Comparative law and justice/Gabon

From Wikiversity
Jump to: navigation, search

Part of the Comparative law and justice Wikiversity Project

Scale of justice 2 new.jpeg Subject classification: this is a comparative law and justice project resource .

<Annedickson 17:03, 16 September 2010 (UTC)>


Basic Information[edit]

All information in the Basic Information section is taken from: [1] [2]


Official Country Name: The Gabonese Republic

Capital: Libreville

Topographic map of Gabon-fr.svg Flag of Gabon.svg

Geographical Data

Gabon is located in Western Africa

Climate: Tropical, hot, humid

Landscape: Coastal plains, hills, and savannas to the east and south

Area: 267,667 square kilometers/ 103,347 square miles

Borders: The Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, and the Atlantic Ocean

Capital City: Libreville

Significant Landmark: Mont Iboundji

Significant Environmental Issues: Deforestation and poaching


Population

1.5 million

% of Population under 14 years : 42%

% of Population between 15 and 64 years: 54%

% of Population over 65 years: 3.9%

Growth Rate: 1.9%

Males: Approximately 752,764

Females: Approximately 762,349


People

Ethnic Groups: Bantu groups, the largest of which include the Fang, Bapoundou, Nzebi, and Obamba. There are about 154,000 French people living in Gabon and 11,000 people who identify with dual nationality.

Languages: French, Fang, Myene, Nzebi, Bapoundou, Eschira, Bandjabi.

Official Language: French

Main Religions: 55% - 75% practice Christianity, less than 1% practice Islam, and the remainder practice animist religions.

Brief History[edit]

The area that is now Gabon was first populated by people of the Bantu tribes who migrated from areas that are now called Cameroon and eastern Nigeria. The first Europeans to reach this area were the Portuguese, in around 1470, and were followed over the next few hundred years by the Dutch, the English and the French. It was the French who involved the area in the Transatlantic Slave Trade until 1815; almost 40 years later, the French signed a treaty with Denis, the King whose power extended all along the coast and into the interior, making Gabon part of France's territory - in return, the Gabonese received French protection from the slave trade (which France by now had abolished). After having been explored by Europeans for a number of years, Gabon eventually became in 1910 a French colony, part of French Equatorial Africa.

The remained a French colony until 1958, when Gabon was voted in a referendum to become an autonomous republic within the French community. Under a new government led by Leon Mba, Gabon became officially independent again in 1960, with Mba voted as president in February 1961. Due to tension and opposing politics with Mba, his foreign minister Jean-Hilaire Aubame led a successful coup d'etat against the Mba government on February 18, 1964. However, only one day later, Mba was reinstated into office.

After Mba's death in 1967, he was succeeded by his Vice President, Albert-Bernard Bongo (whose name changed to Omar in 1973 due to his conversion to Islam), who continued to be reelected, sometimes without opposition, until his death. Gabon's political party system underwent changes and others ran for president in various parties, however, Bongo continued to be reelected, despite many rival's creation of separate political parties or governments. Gabon's resources were heavily exploited, and Gabon became part of OPEC and set aside 10% of the country's area as part of the Congo Basin Initiative.[3]

Omar Bongo died in 2009 after having served what was then the longest presidential term Africa had seen since the nations declared independence, and was succeeded by his son Ali-Ben Bongo, through an election process that was denounced by opposition leaders (who said it was rigged to keep the government in the Bongo family) but declared fair by Gabon's Constitutional Court.

While Gabon enjoys having a larger income per capita than many African nations due to its rich resources, one of which is oil, most of the Gabonese people still live in poverty, and there is a large income gap between the wealthy and the poor. Gabon has also been one of the most stable African nations, with just one coup d'etat that was resolved in one day, however, there are always speculations of corruption from the Bongo family, and government-influenced newspaper closures.[4]


Economic Development, Health, and Education[edit]

Economic Information:

Monetary Unit: CFA - Communaute Financiere Africaine

GDP: $21.16 billion

GDP Growth Rate: -1.1%

GDP Per Capita: $14,000

Per Capita Income: $7,240

Industries: Petroleum, natural gas, manganese, niobium, uranium, gold, timber, iron ore, and hydrapower

Exports: Crude oil, timber, manganese, uranium

Export countries: Russia, China, the United States, and France

Imports: Machinery, foodstuffs, chemicals and construction materials

Import countries: France, the United States, China, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Cameroon.

