National Sexual Rights Law and Policy Database

Palau

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Adult sex work edit topic

Evaluation code: Selling and buying sexual services criminalized

Which approach is taken?edit question

Selling and buying sexual services criminalized

The Penal Code of the Republic of Palau, Chapter 48, Prostitution and Promoting Prostitution.

§4800. Prostitution. A person commits the offense of prostitution if the person: (1) Engages in, or agrees or offers to engage in, sexual conduct with another person for a fee; or (2) Pays, agrees to pay, or offers to pay a fee to another to engage in sexual conduct.

§4801. Promoting prostitution; definition of terms. In sections 4802 and 4803: (a) A person “advances prostitution” if, acting other than a prostititute or a patron of a prostitute, the person knowingly causes or aids a person to commit or engage in prostitution, procures of solicits patrons for prostitution, provides persons for prostitution purposes, permits premises to be regularly used for prostitution purposes, operates or assists in the operation of a house of prostitution or a prostitution enterprise, or engages in any other conduct designed to institute, aid, or facilitate an act or enterprise of prostitution. (b) A person “profits from prostitution” if acting other than as a prostitute receiving compensation for personally-rendered prostitution services, the person accepts or receives money or other property pursuant to an agreement or understanding with any person whereby the person participates or is to participate in the proceeds of prostitution activity.

§4804. Loitering for the purpose of engaging in or advancing prostitution. (b) Any person who remains or wanders about in a public place and repeatedly beckons to or repeatedly stops, or repeatedly attempts to stop, or repeatedly attempts to engage passers-by in conversation, or repeatedly stops or attempts to stop motor vehicles, or repeatedly interferes with the free passage of other persons for the purpose of committing the crime of prostitution shall be guilty of a petty misdemeanor.

§4805. Promoting travel for prostitution. (a) A person commits the offense of promoting travel for prostitution if the person knowingly sells or offers to sell travel services that include or facilitate travel for the purpose of engaging in what would be prostitution in the Republic of Palau.

If partial/total criminalization or an other punitive regulation, which acts are criminalized? How severe is the punishment?edit question

Buying and selling sex, promoting sex work, profiting from sex work, loitering for the purpose of engaging in sex work and promoting travel for sex work are criminalized with the possibility of jail time.

If not criminalized, is there regulation?edit question

N/A

Could customary and/or religious law apply?edit question

No CRL/No information

Adultery edit topic

Evaluation code: No

Is adultery a criminal offense?edit question

No

Amendments to the National Code in 2014 removed the provision regarding adultery (formerly §2805).

What is the burden of proof?edit question

N/A

How severe is the punishment?edit question

N/A

Could customary and/or religious law apply?edit question

No Customary and religious law / No information

Evaluation code: 14-15

Topic tags:

  • Close in age
  • Marriage

What is the age of sexual consent?edit question

14-15

The Penal Code of the Republic of Palau, Chapter 16, Sexual Offenses, §1602. Sexual assault in the first degree. (a) A person commits the offense of sexual assault in the first degree if: (2) The person knowingly engages in sexual penetration with another person who is less than fifteen years old.

Are there defenses/exceptions?edit question

Close in age; Marriage

The Penal Code of the Republic of Palau, Chapter 16, Sexual Offenses, §1602. Sexual assault in the first degree. (a) A person commits the offense of sexual assault in the first degree if: (2) The person knowingly engages in sexual penetration with another person who is less than fifteen years old. (3) The person knowingly engages in sexual penetration with a person who is at least fifteen years old but less than seventeen years old; provided that: (A) The person is not less than five years older than the minor; and (B) The person is not legally married to the minor…

Could customary and/or religious law apply?edit question

No CRL/No information

Evaluation code: 14-15

Topic tags:

  • Close in age
  • Marriage

What is the age of sexual consent?edit question

14-15

See Opposite sex age of consent section.

Are there defenses/exceptions?edit question

Close in age; Marriage

See Opposite sex age of consent section.

Could customary and/or religious law apply?edit question

No CRL/No information

Conscientious Objection edit topic

Evaluation code: No information

Is there a law or policy that permits health professionals to conscientiously object to the provision of any sexual and/or reproductive health service? If so, are there referrals or emergency service requirements?edit question

No information

Where is this provision found?edit question

No information

What are the grounds for refusal to provide an sexual and reproductive health service?edit question

No information

Could customary and/or religious law apply?edit question

No CRL/No information

Contraception edit topic

Evaluation code: Not prohibited

Topic tags:

  • Legally restricted
  • Customary and Religious Laws

Are any contraceptives prohibited in the country?edit question

Not prohibited

Are there legal restrictions on contraceptives? (e.g. third party authorization, sterilization, emergency contraception)

Are there legal restrictions on contraceptives?edit question

Legally restricted

See the following sections: Parental consent to oral contraceptives; Parental consent to IUDs; Parental consent to hormonal implants; Parental consent to emergency contraception and Parental consent to sterilization.

