A Distrigaz Sud employee verbally harassed the plaintiff when the latter came to pay Accept Association's utility bill. The plaintiff was then physically assaulted by a company security guard. The court ordered Distrigaz Sud to pay the victim moral damages of approximately $1,300 (3,000 lei). Accept Association and the victim also complained to the CNCD and a decision of that body remained pending.

The authorities rarely enforced laws prohibiting discrimination against persons with HIV. 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.

An August 2006 Human Rights Watch (HRW) 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, fewer than 60 percent of the children and youths with HIV/AIDS attended school. Most HIV/AIDS infections were the result of contaminated blood transfusions and other medical procedures in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Doctors often refused to treat children and youths with HIV/AIDS. 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 some situations the children and their parents were threatened by parents of other children to keep them out of school. 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.

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. A June 2006 HRW 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. Fewer than 60 percent of HIV-positive children and adolescents attended some form of schooling.

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

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 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

Inmates in the prison system often suffered from inadequate medical care, and the numbers of inmates infected with tuberculosis and HIV increased. According to FSIN data, approximately half of all prisoners had mental disorders, one of every 15 prisoners had tuberculosis, and one in 25 was HIV-positive. Tuberculosis infection rates were far higher in detention facilities than in the population at large.

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 harshly, with little or no protection provided by prison authorities.

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

Abductions

Amnesty International reported federal and Chechen security forces targeted female civilians, both in response to terrorist bombings carried out by Chechen women and to put pressure on male relatives suspected of being rebels. In August 2006 masked men in camouflage detained Yelena Yersenoyeva, the widow of Chechen terrorist Shamil Basayev, and also a journalist and AIDS activist in Groznyy. Two days before the detention, Yersenoyeva had written to human rights organizations claiming she and her family were being harassed by Chechen security forces. In October 2006 Yersenoyeva's mother was reportedly abducted from a village near Groznyy. There was no further information on their whereabouts.

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Freedom of Assembly

On May 27, participants in a Moscow gay rights demonstration were assaulted by counter-demonstrators. Security forces did little to protect the demonstrators and arrested approximately 25 gay rights activists.

Section 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 was 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. In April 2006 the Moscow city Duma criticized the activities of foreign NGOs that fight HIV/AIDS for allegedly encouraging pedophilia, prostitution, and drug use among teenagers.

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 refused work due to their sexuality. Openly gay men were targets for skinhead aggression, which was often met with police indifference. A few gay rights organizations operated out of public view.

In May during violent attacks on gay rights activists, Moscow police enabled antigay demonstrators to disrupt a gay pride demonstration instead of protecting human rights and gay rights advocates.

Police did not investigate or take action against any of several hundred protesters that shouted threats and threw rocks, bottles, and eggs at participants in a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender "open party" in Moscow in April 2006 or against any of approximately 100 protestors that gathered outside a gay club the next night and conducted themselves in a similar manner.

Rwanda

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 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 a 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 in 2006 and two more during the year. International observers reported that prison deaths from preventable disease and other causes had stabilized at rates approximately similar to those found in the general population.

d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention

Arrest and Detention

The government enforced ill-defined laws against vagrancy and illegal street vending. On several occasions police and the LDF detained street children, vendors, beggars, and undocumented nonresidents in Kigali, Butare, and other larger towns and charged them with illegal street vending or "vagrancy." Adults who could produce identification were released. During the June HIV/AIDS conference, street children were transported directly to their home districts, to government-run or government-affiliated shelters, or for processing into vocational and educational programs.

Section 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.

Trafficking in Persons

Due to the genocide and deaths from HIV/AIDS, numerous children headed households, and some of these children resorted to prostitution or may have been trafficked into domestic servitude. While police reportedly conducted regular operations against prostitution, no statistics were available on prosecutions of those who utilized or exploited children in prostitution.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Discrimination based on sexual orientation occurred, and in September some members of parliament publicly called for legislation criminalizing homosexuality. There were reports that police officers assaulted and arrested homosexuals. There were also reports of landlords evicting tenants based on sexual orientation.

Discrimination against persons living with HIV/AIDS occurred, although such incidents dramatically decreased in recent years, and the government actively supported public education campaigns on the issue, including the establishment of HIV/AIDS awareness clubs in secondary schools. Members of the military with HIV/AIDS are allowed to serve domestically but do not take part in peacekeeping missions abroad.

Saint Kitts and Nevis

Section 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.

Saint Lucia

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

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

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 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

Despite reforms at the Her Majesty's Prison, problems such as endemic violence, understaffing, underpaid guards, uncontrolled weapons and drugs, increasing incidence of HIV/AIDS, and unhygienic conditions persisted.

Section 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 there was some societal discrimination against homosexuals and persons with HIV/AIDS. Local NGOs, including the SVGHRA, circulated a petition to Parliament that called for an end to all such discrimination.

Samoa

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Sodomy and "indecency between males" are illegal. The government actively enforced the law with regard to such acts involving exploitation of minors, with punishment of up to 14 years in prison if the minor is under 16 years of age. However, these provisions were not actively enforced with regard to consensual homosexual acts between adults. There were no reports of societal violence or discrimination against homosexuals or persons with HIV/AIDS.

