Women's groups under the WUTMI umbrella publicized women's issues and promoted a greater awareness of women's rights.
Preliminary results, which were reported in the press and discussed at a national WUTMI meeting, suggested that more than 80 percent of Marshallese women had been affected by some level of spousal abuse. The final survey report had not been published by year's end. Violence against women outside the family occurred, and women in urban centers risked assault if they went out alone after dark. There is no legal age of consent. The law criminalizes only "forced" rape and does not specifically cite sexual assault, domestic violence, or sexual abuse.
There was some national debate regarding criminalizing these acts; however, debate was hampered by cultural norms against discussion of these subjects. Several highly publicized rape cases were not prosecuted due to a combination of factors, including cultural pressures, reluctance to press charges against relatives, and police procedural errors. In September, the Nitijela made prostitution illegal; however, prostitution exists on the Majuro and Kwajalein Atolls.
Organized prostitution was run by and catered to foreigners, primarily the crews of foreign fishing vessels. There were no specific reports of violence against prostitutes, although the Government assumed that it existed. There is no law against sex tourism, and none has been reported. The inheritance of property and of traditional rank is matrilineal, with women occupying positions of importance in the traditional system.
No instances of unequal pay for equal work or of sex-related job discrimination were reported. However, while female workers were very prevalent in the private sector, many of them were in low-paying jobs with little hope of advancement. The Government showed commitment to children's welfare through its programs of health care and free education, but these have not been adequate to meet the needs of the country's sharply increasing population.
Education is free, compulsory, and universal through eighth grade. There was no difference between the attendance rates of boys and girls. It was estimated that up to 20 percent of elementary school-age children did not attend school on a regular basis. The Government did not enforce the compulsory education law. Admission to high school is by competitive examination; not all children qualified to attend.
The Government's enrollment report indicated that only two-thirds of those completing eighth grade attended high school.
Of that number, 50 percent--or one-third of those who started elementary school--eventually graduated. There were only three public high schools in the country: One each in Majuro, Jaluit and Wotje. The Government provided subsidized essential medical services for all citizens, including children. Child abuse and neglect are criminal offenses; however, public awareness of children's rights remained low. The law requires teachers, caregivers, and other persons to report instances of child abuse and exempts them from civil or criminal liability as a consequence of making such a report.
However, there were few reports and few prosecutions. Child abuse and neglect were considered to be on the increase. During the year, four cases of sexual assault against minors aged 7 to 14 were reported to the Attorney General. At year's end, prosecutions were pending in three cases; one case was withdrawn because the parents did not want their child to testify.
In July, two young men who sexually assaulted an infant in were sentenced to 10 years in prison for child abuse and sodomy. There was no apparent discrimination against persons with disabilities in employment, education, or the provision of other state services; however, there were no building codes and no legislation mandating access for persons with disabilities.
There were approximately 50 persons who could be medically defined as psychotic. When these individuals demonstrated dangerous behavior, they were imprisoned and visited by a doctor. The Constitution provides for the right of free association in general, and the Government interpreted this right as allowing the existence of labor unions, although none have been formed to date. There is no legislation concerning collective bargaining or trade union organization.
However, there were no impediments to the organization of trade unions or to collective bargaining. Wages in the cash economy were determined by market factors in accordance with the minimum wage and other laws. The Constitution does not provide for the right to strike, and the Government has not addressed this issue. There were no strikes during the year. The Constitution prohibits involuntary servitude, and there was no evidence of its practice among citizens of the country. Officials suspected that some forced or bonded labor existed among the illegal alien population; however, they were unable to uncover specific cases during the year.
The law does not specifically prohibit forced and bonded labor by children; however, such practices were not known to occur. Children typically were not employed in the wage economy, but some assisted their families in fishing, agriculture, and other small-scale domestic enterprises. There is no law or regulation setting a minimum age for employment of children.