What contraceptives are available? Are there restrictions?edit question

The Palau government provides indirect support of contraceptives. It relies on foreign assistance heavily. (United Nations, Palau Abortion Policy).

The National Essential Medicines List in Palau does not include emergency contraceptives. (International Consortium for Emergency Contraception, Emergency Contraception in National Essential Medicines List, December 2013.)

Could customary and/or religious law apply?edit question

CRL applies

The majority of the churches in Palau are against birth control, contraceptive devices and condoms. (Bo Hill, Palau Senator wants a ban on contraception, Radio Australia, 15 February 2012.)

Crimes committed in the name of honour and passion edit topic

Evaluation code: Unclear

Topic tags:

  • Customary and Religious Laws

Does the law provide for a complete defense to or mitigation of sentences for gender-based violence offenses based on honour, passion, provocation, loss of control or other similar factors?edit question

Unclear

An affirmative defense to murder exists when “the defendant was…under the influence of extreme mental or emotional disturbance for which there is a reasonable explanation”, which reduces the offense to manslaughter. There is no indication whether this relates to cases of gender-based violence.

Palau Penal Code, §1301, Murder in the second degree: (a) Except as provided in section 1300, a person commits the offense of murder in the second degree if the person intentionally or knowingly causes the death of another person.

§1302, Manslaughter: (b) In the prosecution for murder or attempted murder in the first or second degree, it is an affirmative defense, which reduces the offense to manslaughter or attempted manslaughter, that the defendant was, at the time the defendant caused the death of the other person, under the influence of extreme mental or emotional disturbance for which there is a reasonable explanation. The reasonableness of the explanation shall be determined from the viewpoint of a reasonable person in the circumstances as the defendant believed them to be.

Could customary and/or religious law apply?edit question

CRL applies

There is a limitation of punishment for crimes committed in violation of native custom.

Palau National Code, § 108. Limitation of punishment for crimes in violation of native customs: The penalty for any act which is made a crime solely by generally respected native custom shall not exceed a fine of $100.00, or six months imprisonment, or both.

Marital rape edit topic

Evaluation code: Unclear

Is marital rape criminalized?edit question

Unclear

The Penal Code does not explicitly include or exclude marital rape.

The Penal Code of the Republic of Palau, Chapter 16, Sexual Offenses, §1602. Sexual assault in the first degree. (a) A person commits the offense of sexual assault in the first degree if: (1) The person knowingly subjects another person to an act of sexual penetration by strong compulsion; (2) The person knowingly engages in sexual penetration with another person who is less than fifteen years old; (3) The person knowingly engages in sexual penetration with a person who is at least fifteen years old but less than seventeen years old; provided that: (A) The person is not less than five years older than the minor; and (B) The person is not legally married to the minor…

What is the burden of proof? Is it the same or different from rape outside of marriage?edit question

There are limited resources provided to victims of sexual assault in Palau. Anecdotal evidence supports that instances of sex assault amongst Palauans is exponentially higher than reported. In most cases, victims are discouraged from reporting in order to "save face." There is also a lack of training for law enforcement and medical professionals. (Source: Validator)

See §3(b) above.

How severe is the punishment for marital rape? Is it the same or different from rape outside of marriage?edit question

N/A

Could customary and/or religious law apply?edit question

No CRL/No information

Sexuality education edit topic

Evaluation code: Mandated

Does the legal framework protect the right to education?edit question

Yes

Constitution of the Republic of Palau, Article VI, Responsibilities of the National Government. The national government shall take positive action to attain…provision of public education for citizens which shall be free and compulsory as prescribed by law.

The government provides twelve years of free public education.(Government of Palau with the assistance of UNICEF, A Situation Analysis of Children, Youth & Women, 2008.)

Is there a law or policy mandating the government (or its regulatory bodies) to implement sexuality education? Is there a law or policy prohibiting the government (or its regulatory bodies) from implementing sexuality education?edit question

Mandated

The National Youth Policy Implementation Strategy includes strengthening education awareness and strategies, i.e., separate discussions for boys and girls to encourage discussions in light of cultural sensitivity in regards to discussion of sex matters, for reproductive health, especially addressing issues of: (a) HIV/AIDS (i) Prevention measures, i.e. abstinence, condom use; pre/post test counseling: (ii) Treatment measures, i.e., availability of drug treatment, counseling, pt/family support services, stigma/discrimination reduction initiative. (b) Sexually Transmitted Infections (c) Unplanned Teen Pregnancy.