Unemployment Rate: 21%


Health Statistics:

Life Expectancy: Males = 59 years; Females = 62 years

Birth Rate: 33.57 births per 1000

Infant Mortality: 51.78 out of every 1,000 live births

HIV/AIDS prevalence: 5.9%

Threatening Diseases: Malaria, diarrhea, Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Schistomiasis, rabies, Chikungunya.


Education Statistics:

Literacy Rates: Males = 73.7%; Females = 53.3%; Total Population = 63.2%

Universities: The capital of Libreville hosts seven universities, while Franceville has three and Owendo has one, giving Gabon a total of 11 universities.[5]

Language of Instruction: French


All information (unless otherwise cited) in the Economic Development, Health and Education section is taken from: [6] [7]

Governance[edit]

Type of Government:

Gabon is a democratic republic, but a semi-presidential republic. There is a president, a Prime Minister, a Parliament and other branches of government. That they are a democracy implies people vote to elect the President, yet some Presidents have acceded into power.[8]


Organization of Government:

President: Ali ben Bongo Ondimba, Chief of State Prime Minister: Paul Biyoghe Mba, Head of Government Cabinet: Compromised of a Council of Ministers that the Prime Minister appoints, with input from the President[9]

The Government is broken up into three branches: the Executive (the President), the Legislative, and the Judicial. The Legislative Branch is the Parliament, which is comprised of a National Assemply and a Senate. The Judicial branch is comprised of many different courts: The Constitutional Court, Court of Cassation, Counsil of State, Court of Accounts, Court of Appeals, Provincial Court, High Court, and other sub-courts.[10]


Constitution:

The current Gabonese constitution was adopted on the 14th of March, 1991.[11]

The link to the Constitution, written in French (the official language of Gabon): http://democratie.francophonie.org/IMG/pdf/Gabon.pdf A link to a Google-translated version of the Constituion: http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=fr&u=http://democratie.francophonie.org/IMG/pdf/Gabon.pdf&ei=26O4TKrGEoKisQOxgp3mDg&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=8&sqi=2&ved=0CD8Q7gEwBw&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dgabon%2Bconstitution%26hl%3Den%26prmd%3Div

The constitution explains which branch of the government has which rights, and what powers they have as three separate entities. [12]


Elections[edit]

History:

After gaining independence on 17 August 1960 from France, after having been a French colony, the first president, Leon Mba, was acceded in 1961. After his death in 1967, Mba was succeeded by Albert Benjamin Bongo. In 1973, 1979, and 1986 El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba (as Albert Benjamin Bongo became known after his conversion to Islam in 1973 and taking of a Muslim name [13]) was re-elected into office, through a single-party system. In 1990 there was a National Conferene that established am multi-party system, allowed heads of multiple parties to run for office. However, in 1993, 1998 and 2005, El Hadj Omar Bongo was elected again each time, even with the addition of multiple parties and thus multiple candidates.[14].

After Omar Bongo's death in 2009, the President of the Senate, Rose Francine Rogombe became interim president, according to the consitutional amendment that explains what to do in case of an empty office.[15] In AUgust of 2009, new elections were held that elected the former president's son, Ali Ben Bongo Ondimba into office as the new president with 41.7% of the popular vote.[16]

Currently Gabon's Presidents are elected by popular vote, and whoever receives the highest percentage of votes is elected President, out of the handful of candidates running for each of their parties.[17]

Gabon has universal suffrage for all people over the age of 21 years.[18]

Judicial Review[edit]

The Judicial Branch of the Gabonese government is comprised of many courts with different responsibilities. The Judicial branch is independent of the Legislative and Executive branches. The following is a list of the courts and their basic responsibilities.


Constitutional Court: the highest court that "dispens[es] justice on behalf of the Gabonese people."[19]

Court of Cassation: Decides on cases involving social, criminal, commercial and civil cases. It is the highest court in which to do so.