San Marino

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There were no reports of discrimination based on sexual orientation or against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Sao Tome and Principe

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There was societal discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Persons with HIV/AIDS were often rejected by their communities and shunned by their families. However, unlike in the previous year, there were no reports that workers were discriminated against due to their HIV/AIDS status. There were a number of government-sponsored workshops and awareness campaigns to reduce such instances. The government also provided free AIDS testing and distributed antiretroviral drugs to all recognized patients.

Saudi Arabia

Section 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 legally be banned or publication production temporarily halted if outlets are deemed to promote "mischief and discord, compromise the security of the state and its public image, or offends a man's dignity and rights." The government continued to restrict freedom of speech and press by interrupting publication and dissemination of news sources critical of the royal family or of Islam. Authorities prevented or delayed distribution of foreign print media, effectively censoring foreign print media and publications. During the year discussions took place that tested the boundaries of permissible topics for media coverage, including political and social reforms, domestic and child abuse, rights of women and human rights, corruption, drug and alcohol abuse, crime rates and violence, trafficking in persons, HIV/AIDS, and the religious police.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Under Shari'a as interpreted in the country, sexual activity between two persons 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. There were reports of societal discrimination based on sexual orientation.

There were reports of discrimination, physical violence, and harassment toward homosexuals. In October a court in al-Baha Province sentenced two men to 7,000 lashes each for engaging in sexual intercourse with other men.According to AI, the two men have reportedly received part of their sentence.

According to press reports, on March 19, police arrested 17 men in Dammam at a party in which men dressed as women. The men, locally known to be homosexuals, were arrested in a private apartment after a neighbor contacted officials due to loud noise.

At year's end there was no further information on men arrested in August and November 2006. In August 2006 the media reported that 250 young men were detained and subsequently 20 were arrested at a suspected "gay wedding" in Jizan. In November 2006 the media reported that police arrested five men for preparing to stage a beauty contest for homosexual men. The five men had previously been arrested in May for the same offense. 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.

The Ministry of Health's 2006 data reported a total of 11,520 HIV cases in the country, (2,658 cases of citizens and 8,852 noncitizens.) Of the total number infected, 1390 were cases reported in 2006, and 79.5 percent were between the ages of 15 and 49, 6.4 percent were younger.

In September 2006 the Ministry of Social Welfare approved the establishment of the Saudi Society for AIDS Patients in Jeddah to coordinate with government agencies and to provide services to patients. According tothe ministry, some of the services included educating employers on the safety of hiring HIV-positive individuals as well as providing counsel to married couples in which a spouse has HIV/AIDS.

Senegal

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Homosexuality is a criminal offense, and homosexuals faced widespread discrimination and social intolerance. However, they were not generally targeted for violence and harassment.

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

Serbia (includes Kosovo)

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Violence and discrimination against homosexuals was a problem. Some NGOs reported that homosexuals were denied equal opportunities in education and employment. A 2006 survey by YIHR indicated that lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender persons experienced widespread threats, hate speech, verbal assault, and physical violence. The Anti-Discrimination Coalition criticized the lack of police response to three attacks on patrons of two clubs in Belgrade frequented by homosexuals on October 12 and November 3. The NGO characterized the attacks as part of antigay campaign.

Although the broadcasting law prohibits discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, the media carried slurs against homosexuals.

Human rights organizations were sometimes targeted for their vocal support of gay rights, sometimes leading to harassment. For example, on February 28 in Nis, two YIHR members were followed and harassed by unknown persons who expressed anger that they "protect gays and lesbians" and accused them of being anti-Serb.

In a 2006 poll conducted 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.

NGOs reported acts of discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS, including job loss and harassment from neighbors. The NGO Sunce stated that fear of discrimination prevented many persons from seeking testing, and, as a result, the actual number of HIV-positive persons in the country was as much as ten times greater than the 2,088 reported HIV cases.

Kosovo

UNMIK and the PISG generally respected the human rights of residents; however, there were problems in some areas, particularly relating to minority populations. The most serious of these were cases of politically and ethnically motivated violence; injuries from unexploded ordnance or landmines; lengthy pretrial detention and lack of judicial due process; corruption and government interference in the judiciary; societal antipathy against Serbs and the Serbian Orthodox Church; lack of progress in returning internally displaced persons to their homes; corruption in the PISG; violence and discrimination against women; trafficking in persons, particularly girls and women for sexual exploitation; societal violence, abuse, and discrimination against minority communities; societal discrimination against persons with disabilities; abuse and discrimination against homosexuals; and child labor in the informal sector.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

The law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation; however, there were reports of violence and discrimination directed against gays and lesbians.

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 at times reinforced these attitudes by publishing 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.

On May 18, following a celebration of the International Day Against Homophobia outside Pristina, four males, three wearing dresses, were driving home when they were stopped by the police and forced out of their car. The police took them to a nearby police station, where, after compelling them to show their identification, officers made discriminatory and derogatory comments to them. The KPS did not open a file on this case, and the victims refused to give statements out of fear of further discrimination.

The Center for Social Emancipation, a local NGO promoting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights, stated that there were a number of other cases of discrimination against homosexuals during the year but that victims refused to allow it to present their cases publicly out of fear of discrimination.