The CRC Committee has commented on adolescents’ lack of reproductive health information and education in Palau. (Palau, ¶ 48, U.N. Doc. CRC/C/15/Add.149 (2001))

Does the law mandate the provision of sexuality education to certain age groups? If so, which ones? Does the law prohibit the provision of sexuality education to certain age groups? If so, which ones?edit question

The Ministry of Education has developed a curriculum framework for health education for Grade 6 students in public schools, which includes HIV and STI information, and discusses teenage pregnancy.

Knowledge and Skills Goals

Grade 7 and Grades 9–12: List and describe the different parts of the human reproductive system and their functions

Grade 8 –12: Discuss the responsibilities and consequences of engaging in sexual relationships

Grade 8 –12: Identify and describe AIDS and other STDs and their related illnesses

Grade 8 –12: Describe the actions and behaviours of someone who knows how to practice ‘safe sex’

(UNESCO, Apia Office, Office for the Pacific States, Attitudinal Survey Report on the Delivery of HIV and Sexual Reproductive Health Education in School Settings in Palau, 2015.)

Anecdotal evidence supports that the sexuality education offered is very minimal and deemed taboo. (Source: Validator).

Does the law mandate the provision of education on certain topics? If so, which ones? Does the law prohibit the provision of education on certain topics? If so, which ones?edit question

The Comprehensive School Program health curriculum of the Republic of Palau includes information on HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases.(“Health Education,” Ministry of Education, Republic of Palau)

Palau’s HIV/AIDS strategies include: (1) education and outreach that promotes abstinence as the preferred preventive strategy or “safe sex” as an alternate. The increased emphasis on abstinence as the preferred method of prevention, as opposed to an earlier focus on “safe sex,” is driven by U.S. Federal funding program requirements and informed by the Youth Risk Behaviour Surveys.(Republic of Palau, ‘Plus 5’ Review of the 2002 Special Session on Children and World Fit for Children Plan of Action – Country Report.)

Palau has a Health Education curriculum framework for public schools which covers Grades 1–12. This framework is dated 1993 (developed 1988–1992) and is in need of review. The framework has 10 major topic areas. Aspects of HIV and SRH only appear in two topics: Growth and Development and Prevention and Control of Disease.(UNESCO, Apia Office, Office for the Pacific States, Attitudinal Survey Report on the Delivery of HIV and Sexual Reproductive Health Education in School Settings in Palau, 2015.)

Could customary and/or religious law apply?edit question

No CRL/No information

Third party authorization for sexual and reproductive health services - general edit topic

Evaluation code: Yes

Is third party authorization in order to access any sexual and reproductive health services?edit question

Yes

See the following sections: Parental consent to oral contraceptives; Parental consent to IUDs; Parental consent to hormonal implants; Parental consent to emergency contraception; Parental consent to abortion; Parental consent to sterilization; Parental consent to HIV testing; and Parental consent to STI testing.

Evaluation code: Yes

Topic tags:

  • Customary and Religious Laws

Do young people require the consent of their parents or legal guardians in order to access any sexual and reproductive health service?edit question

Yes

See the following sections: Parental consent to oral contraceptives; Parental consent to IUDs; Parental consent to hormonal implants; Parental consent to emergency contraception; Parental consent to abortion; Parental consent to sterilization; Parental consent to HIV testing; and Parental consent to STI testing.

Could customary and/or religious law apply?edit question

CRL applies

Customary Palauan rules call for children to obey their elders (olngesenges ra r'meklou ‘I chad). (Initial reports of States parties due in 1997 Addendum: Palau, Committee on the Rights of the Child, Oct. 21, 1998, ¶7, U.N. Doc. CRC/C/51/Add.3.)

Evaluation code: Parental consent required under 18

Topic tags:

  • Provider discretion

Do young people require the consent of their parents or legal guardians in order to access oral contraceptives?edit question

Parental consent required under 18

Services funded by U.S. Federal grants (e.g. family planning) require parent consent if a child is under 18. (Government of Palau with the assistance of UNICEF, A Situation Analysis of Children, Youth & Women, 2008.)

Are there exceptions?edit question

Provider discretion

Sexual and reproductive health services can be charged to a domestic account if, in the professional opinion of the attending physician or nurse, the provision of services without parental consent is in the best interests of the child. Minors receiving services will be counseled to involve parents in their future care decisions.(Government of Palau with the assistance of UNICEF, A Situation Analysis of Children, Youth & Women, 2008.)

Evaluation code: Parental consent required under 18

Topic tags:

  • Provider discretion

Do young people require the consent of their parents or legal guardians in order to access intrauterine devices?edit question

Parental consent required under 18

See Parental consent to oral contraceptives section.