Council of State: The Judicial branch that deals with administrative issues, it is the highest court to deal with these kinds of problems.

Court of Accounts: This court deals with any problems or potential issues and reviews of public finance, such as checking and auditing accounts and accountants, and keeps a communication open with the legislative and executive branches.[20]


There is also a Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, which handles any judicial reviews of the legislative acts.[21]


Legal System Overview

The legal system of Gabon is based off of French civil law and their own customary laws.[22] Civil law is a family of law that relies heavily on the codification and publication of laws, making them legible and accessible. Not much emphasis is based on precedent or judicial review, and trials are of an inquisitorial nature in civil law families. That Gabon subscribes to civil law that is based off the of French system, Gabon must have these elements; however, it also has its own customary laws to consider.[23] These are based on the values and traditions of the Gabonese people (whose history far pre-dates any interference of the French) and are probably only a small part of the system as a whole.

Courts and Criminal Law[edit]

In Gabon, there are many levels and types of courts. First there are the lower courts, where initially the cases are brought. Next is the appeals court, and lastly is one of the many Supreme Courts. There are Supreme Courts for all different types of crimes or situations, and all the Supreme Courts together make up the judiciary branch of government. The Supreme Courts are the Judicial, the Administrative, The Accounting, Constitutional and of State Security. Le Cour de Cassation (The Judicial Supreme Court) is the highest level of court that deals with the cases received from the Appeals Courts that include criminal, civil, social and commercial situations, and there is a chamber for each of the previous categories. Le Conseil d'Etat (The Administrative Supreme Court) is essentially the body for judicial review, either the review of the actions of the executive branch in accordance with the law, or, with a special advisory section, while it is still being drafted to ensure the legality before the bill is signed. Le Cour des Comptes (The Accounting Court) is to audit or monitor the government finances and maintain or control situations that arise from the audits. The Constitutional Court is made up of nine judges who are selected by the executive branches, is to maintain the constitutionality of the laws before they are passed, and also to make sure they are constitutional in practice. The Court of State Security - This court is never in use unless the President, Prime Minister, or other high executive power has violated oaths or rights, has been treasonous, or is in place to be impeached. If none of these situations are going on, this court does not exist.[24]


While there is no information specifically for Gabon as far as how lawsuits are carried out, their court systems and legal systems are based off of French Civil Law, which leads investigatory trials. If Gabon does indeed model their trials off of the French version, their trials neither presume guilt or innocence but are designed to find that out, in the ultimate truth of the case. In France, the accused has the opportunity to speak but is not forced, although his or her silence may be interpreted by the judges or jury however they wish.[25] In French and other civil law courts, juries are only present in trial court levels - they may become involved and ask questions, and their responsibility as jurors is to determine the accused's guilt or innocence, not to sentence.[26]


Punishment[edit]

Gabon's main punishments are in the form of imprisonment and fines. Arbitrary arrest and detention are prohibited by the constitution, and the police have 48 hours to charge the suspect before they technically cannot hold him or her any longer. Unfortunately, this is often overlooked and people are often detained for far longer than the 48 hours without being charged. Detainees have a constitutional right to a quick trial, and their pre-trial time in jail is limited. They are allowed to be detained before their trial for 6 months if they have supposedly committed a misdemeanor, or for up to one year for a felony - however, the presiding judge can extend this, and often does. It is estimated by the Attorney General's Office that around 40% of the people that make up the Gabonese prisoners are actually there awaiting trial, not serving out a sentence.[27] Arbitrary arrest, detention and torture are technically illegal, although all are commonly used. Corruption and inefficiency are problems of the judiciary and police forces.[28]


There is a lack of information available for the general prison sentences and fines given to prisoners. For example, there are no public sentencing guidelines that state how long a person will be sentenced to or how much money they will have to pay in compensation, in general, for certain crimes such as murder, rape, or theft. This could be for the same reason that there are very few public crime statistics for the country - record keeping inadequacies, either due to lack of technology or a feeling that the crime rates and imprisonment statistics do not need to be publicized.


Arbitrary arrest, detention and torture are technically illegal, although all are commonly used. Corruption and inefficiency are problems of the judiciary and police forces.