There were no updates in the March 2006 assault case involving unknown assailants who severely beat two men they observed engaging in homosexual sex. One of the victims later died of his injuries.

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

Seychelles

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There were no reports of discrimination based on sexual orientation or against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Sierra Leone

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

a. Freedom of Speech and Press

On May 24, parliament passed an amendment to the media code of practice that provides for the media to be guided by the following principles: democratization, popular participation, equity and access to information and communication, freedom of expression, pluralism and diversity, cultural promotion and preservation, responsibility and communication rights, and coherence with other social/sectorial policies. The media also signed a code of conduct on electoral reporting to refrain from publishing or broadcasting any matter likely to promote or incite racial, tribal, or regional hatred, bias or contempt, public disorder, or pose or become a threat to the security of the nation. The media also agreed to refrain from ridiculing, stigmatizing or demonizing individuals on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, language, sexual orientation, or physical or mental ability, and to guarantee equal coverage of women and men candidates.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

The Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS Act of 2007 prohibits discrimination based on actual, perceived, or suspected HIV status; however, persons with HIV/AIDS were stigmatized in society. There was no official discrimination against HIV/AIDS positive persons.

The law prohibits homosexual acts, and there was official and societal discrimination based on sexual orientation. There was societal discrimination based on sexual orientation, but homosexual concealed their sexual orientation.

Singapore

Section 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. Consensual homosexual sex is illegal but in practice was not prosecuted.

Slovak Republic

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There were no reports of violence based on sexual orientation or discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS. Prejudice and discrimination based on sexual orientation persisted.

Slovenia

Societal violence against women, trafficking in women and girls, discrimination and violence against Roma and homosexuals, and discrimination against former Yugoslav residents without legal status were also problems.

Section 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, societal discrimination was widespread, and isolated cases of violence against homosexuals occurred. Recent data on the problem's scope was not available. A 2004 Peace Institute poll 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. More recent polling data was not available.

On June 30, the seventh annual gay pride parade in Ljubljana took place with the support of local government officials, although there were reports that bystanders shouted homophobic slurs at participants, and antigay graffiti and stickers were seen in various locations around the city. Organizers reported satisfactory police presence during the parade. However, at a gay pride event that evening, four persons attacked a gay man who subsequently required hospitalization. Police responded immediately and reported the assault as a homophobic attack, but were unable to locate the attacker. Gay pride activists reported that, despite being notified of the attack, the Slovene Press Agency did not report the assault.

In July 2006 a law legalizing homosexual civil unions came into force. Gay activists, however, filed a complaint with the Constitutional Court in November 2006 claiming that the law does not afford the same social, family, and inheritance rights as those granted to heterosexual married couples. The court had not issued a ruling on the complaint by year's end.

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

Solomon Islands

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

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

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 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. Overcrowding, poor sanitary conditions, lack of access to health care, and inadequate food and water persisted in prisons throughout the country. Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and pneumonia were widespread. Abuse by guards was common. 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.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Women

Women and girls in IDP camps were especially vulnerable to sexual violence, contributing to the spread of HIV/AIDS. Criminal elements attacked and raped some IDPs fleeing from Mogadishu in March and April. In Somaliland there was an increase in gang rape in urban areas, primarily by youth gangs, members of police forces, and male students. Many of these cases occurred in poorer neighborhoods and among immigrants, refugee returnees, and rural displaced populations. Many cases were not reported.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Persons with HIV/AIDS continued to face discrimination and abuse in their local communities, and employers in all parts of the country. UNICEF reported that persons with HIV/AIDS were subjected to physical abuse, rejected by their families, and subjected to workplace discrimination and dismissal. Discriminatory acts also affected children whose parent(s) were HIV positive, hindering prevention efforts and access to services.

South Africa

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 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 JIP report, there were 1,315 prison deaths in 2006, 1,249 of them from natural causes, including HIV/AIDS. The remaining deaths were the result of suicides, assaults, or accidents.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

The constitution and law prohibit discrimination on the grounds of race, disability, ethnic or social origin, color, age, culture, language, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, or marital status. However, entrenched attitudes and practices, as well as limited resources, sometimes restricted the practical effect of these legal protections.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

The post‑apartheid constitution outlaws discrimination based on sexual orientation, and in December 2006 the country legalized same‑sex marriage. There was some societal violence and discrimination against homosexuals, but no reports of official violence or discrimination.

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 that families and communities abused HIV‑infected individuals.

Section 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.

Spain

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There was no major societal violence or discrimination based on sexual orientation or against persons with HIV/AIDS. Gay marriage is legal.

Sri Lanka

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

The law criminalizes homosexual activity but was not enforced. Some 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

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

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

Suriname

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

In practice several societal groups, including women, Maroons, Amerindians, persons with HIV/AIDS, and homosexuals, suffered various forms of discrimination.

Children

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

Trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of minors remained a problem. According to the Mamio Namen Project Foundation, an NGO working to assist HIV‑infected persons, increased sex tourism led to increased sexual exploitation of children, particularly young boys. Two NGOs provided shelters 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. An NGO working with HIV‑infected persons reported that law enforcement agencies and the fire department conducted HIV testing as part of their hiring procedures.