Are there exceptions?edit question

Provider discretion

See Parental consent to oral contraceptives section.

Evaluation code: Parental consent required under 18

Topic tags:

  • Provider discretion

Do young people require the consent of their parents or legal guardians in order to access hormonal implants?edit question

Parental consent required under 18

See Parental consent to oral contraceptives section.

Are there exceptions?edit question

Provider discretion

See Parental consent to oral contraceptives section.

Evaluation code: Parental consent required under 18

Topic tags:

  • Provider discretion

Do young people require the consent of their parents or legal guardians in order to access emergency contraception?edit question

Parental consent required under 18

See Parental consent to oral contraceptives section.

Are there exceptions?edit question

Provider discretion

See Parental consent to oral contraceptives section.

Evaluation code: Parental consent required under 18

Topic tags:

  • Provider discretion
  • Legally restricted

Do young people require the consent of their parents or legal guardians in order to access abortion?edit question

Parental consent required under 18

In an effort to make reproductive health services more accessible, the CRC Committee has asked Palau to eliminate requirements for parental consent in order to access medical advice and services, including medical care, counseling, treatment and rehabilitation. (Palau, ¶ 48, U.N. Doc. CRC/C/15/Add.149 (2001))

Are there exceptions?edit question

Provider discretion; Legally restricted.

See Parental consent to oral contraceptives section.

The status of abortion is unclear. (United Nations, Palau Abortion Policy)

Palau National Code §201. Abortion. Defined; punishment. “Every person who shall unlawfully cause the miscarriage or premature delivery of a woman, with the intent to do so, shall be guilty of abortion and upon conviction thereof shall be imprisoned for a period of not more than five years.”

Evaluation code: Parental consent required under 18

Topic tags:

  • Provider discretion

Do young people require the consent of their parents or legal guardians in order to access sterilization?edit question

Parental consent required under 18

In an effort to make reproductive health services more accessible, the CRC Committee has asked Palau to eliminate requirements for parental consent in order to access medical advice and services, including medical care, counseling, treatment and rehabilitation. (Palau, ¶ 48, U.N. Doc. CRC/C/15/Add.149 (2001))

Are there exceptions?edit question

Provider discretion

See Parental consent to oral contraceptives section.

Evaluation code: Parental consent required under 18

Topic tags:

  • Provider discretion

Do young people require the consent of their parents or legal guardians in order to access HIV testing?edit question

Parental consent required under 18

See Parental consent to sterilization section.

Are there exceptions?edit question

Provider discretion

See Parental consent to sterilization section.

Evaluation code: Parental consent required under 18

Topic tags:

  • Provider discretion

Do young people require the consent of their parents or legal guardians in order to access sexually transmitted infections testing?edit question

Parental consent required under 18

See Parental consent to sterilization section.

Are there exceptions?edit question

Provider discretion

See Parental consent to sterilization section.

Evaluation code: No information

Is the consent of a spouse/partner/father of the child required in order to access any sexual and reproductive health service?edit question

No information

Could customary and/or religious law apply?edit question

No CRL/No information

Evaluation code: No information

Is the consent of a spouse, intimate partner or biological father/mother of the child required to access oral contraceptives?edit question

No information

Are there exceptions?edit question

N/A

Evaluation code: No information

Is the consent of a spouse, intimate partner or biological father/mother of the child required to access intrauterine devices?edit question

No information

Are there exceptions?edit question

N/A

Evaluation code: No information

Is the consent of a spouse, intimate partner or biological father/mother of the child required to access hormonal implants?edit question

No information

Are there exceptions?edit question

N/A

Evaluation code: No information

Is the consent of a spouse, intimate partner or biological father/mother of the child required to access emergency contraception?edit question

No information

Are there exceptions?edit question

N/A

Evaluation code: No information

Topic tags:

  • Legally restricted

Is the consent of a spouse, intimate partner or biological father/mother of the child required to access abortion?edit question

No information

Are there exceptions?edit question

Legally restricted

See Parental consent to abortion section.

Evaluation code: No information

Is the consent of a spouse, intimate partner or biological father/mother of the child required to access sterilization?edit question

No information

Are there exceptions?edit question

N/A

Evaluation code: Spousal/IP/parent of child consent required

Is the consent of a spouse, intimate partner or biological father/mother of the child required to access HIV testing?edit question

No information

Are there exceptions?edit question

N/A

Evaluation code: Spousal/IP/parent of child consent required

Is the consent of a spouse, intimate partner or biological father/mother of the child required to access sexually transmitted infections testing?edit question

No information

Are there exceptions?edit question

N/A