Capital Punishment:

Capital punishment (i.e. the death penalty) was abolished in 2007, per request of the the President at the time, Omar Bongo Ondimba. The reasoning for the abolishment is that it was about time, considering they hadn't used the death penalty in the last twenty years.[29] Forced exile is another punishment that is not allowed, and does not occur.[30]


Human Trafficking:

Human Trafficking: Gabon is listed as a Tier 2 country, meaning it has preventative and prosecuting policies that are effective but considered inadequate. The crime of child trafficking has a punishment of five to fifteen years and a $20,000 to $40,000 fine. Forced labor is punished by one to six months in jail and a $700 to $1400 fine. Forced prostitution is punished by two to ten years in prison.[31]


Prisons:

Conditions in Gabonese prisoners are very inadequate, to the point of being called "life-threatening." There is very poor sanitation and ventilation. There is hardly any medical care for prisoners. Prisoners also have a small and poor supply of food. Men, women, and juveniles are all kept separately, and pre-trail detainees are kept separate from those serving out their sentences post-trial. While the government does not get in the way of visits by human rights monitors for prisons, as of 2001 there were no recorded visits by a monitor for prisoner's rights. [32] Gabonese prisons are very substandard, dangerously so, and "decent food, basic sanitation, legal counsel, family members, and appropriate medical care" are often flat-out denied.[33]

Legal Personnel[edit]

The Gabonese follow a French Civil Law system. Therefore their legal personnel are comprised of advocates (defense attorneys, prosecutors, etc.), and the magistrate (the trial judges and investigating judges).[34] Other legal professionals include the sheriff bailiffs present at the trials, the corporate legal advisors, and the public notaries. All of the previously mentioned legal professions are obtained after an education process that begins with high performance in the high school level. At university, one must obtain what is known in Gabon as the First Degree. For students going into legal professions, the first degree is called the License en Droit (which is roughly translated as a License of Law), which is completed after three years. One must obtain this License en Droit to be accepted into professional schools, where they can get their Maitrise (Masters), DEA or Doctorate. All legal professionals currently practices are the decision-makers for new members to their profession, and are essentially recruiters. Those looking to be career judges, however, must also complete two years of training and an internship at the National School of the Magistracy.[35]


Although there is no information available that states responsibilities specific to Gabon, the responsibilities of defense attorneys and prosecutors in civil law countries is essentially to defend the suspect or prove his/her guilt (respectively). Judges in civil law courts lead the courtrooms, and their responsibilities are to supervise the proceedings and ask questions to continue the discussion - in civil law, judges mainly continue the investigatory process to determine guilt or innocence. They are also responsible for making sure that the rights of the accused are protected, and also for determining how exactly the investigation will be conducted, and which investigatory methods and tools are allowed int he proceedings.[36]


Law Enforcement[edit]

Basic Information:

Gabon does not have much information found on reliable sources regarding the specific makeup and structure of its military or police. The military has police sections, but emphasis is placed on the military's and police's internal work, and not on offensive actions. Therefore, a potential reason for the lack of public information is that unless you are a Gabonese adult wishing to join the military or police forces, there has not been a need to make this information publicly available.


Military:

Gabon's military consists of 8,000 members. The military is broken up into the sections of army, navy, air force, gendarmerie, and national police. There are also French troops continuously placed there. In addition, a 1,500 member section of the military is strictly for Presidential guarding. The military of Gabon is aimed towards defense of the nation, and not offense; essentially, the military is for the protection and safety of Gabon internally and in case of a foreign attack, but its aim is not to take an offensive approach.[37] There is not draft or compulsory service in the military, and one has to be 20 years old in order to join.[38]


From this information, one can conclude that Gabon's law enforcement falls under the same category as its former colonial power, France; they must follow a multiple coordinated (meaning many sectors that work together) and centralized (meaning that all sections of police forces are Gabonese, not particular to a city or province) law enforcement system. Because they have police forces as part of their military, they must have a State/Police Model of policing, where there is still some separation of Police and Military but they work closely together. While the police forces are technically part of the military, the military is not the police or vice versa; because of the many specific sections of the military and that the gendarmerie and the national police are separate entities, one concludes that each section, the military branches and the police forces, have their own independent purposes.