The Ministry of Health intensified its efforts in prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS, through a comprehensive outreach program involving local health care providers. The outreach program was successful in achieving its goal of voluntary testing of 90 percent of expectant mothers. Testing was also available through hospitals, Primary Health Services' clinics, family practitioners, and the Regional Health Services.

The military increased its HIV/AIDS awareness campaign among troops after it was announced that HIV/AIDS was the number one cause of death among defense force members.

Swaziland

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 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 abuse and torture by prison guards. Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civic Organizations reported that the use of physical punishment is accepted as part of the culture and not seen as a human rights issue. Rape between prisoners contributed to the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Women

The law criminalizes rape, including spousal rape; however, rape was common, and the government did not always enforce the law effectively. The RSPS Domestic Violence, Child Protection, and Sexual Offenses Unit handled approximately 350 rape cases. SWAGGA reports counseling 262 persons, mostly women, for sexual violence in 2006 and 2007. Rape was regarded by many men as a minor offense despite being against the law, and a sense of shame and helplessness often inhibited women from reporting such crimes, particularly when incest was involved. In the Roman-Dutch legal system, the acquittal rate for rape was high, and sentences were generally lenient. On April 16, however, the High Court sentenced a 46-year-old man to 20 years' imprisonment for raping a minor girl and infecting her with HIV/AIDS.

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 family practices 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.

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 can marry. 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 fiancees, some of whom were 16, set a poor example in a country with a 26 percent HIV/AIDS prevalence rate.

The law prohibits prostitution and child pornography, provides protection to children under 16 years of age from sexual exploitation, and sets the age of sexual consent at 16 years. There were reports that girls worked as prostitutes, including many children orphaned by HIV/AIDS. Children, including street children, were increasingly vulnerable to sexual exploitation.

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 donors, 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. For example, on May 5, the Times of Swaziland reported that an HIV positive couple was kicked out of their home by relatives after discovering the couple was infected with HIV. Education was slowly eroding this cultural stigma and prejudice.

Sweden

Reported human rights problems included isolated incidents of excessive police violence; prison overcrowding and lengthy pretrial detention; government surveillance and interference; isolated cases of anti-Islamic and anti-Semitic discrimination; violence against women and children; trafficking in women and children; and societal discrimination against foreign-born residents, Roma, and homosexuals.

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

a. Freedom of Speech and Press

The constitution provides for freedom of speech and of the press. While the government generally respected these rights it prohibited certain types of expressions considered to be hate speech. The law on hate speech prohibits threats or expressions of contempt for a group or member of a group based on race, color, national or ethnic origin, religious belief, or sexual orientation.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

The law prohibits discrimination based on race, gender, disability, language, or social status. Although the government effectively enforced these laws, violence against women and children, trafficking in persons, and discrimination against resident foreigners, Roma, and homosexuals remained areas in need of improvement.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There were isolated incidents of societal violence and discrimination against homosexuals. The ombudsman against discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation registered 47 reported cases during the year, compared with 45 cases in 2006. Additionally, the ombudsman's office initiated eight new discrimination investigations, compared to 11 new investigations in 2006. The government has a working group to promote equal rights for homosexuals, bisexuals, and transsexuals.

Switzerland

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There were no reports of societal violence or discrimination based on sexual orientation. However, there were occasional reports of discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS. On World Aids Day, the Swiss Aids Federation (SAF) launched an awareness campaign to combat prejudices and workplace discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS. In November the SAF started a billboard campaign to raise awareness of discrimination against children born with HIV/AIDS.

Syria

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There were no reports of violence or discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS. However, there was a belief among human rights activists that the extent of the problem was widely underreported. The law criminalized homosexuality.

Taiwan

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

a. Freedom of Speech and Press

In October 2006 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.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There were no laws prohibiting homosexual activities. According to homosexual rights activists, anti homosexual violence was rare, but societal discrimination against homosexuals and persons with HIV and AIDS was a problem.

Homosexual rights activists alleged that communities regularly used police pressure to shut down neighboring gay- and lesbian-friendly bars and bookstores. Homosexual rights activists and free speech advocates alleged that the police prejudicially applied obscenity laws to discourage the sale of gay pornography. Homosexual rights groups also complained that law enforcement agencies monitored Internet chat rooms and bulletin boards for sexually suggestive messages and prosecuted adult message-posters in violation of constitutional free speech guarantees.

In March the LY extended the financial, legal, and medical protections of the Family Violence Prevention and Service Act to gay and lesbian couples. The LY also passed legislation limiting artificial insemination and other infertility treatments to married couples. Doctors convicted of providing infertility treatments to unmarried persons face fines of up to $46,000 (NT$1.5 million). Homosexual rights activists alleged the restrictions unfairly discriminate against homosexuals, who are not permitted to marry under the law.

In May the LY passed legislation extending employment discrimination protection to homosexuals. Employers convicted of discriminating against jobseekers on the basis of birthplace, sexual orientation, or age face fines of up to $46,000 (NT$1.5 million).

In September a Kaohsiung court denied a lesbian couple's request to adopt a child, citing concerns that the child could develop gender-identity disorder and suffer ridicule from her peers.

On October 13, some 12,000 persons took part in the fifth annual homosexual rights rally, calling for society to respect the civil rights of Taiwan's estimated one million homosexuals.