That minimum wage remained in effect for plant employees during the year. The minimum wage was not adequate to maintain a decent standard of living for a worker and family. However, in the subsistence economy, extended families were expected to help less fortunate members, and there were often several wage earners to support each family. The Ministry of Resources and Development oversees minimum wage regulations, and its oversight was regarded as adequate. Foreign employees and Marshallese trainees of private employers who had invested in or established a business in the country were exempt from minimum wage requirements.
This exemption did not affect a significant segment of the workforce. There is no legislation concerning maximum hours of work or occupational safety and health.
On Sunday, most businesses were closed, and persons generally refrained from working. A government labor office makes recommendations to the Nitijela on working conditions, such as the minimum wage, legal working hours and overtime payments, and occupational health and safety standards in accordance with ILO conventions. The office periodically convenes board meetings that are open to the public.
No legislation specifically gives workers the right to remove themselves from situations that endanger their health or safety without jeopardy to their continued employment, and no legislation protects workers who file complaints about such conditions. The law does not prohibit specifically trafficking in persons; however, there were no reports that persons were trafficked to, from, or within the country during the year.
A series of articles in the U. To address such abusive recruitment practices, December revisions to the Compact of Free Association included a requirement that labor recruiters register with the Government and disclose the terms and conditions of the employment offered. Offered as a free service to readers, PIR provides an edited digest of news, commentary and analysis from across the Pacific Islands region, Monday - Friday.
Phone: Jump to Navigation. Disappearance There were no reports of politically motivated disappearances. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment The Constitution forbids such practices, and there were no reports that government officials employed them. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile The Constitution prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention, and the Government generally observed these prohibitions.
Denial of Fair Public Trial The Constitution provides for an independent judiciary, and the Government generally respected this provision in practice. There were no reports of political prisoners. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence The Constitution prohibits such actions, and the Government generally respected these prohibitions in practice.
Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: a. Freedom of Speech and Press The Constitution provides for freedom of speech and of the press, and the Government generally respected these rights in practice. The Government did not restrict Internet access. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association The Constitution provides for freedom of assembly and association, and the Government generally respected these rights in practice. Freedom of Religion The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the Government generally respected this right in practice.
For more detailed information, see the International Religious Freedom Report.
Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation The Constitution provides for these rights, and the Government generally respected them in practice. Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens to Change Their Government The Constitution provides citizens with the right to change their government peacefully, and citizens exercised this right in practice through periodic, free, and fair elections held on the basis of universal suffrage. Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and Nongovernmental Investigations of Alleged Violations of Human Rights Human rights groups generally operated without government restriction, but only a few local groups have been formed.
Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Disability, Language, or Social Status The Constitution prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, place of birth, family status or descent, and the Government observed these provisions. Women Spousal abuse was common. Sexual harassment is not prohibited by law and was not considered a serious problem. Children The Government showed commitment to children's welfare through its programs of health care and free education, but these have not been adequate to meet the needs of the country's sharply increasing population.
Persons with Disabilities There was no apparent discrimination against persons with disabilities in employment, education, or the provision of other state services; however, there were no building codes and no legislation mandating access for persons with disabilities. There were no reports of discrimination against persons with mental disabilities. Section 6 Worker Rights a. The Right of Association The Constitution provides for the right of free association in general, and the Government interpreted this right as allowing the existence of labor unions, although none have been formed to date.
The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively There is no legislation concerning collective bargaining or trade union organization. There are no export processing zones. Prohibition of Forced or Bonded Labor The Constitution prohibits involuntary servitude, and there was no evidence of its practice among citizens of the country. Status of Child Labor Practices and Minimum Age for Employment Children typically were not employed in the wage economy, but some assisted their families in fishing, agriculture, and other small-scale domestic enterprises.
The law protects foreign workers in the same manner as citizens. Trafficking in Persons The law does not prohibit specifically trafficking in persons; however, there were no reports that persons were trafficked to, from, or within the country during the year. Rate this article:.
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Marshall Islands The Majuro and Ebeye jail authorities routinely held drunk prisoners. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Marshall Islands. April 20 Authorities did not hold women with men in the Majuro jail.
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