International Law Enforcement:

Gabon is a member of INTERPOL, the largest international police organization.[39]. In October 2010, Gabon, along with the other member countries of the Central African Police Chiefs Committee, met with INTERPOL to continue working on peacekeeping. The annual conference is to continue to search for and improve solutions for fighting crime nationally, regionally, and internationally.[40].

Crime Rates and Public Opinion[edit]

There is very little information available in reference to the crime rates in Gabon. Searches throughout the data charts at international organization sites resulted in almost no information. Not only are there no sources immediately available for information regarding crime, there are also no sources found about the opinions or feelings the public may have towards the extent of crime in their country.


However, while none of the information supplied is hard evidence or data, there are travel sites that allude to the crime prevalence in Gabon, particularly the cities. It seems that the most common form of crime is petty theft, robbery, and burglary, while assault between locals is also common; assault on foreigners is far less common. While the only violent crime mentioned as having a prevalence is assault amongst locals, sometimes politics can create a public discontent which have led to violent protests in the past. [41] Sexual assaults have not been reported recently, although theft and armed robbery have been. Other forms of crime that are noted are non-violent in nature, such as credit card fraud and scamming. Travelers to Gabon should keep their ATM and credit card usages to a minimum to avoid such crimes. Carjacking is also alluded to as being of some prevalence, although petty theft is more common. Other crimes briefly mentioned are official corruption, bribery, and the selling of illegally obtained goods. [42] Travelers and tourists are advised to keep valuables away in a safe place and essentially not to display any wealth. Other safety measures include staying away from unfamiliar areas, especially after dark, and to use accommodations that have decent safety standards. [43] The travelers' information websites that supply this information are basing their findings on crimes against foreigners.


Gabon's police reporting is often slow, and bribes are apparently asked for occasionally as there is a certain level of corruption amongst officials.[44] Police response is also slow, investigations are often closed and remain that way, and prosecuting someone for a crime is a slow process. Bribery is often asked for by the police at police checkpoints or roadblocks (travelers are warned not to pay the bribes). [45].


Gabon's law system is based off the of French civil law and customary law. There is a Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, which reviews all legislature. They have a constitution, in effect since March of 1991, and an executive branch (which includes a President and a Prime Minister along with their cabinet), legislative branch and judicial branch. Their judicial branch has a Supreme Court, a Constitutional Court, Courts of Appeals, Court of State Security, and County Courts. [46]

Gabon following a legal system of the French civil law and customary law is due to their status as a former colony of France. They use the French legal system but include customary laws which are Gabonese, and not influenced from the French.

Rights[edit]

Family Law[edit]

Marriage in Gabon

Polygamy is a legal practice in Gabon, although according to the UN Human Rights Committee should be heading towards and is being pushed to abolishment. At the time of marriage, the couple has to legally announce and declare whether they are going to be a monogamous or polygamous couple. However, the laws only allow men to have more than one wife, and are limited to four wives. Because men are allowed multiple wives and women are not allowed multiple husbands, the UNHRC believes that the practice should be abolished because it violates equal rights for women. Marriage is also only between men and women.[47]

It is not illegal to marry persons of differing religions in Gabon, which also means people can marry across ethnic lines. Foreign women marrying Gabonese men can declare their own nationality, they do not necessarily have to become Gabonese. Girls are usually rather young when they are married and begin having children young as well - while contraception is legal, information about it is not widespread. There is a lower percentage of girls in school in their late teen years than boys in their late teens.[48]

Women's rights within in a marriage used to be very restricted. While more liberal today, there are still some customary or legal guidelines placed on a Gabonese marriage. According to a Civil Code, a wife must obey her husband; but, according to custom, a husband is responsible for protecting his wife. Also, all forced marriages and marriages between people considered "early" (i.e., the two in question were two young) are all illegal.[49]