The national health insurance system provides free screening and treatment, including antiretroviral therapy, for the estimated 14,000 HIV-infected nationals.

In May an AIDS charity reported that, in violation of the law, several social welfare departments and NGOs refused to provide care to babies born to HIV-positive mothers before the babies turned 18 months old, the age at which HIV tests are deemed reliable.

In June the LY amended the AIDS Prevention and Control Act (APCA) to allow foreign spouses infected with HIV to remain in Taiwan if they could show they had been infected by their spouse, or by medical treatment received while in Taiwan. Previously HIV infection could be grounds for summary deportation and denial of residency. The amended APCA, renamed the HIV Prevention and Patients' Rights Protection Act, also stipulates that HIV-infected citizens cannot be denied access to education, medical services, housing, or other necessities.

In August the High Court ruled that an HIV/AIDS hospice could remain in a Taipei apartment complex, despite neighbors' objections. The High Court ruling overturned a lower court decision ordering the hospice to relocate.

Tajikistan

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 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. Disease, particularly the spread of tuberculosis, and hunger were serious problems. Government officials reported that 36 prisoners died of tuberculosis or AIDS-related diseases.

Tanzania

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 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. 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. 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. 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.

Section 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 explicitly 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.

Children

The number of orphans in the country was estimated at more than two million, most of them orphaned by AIDS. In general orphans were absorbed into other families; those who were not absorbed generally qualified as extremely vulnerable individuals and received additional support and counseling. There were significant numbers of street children in both Dar es Salaam and Arusha. Street children had limited access to health and education services because they lacked a fixed address and money to purchase medicines, school uniforms, and books. They were also vulnerable to sexual abuse by older street children and homeless persons.

Trafficking in Persons

Children in low-income families were at significant risk of being trafficked, and girls were more vulnerable than boys since they were considered more of an economic burden on their families. The country was also experiencing a rapid rise 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. The Tanzania penal code makes it an offense to have carnal knowledge of any person of the same sex.

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. President Kikwete, his wife, and senior government officials publicized the fact that they got tested for HIV/AIDS. A network of lawyers, policymakers, and doctors continued lobbying efforts and other activities to deal with legal, ethical, and human rights problem associated with HIV/AIDS.

Section 6 Worker Rights

d. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment

Child labor remained a problem, compounded by HIV/AIDS. The latest data available, from 2000-01, indicated that 35.4 percent of children ages five to 14 were working. The law prohibits the exploitation of children in the workplace and prohibits forced or compulsory labor. Implementing regulations and institutions had been adopted, but there was not yet significant improvement in enforcement of child labor provisions.

Thailand

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Women

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.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Societal discrimination against persons with AIDS existed, most often in the form of a psychological stigma associated with rejection by family, friends, and the community, although intensive educational outreach efforts may have reduced this stigma in some communities. There were reports that some employers refused to hire persons who tested HIV-positive following employer-mandated blood screening.

NGOs complained that employers discriminated against male homosexuals after reviewing military documents that permanently labeled these individuals as having a mental disorder. According to the military, as many as 500 individuals every year were affected by the practice, which reportedly stopped in April. NGOs estimated that at least 10,000 individuals had been affected by the army regulations nationwide. The law did not permit transgendered individuals from changing their gender on identification documents.

Timor-Leste

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There were no reported cases of discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS. The law makes no reference to homosexual activity. Gays and lesbians were not highly visible in the country, which was predominantly rural, traditional, and religious. There were no reports or documented instances of discrimination.

Togo

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

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. There was also societal discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The penal code provides that a person who engages in a homosexual act may be punished by one to three years' imprisonment and fined $220 to $550 (100,000 to 500,000 CFA francs).

Tonga

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Sodomy is illegal, but there were no reports of prosecutions under this provision. Persons who engaged in openly homosexual behavior faced societal discrimination. There were no reports of discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Trinidad and Tobago

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

The Equal Opportunities Act does not specifically include gays and lesbians. However, there are no laws that discriminate based on sexual orientation. HIV/AIDS was viewed as a significant medical concern for the government and society. Any incidents of violence against this group were usually isolated events.

Kenny Mitchell, a self-identified homosexual, filed a lawsuit against the state for being arrested in December 2006 and detained at Couva Police Station for three days without being charged. He claimed that he was taunted by officers for being homosexual and was denied access to his diabetes medication.

Turkey

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

While the law does not explicitly discriminate against homosexuals, 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 as a basis for discrimination by employers. The law also states that "no association may be founded for purposes against law and morality." This article has been applied in attempts to shut down or limit the activities of NGOs working on gay and lesbian issues.

In July 2006 the Istanbul governor's office petitioned the Beyoglu chief public prosecutor to initiate a case to close the organization Lambda Istanbul, alleging that it violated the civil code by being an organization contrary to laws and morals. On March 13, the prosecutor rejected the complaint. The governor's office then applied to the Istanbul Penal Court, which accepted the complaint and held the first hearing on July 19. At year's end the case remained pending, and Lambda Istanbul was still operating.

On February 24, Bilgi University students established the country's first gay and lesbian university club. Approximately 15 parents lodged complaints with the university administration, and the Turkish Higher Education Council opened an inquiry into the university. Bilgi's dean of students, Professor Halit Kakinc, responded that closing down the club would violate human rights. The club was operating normally at the end of the year.

On February 28, a court acquitted Umut Guner, the editor of Kaos magazine, of charges of disseminating pornographic material. Guner was charged in connection with a July 2006 issue of the magazine, which authorities confiscated because of an article that explored societal conceptions of "intimacy" and "pornography" and contained a drawing featuring nude figures. The judge ruled there was no offense because the confiscated magazine was never put on sale. The court stated the magazine should have been sold in opaque packaging, in which adult publications are usually sold in the country to protect minors. Although subsequent issues of the magazine were not subject to any allegations of impropriety, members of Kaos GL reported that many distributors of the magazine kept it behind the counter or stopped selling it altogether.

Access to the Web sites of Kaos GL, Pembe Hayat, and Lambda Istanbul is blocked from all the computers on the campus of Anadolu University in Eskisehir.

On May 15, members of the groups Pembe Hayat and Kaos GL protested at the Esat Police Station in Ankara. Protestors claimed that transsexuals and transvestites had been unjustly taken into custody and faced mistreatment during their detention. Police officers on duty prevented the protestors from making a press statement during the demonstration.

Turkmenistan

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Homosexuality between men is illegal and punishable by up to two years in prison.

Tuvalu

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Societal discrimination against persons based on sexual orientation was not common and there were no reports of such discrimination. Persons with HIV/AIDS faced some societal discrimination. Local agents of foreign companies that hired seafarers from Tuvalu to work abroad barred persons with HIV/AIDS from employment. The government and NGOs cooperated to inform the public about HIV/AIDS and to counter discrimination.

Uganda

The government's human rights record remained poor. Although there were improvements in a few areas, serious problems remained, including unlawful killings by security forces; instances of torture and abuse of suspects by security forces; vigilante justice; harsh prison conditions; official impunity; arbitrary arrest; incommunicado and lengthy pretrial detention; restrictions on the right to a fair trial and on freedoms of speech, press, and association; some limits on freedom of religion; sexual abuse of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in camps; restrictions on opposition parties; electoral violence and irregularities; government corruption; violence and discrimination against women and children, including female genital mutilation (FGM) and sexual abuse of children; trafficking in persons; violence and discrimination against persons with disabilities and homosexuals; and forced labor, including by children.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 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 populations had high mortality rates due to overcrowding, malnutrition, diseases spread by unsanitary conditions, HIV/AIDS, and lack of medical care. The Prisons Service registered 136 deaths nationwide between January and June as a result of malaria, tuberculosis, dysentery, pneumonia, ulcers, hypoxia, electrolyte imbalance, respiratory failure, and HIV/AIDS. Local human rights activists reported that inmates at the prison were treated inhumanely.

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Freedom of Association

The constitution provides for freedom of association, and the government generally respected these rights.

The government announced it would initiate new regulations to provide a framework under which NGOs and churches would operate, following increased reports in July about their illegal activity, including extortion, fraud, trafficking in persons, and homosexual practices. The NGO Board said it would institute a survey to scrutinize the activities of 7,000 registered NGOs, including churches.

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

Government Corruption and Transparency

In April the government found that the permanent secretaries and project coordinator should be held responsible for the failure of the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, which suspended its $216 million (362 billion shillings) in grants in 2005. The cabinet recommended that the police investigate individuals named in a government commission investigative report, but at year's end, the government had not funded the investigation. The media reported that over $400,000 (700 million shillings) was recovered from individuals and institutions implicated in the misappropriation of the funds. A total of $1.4 million (2.3 billion shillings) could not be accounted for. The Global Fund resumed after stricter accounting mechanisms in the Finance Ministry were established in May.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

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.

Public resentment against homosexuality sparked demonstrations and significant public debate during the year. The government took a strong position against the practice. A local NGO, Sexual Minorities in Uganda, protested several members' alleged harassment by police for their vocal stand against sexual discrimination.

On September 10, the Red Pepper tabloid published a list of 40 first names of alleged homosexual men residing in Kampala. There were no confirmed reports of arrests, as originally reported, based on a similar list published by the same tabloid in August 2006.

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 communities.

Ukraine

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 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

HIV-infected prisoners were frequently not allowed to receive specialized medication. At a September 26 press conference, an HIV-positive man said that he was not able to obtain medication while detained at the Obolonskiy district temporary holding facility despite his repeated requests.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

The Constitution and the law prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, gender, and other grounds; however, the government did not enforce these provisions effectively, in part due to the continuing absence of an effective judicial system. Violence against women and children, gender-based discrimination, trafficking in persons, and harassment and discrimination against ethnic minorities and homosexuals, and a rise in xenophobic violence were problems.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

According to assessments by the World Health Organization and the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, the country remains one of the most HIV/AIDS affected in Europe with an estimated infection rate of 1.4 percent of the adult population. Persons with HIV/AIDS faced widespread discrimination and lack of access to treatment. Although the country's national AIDS law incorporates rights protections for persons with HIV/AIDS, implementation remained 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. In June then Minister of Education Stanislav Nikolayenko said in a televised statement said that HIV-positive children should not be allowed to attend school with healthy children, a statement he later modified in response to criticism.