Divorce in Gabon

Divorce is legal in Gabon. For monogamous married couples, there is a common property law that says, when the couple decides to divorce, all assets must be split evenly between the two people in the marriage. However, polygamous marriages leave the women with a severe decrease in property if the wives are to leave their husband. The wife who leaves is not entitled to property from the marriage, which is another reason the UNHRC wishes to push for an abolishment of polygamy, as it undervalues the rights of women in divorce proceedings.[50] Either spouse can file for divorce - there are no gender restrictions as to who can initiate divorce proceedings.[51]

Gabon formerly had a 'paternal authority' about who would receive the children in case of divorce, but now the placement of children is different. If the children are under the age of five years old, they automatically go to the mother. Children over the age of five are placed with the parent who can best "exercise the right of parental authority," although guidelines or rules as to how that characteristic is determined were not specified.[52]


Inheritance Rights

According to the report done by the UNHRC on Gabonese laws and their violations or support of equal rights, inheritance laws are written but are not always followed (and, when that happens, the situation is not often exposed). Traditional customs differ with the actual laws, and a balance is hard to reach. Technically, if a woman's husband dies before her, she is entitled to all his property and financial assets. However, the deceased husband's family usually contests this, although what actually becomes of such a disagreement is not clear. Also, dowries (a payment the bride's family makes to the groom's family at the time of the wedding, essentially a compensation for the marriage) were technically abolished in 1961, but are still widely practiced as they are tradition.[53]


Gabonese Children

Gabon does not restrict work with international organizations for human's right, and it works with UNICEF (the United Nations Children's Fund). Gabonese children are technically required to attend school until the age of 16, and the government makes an effort to spend money on building new schools, giving out scholarships, and paying teacher salaries. However, school is very available up to the 6th grade - after that, it is unspecified as to how accessible schooling is. Non-citizen children living in Gabon are exploited and often victims of trafficking. Gabon is home to refugees or trafficked children from Nigeria, Togo, and Benin who are underfed, not paid, often abused, and put to work for long hours. Gabon is working with UNICEF to help the child victims. Gabon does have child labor laws, including that children can not work under the age of 16 without going through a very long legal process, however, child labor still does occur and makes up a large portion of the informal labor force. A large problem is that the investigating services and prosecutors are highly inadequate, and often claims or reports of child labor go without ever being investigated.[54]


Women's Rights

According to Amnesty International, women's rights are an issue in Gabon. According to AI, the civil code of law has terminology that indicates "discriminatory wording on marriage, divorce, child custody, the minimum age of marriage, equal inheritance rights, and rights under polygamy" as well as inadequate support for issues facing women such as domestic violence (illegal yet underreported and common), rape (also illegal but rarely prosecuted), and sexual harassment and threats.[55]

Social Inequality[edit]

The Ba'aka

The Ba'aka people are technically given the same rights and freedoms as other Gabonese citizens, although they often face discrimination. They tend to stay in their own communities and abide by their traditions and their own form of governance. According to Amnesty International, they have a difficult time gaining access to the public services (such as education, health care, and legal services) that other Gabonese citizens have no trouble with. The Ba'aka often face mistreatment and exploitation with no explanation other than their ethnic identities. [56]


AIDS/HIV patients

Gabonese citizens living with AIDS and HIV, regardless of ethnic identity, sexual identity or gender, are legally but not socially considered equal. They often face prejudice and intolerance "socially, politically, and economically," because of the often misguided judgments made about sufferers of the disease and the virus.[57] A little less than 6% of the adult population of Gabon live with AIDS. CIA WORLD FACTBOOK.


The Income Gap

Gabon has a very wide gap between the urban wealthy and the rural poor, with most of the Gabonese living in poverty.[58] While there are no legal restrictions facing specifically the poor population of Gabon, poverty-stricken people everywhere have a difficult time accessing public services and legal aid. Refugees, part of the poverty stricken population, are often exploited and discriminated against, and there have even been reports of refugees having been killed by the Gabonese security forces.[59]

Human Rights[edit]

Political Rights

Gabon has a controversial history with its politics, as the country has had only two presidents since independence from France, a father and son. Gabonese people have few and limited rights to free speech, and they cannot say much against the government or politicians and have a very limited impact on government change. The only daily newspaper is government owned, and the newspapers that do operate privately are rare, publishing irregularly, and are often shut down or delayed due to licenses revoked by the government. The government owned newspapers often publish negative views about the opposition party, but negativity towards the current government is quieted. Reporter's Without Borders ranks them 102 out of 169 countries surveyed, as to how free the nation's press is allowed to be and how much free speech the publications have. [60]