Gay and lesbian rights organization Nash Mir (Our World) expressed concern about ongoing discrimination and characterized the attitudes of political and religious leaders as indifferent or even outright hostile towards the gay community. For example in February, Leonid Hrach, then chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Human Rights, National Minorities, and International Relations, publicly stated "the state must protect society against evil, from violence, including such evil as homosexuality." Other issues of concern included reports of ongoing police abuse of gays, threats by police to inform gays' families and employers of their lifestyle, and the lack of access to medical treatment and information for gay men on prevention of HIV/AIDS.

A gay student expelled from the Interregional Academy of Personnel Management (MAUP) in 2005 won a lawsuit against the school, which then offered him readmission.

United Arab Emirates

Section 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. Etisalat, the country's only Internet service provider, reported in July that 60 percent of the country's population was connected through Etisalat. A proxy server blocked material deemed inconsistent with the religious, cultural, political and moral values of the country, including dating and matrimonial sites; gay and lesbian sites; sites concerning the Baha'i Faith; sites originating in Israel; and sites explaining how to circumvent the proxy server.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Both civil law and Shari'a criminalize homosexual activity, and Islamic religious law holds the death penalty as punishment for individuals who engage in consensual homosexual activities. During the year there were reports that the government deported and sentenced to prison individuals for being openly homosexual.

Crossdressing, according to the law, is a punishable offence. On February 3, Dubai police called several men and women to be interrogated for crossdressing in public during a sports celebration parade.

On July 14, three citizen men gang-raped a 15-year-old Swiss-French boy. The authorities initially did not disclose that one of the men was hepatitis and HIV-positive and threatened to charge the victim with homosexual acts when he first reported the rape. The victim left the country before any criminal prosecution. Authorities sentenced on December 12 two of the men to 15 years in jail, and the third defendant, a 17-year-old, (prosecuted at Juvenile Court) awaited his sentence at year's end.

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.

Noncitizen residents infected with HIV were denied all health care benefits, quarantined, and deported.

United Kingdom

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

The law prohibits discrimination based on race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, or disability, and the government was committed to enforcing these prohibitions; however, some groups continued to experience societal discrimination.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

The law prohibits discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation; however, sporadic incidents of homophobic violence were reported. The law encourages judges to impose a greater sentence in assault cases where the victim's sexual orientation is a motive for the hostility, and many local police forces demonstrated an increasing awareness of the problem and trained officers to identify and moderate these attacks.

Uruguay

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There were limited reports of occasional nonviolent societal discrimination based on sexual orientation and against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Uzbekistan

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

a. Freedom of Speech and Press

On July 31, authorities closed the independent Odam Orasida, a popular Islamic-oriented weekly, citing alleged breaches of the media law. The weekly had discussed social issues such as infant mortality, homosexuality, and prostitution from a Muslim viewpoint, competing with government-supported newspapers or publications that limited their content to mostly entertainment and celebrity gossip. Since its launch in February, it increased its circulation in Tashkent to 24,000, higher than that of most official publications.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There was social stigma against HIV/AIDS patients. Persons 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. The MOI's Department of Corrections made greater efforts to raise awareness about the realities of HIV/AIDS in its training for prison staff. The government's restrictions on local NGOs left only a handful of functioning NGOs to assist and protect the rights of persons with HIV/AIDS.

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.

Vanuatu

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

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

Venezuela

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

According to the NGO Citizen Action Against AIDS, persons diagnosed with HIV/AIDS were frequently discriminated against at the workplace and were often refused access to government health services.

Vietnam

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

Freedom of Religion

A number of Catholic clergy reported a continued easing of government control over activities in certain dioceses during the year. In many places local government officials allowed the Church to conduct religious education classes (outside regular school hours) and charitable activities. The Ho Chi Minh City government continued to facilitate certain charitable activities of the Church in combating HIV/AIDS; however, other activities and permits for Catholic NGOs remained suspended.

Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Relations among the various religious communities generally continued to be amicable, and there were no known instances of societal discrimination or violence based on religion. There was some cooperation between the Catholic Church and the government-recognized Vietnam Buddhist Sangha on charitable activities such as the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Section 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 societal discrimination against such persons existed. There were credible reports that persons with HIV/AIDS lost jobs or suffered from discrimination in the workplace or in finding housing, although such reports decreased. In a few cases, children of persons with HIV/AIDS were barred from schools, despite its being against the law. With the assistance of foreign donors, the national government and provincial authorities took steps to treat, assist, and accommodate persons with HIV/AIDS; decrease societal stigma and discrimination; and increase dignity; however, overall consistency was lacking. Religious charities were sometimes permitted to operate in this area.

A homosexual community existed but was largely underground. There was low public awareness of the issue and little evidence of discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Yemen

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

There were no reports of discrimination based on sexual orientation or HIV/AIDS; however, these topics are socially sensitive and not discussed publicly.

Zambia

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 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 27 percent. Antiretroviral treatment (ART) was available to some prisoners with HIV/AIDS; however, poor nutrition often rendered ART ineffective.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Women

Due to traditional and cultural inhibitions, many cases of violence against women and children went unreported. The VSU reported that it was difficult to prosecute cases of abuse against women because victims often refused to cooperate, and forensic equipment needed to develop evidence was lacking. The government and NGOs expressed continued concern about violence against women, and in December, Human Rights Watch published a study of the impediments posed by gender-based violence in treating women with HIV/AIDS in the country. Women in the study said that fear of retribution or punishment from their husbands often impeded free access to HIV counseling and testing, as well as to treatment.

Children

There were 1.2 million children under the age of 15 who were orphaned, approximately 800,000 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 persons with HIV/AIDS; however, there was strong societal and employment discrimination against such individuals. Government officials made announcements discouraging such discrimination, but made little headway in changing entrenched attitudes.

Section 6 Worker Rights

d. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment

Approximately 795,000 children were in the work force, of which approximately 87 percent worked in the agricultural sector. During the year children who had lost both parents to HIV/AIDS continued to migrate to urban areas where they lived on the streets. In urban areas children commonly engaged in street vending.

Zimbabwe

The government continued to use repressive laws to suppress freedoms of speech, press, association, academic freedom, assembly, and movement. Government corruption remained widespread. High-ranking government officials made numerous public threats of violence against demonstrators. The following human rights violations also continued to occur: harassment of human rights and humanitarian nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and interference with their attempts to provide humanitarian assistance; violence and discrimination against women; trafficking of women and children; discrimination against persons with disabilities, ethnic minorities, homosexuals, and persons living with HIV/AIDS; harassment and interference with labor organizations critical of government policies; child labor; and forced labor, including of children.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 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 43 prisons were designed for a capacity of 16,000 prisoners but held approximately 25,000, according to media reports. Prison guards beat and abused prisoners. 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. According to the Solidarity Peace Trust and Institute for Justice and Reconciliation report Policing the State, "political arrestees are routinely and deliberately overcrowded, with 30 or more people being kept at times in cells intended for six," and those "who have been severely beaten by the police and have fractures and other injuries, are routinely denied any access to health care or medication for varying period of time."

Most prison deaths were attributed to harsh conditions and HIV/AIDS. In 2006 a local NGO estimated that 52 percent of the country's prisoners were HIV-positive. In February 2006 Zimbabwe Prisons Service commissioner General Paradzai Zimondi described the mortality rate in prisons as a "cause for concern." However, the government made no effort to improve prison conditions during the year.

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

In 2005 the government embarked on Operation Restore Order without prior notice, during which more than 700,000 persons lost their homes, their means of livelihood, or both through a program of forced evictions. 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 victims of its policy. Those who returned to rural areas often faced unemployment, food shortages, and other economic and social stresses. According to the Amnesty International report Zimbabwe: Between a Rock and a Hard Place–Women Human Rights Defenders at Risk, the operation resulted in the destruction of more than 32,500 small and micro-businesses across the country and created a loss of livelihood for more than 97,550 persons, most of whom were women. An estimated 300,000 children lost access to education as a result of displacement. The operation disrupted access to 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.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Women

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

Child abuse, including incest, infanticide, child abandonment, and rape continued to be serious problems during the year. The local NGO Girl Child Network reported cases of child sexual abuse had increased during the year. Anecdotal evidence suggested that a relative or someone who lived with the child was the most common abuser. Girl Child Network 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 when they were under 18 years of age. Child welfare NGOs reported that they occasionally saw evidence of underage marriages, particularly in isolated religious communities or among AIDS orphans.

There were an estimated 1.6 million HIV/AIDS orphans in 2006, 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.

Persons with Disabilities

According to the National Association of Societies for the Care of the Handicapped, persons with disabilities continued to be a forgotten and invisible group in society. For example, although an estimated 10 percent of citizens had disabilities, the sector was largely been marginalized from HIV/AIDS intervention programs. Except for a short period in the 1990s, instructions on the use of condoms have never been distributed in Braille for the visually impaired, and no efforts were made to advertise condoms in sign language for the deaf. Additionally, there was no HIV/AIDS information in Braille. The organization also reported that only 33 percent of children with disabilities had access to education.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Over a period of years, President Mugabe 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. In July 2006, the 2004 amended criminal code became effective, broadening 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."

The government had a national HIV/AIDS policy that prohibited 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.

Section 6 Worker Rights

a. The Right of Association

During the year the government openly targeted the ZCTU, declaring it aligned with the opposition MDC. Some pro-ZANU-PF employers declared their shops off-limits to the ZCTU. The government continued to use POSA to limit the ZCTU and its affiliates' ability to meet with and consult their constituencies, although the law does not apply to labor unions. For example, unions were prevented from holding meetings with their members, sometimes by the police and under threat of arrest. On July 27, police disrupted an HIV/AIDS workshop in Kadoma and arrested four ZCTU officials for holding an "illegal" meeting under POSA. Three of the arrestees were released without charge the same day. John Ngirazi, president of the Pulp and Paper Worker's Union, a ZCTU affiliate, was released the next day. Police failed to pursue charges against Ngirazi. The police continued to monitor ZCTU and other labor union meetings, despite court rulings against such action.

d. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment

Some employers did not pay wages to child domestic workers, believing they were assisting a child from a rural home by providing housing and board. In addition employers paid the parents for the child's work. Relatives often used AIDS-orphaned children as domestics without pay. There were also reports from NGOs that police rounded up street children and took them to work on farms without pay.

 

pageok