Rights of Prisoners versus Rights of Security Forces

Arbitrary arrest is technically illegal, but apparently often done anyway. Prisoners technically cannot be detained without charge, tortured, or beaten, yet all seem to happen frequently. Torture and beatings are apparently common ways to get a confession from an arrested person. Often prisoners are refused the basic necessities such as food, sanitation, and medical care, as well as legal aid and family visits.

On the contrary, security forces are almost always safe from repercussions of various crimes, such as extortion, and have been known to use excessive beatings on prisoners and even the killings of refugees, all without consequence. According to Gabonese human rights activists, members of certain Gabonese security forces had killed many people thought to have been involved in the opposition party. Security forces of all branches can use their authority and power to extort those they can, such as non-citizens, refugees, prisoners, and political opposition.[61]


Women and Children

Constitutionally, women have the same legal rights as men, although very little has been done to change laws that inadvertently or blatantly discriminate against women. Women have very little rights in their marriage, divorce, or inheritance proceedings. Domestic violence has become normalized violence, with little laws to deter perpetrators and little repercussions to those who abuse. Sexual harassment is common, and commonly not prosecuted. Rape is not commonly prosecuted, and there is also very little support for victims.[62]

The most prominent issue for children is their involvement in the unofficial work force. Children trafficked in from Benin, Togo, Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea are in the workforce, and as they are trafficked into Gabon they of course have no legal standing. Women and children who are either trafficked into Gabon or are poor enough, and are involved in the unofficial working sector, "often receive physical abuse, substandard food, low pay, and no access to education of health care."[63]

Works Cited[edit]

  1. Gabon Country Profile. BBC News Online. Last updated 20 July 2010. Viewed on 20 September 2010. c. BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/country_profiles/1023203.stm
  2. Gabon. CIA World Factbook. United States Central Intelligence Agency, online. Last updated 19 August 2010. Viewed on 20 September 2010. c. CIA. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/gb.html
  3. Gabon, History. Encyclopedia of the Nations. Copyright © 2010 Advameg, Inc. Viewed 20 September 2010. http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/Africa/Gabon-HISTORY.html
  4. Gabon Country Profile. BBC News Online. Last updated 20 July 2010. Viewed on 20 September 2010. c. BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/country_profiles/1023203.stm
  5. Universities in Gabon. Directory of Universities and Colleges in Gabon. International Colleges and Universities, online. Viewed 20 September 2010. http://www.4icu.org/ga/universities-gabon.htm.
  6. Gabon Country Profile. BBC News Online. Last updated 20 July 2010. Viewed on 20 September 2010. c. BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/country_profiles/1023203.stm
  7. Gabon. CIA World Factbook. United States Central Intelligence Agency, online. Last updated 19 August 2010. Viewed on 20 September 2010. c. CIA. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/gb.html
  8. History and Stability. The Gabonese Republic. Official Site of the President of the Republic of Gabon. http://www.legabon.org/uk/home.php
  9. Gabon. CIA's The World Factbook. United States Central Intelligence Agency. 29 September 2010. Accessed 16 October 2010. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/gb.html
  10. History and Stability. The Gabonese Republic. Official Site of the President of the Republic of Gabon. http://www.legabon.org/uk/home.php
  11. Gabon. CIA's The World Factbook. United States Central Intelligence Agency. 29 September 2010. Accessed 16 October 2010. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/gb.html
  12. Constituion de la Republique Gabonaise. Revisee par la loi no.13/2003 du 19 aout 2003. http://democratie.francophonie.org/IMG/pdf/Gabon.pdf
  13. Obituary: Omar Bongo. BBC News Online. Updated 8 June 2009. Accessed 16 October 2010. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8088399.stm.
  14. History and Stability. The Gabonese Republic. Official Site of the President of the Republic of Gabon. http://www.legabon.org/uk/home.php
  15. History and Stability. The Gabonese Republic. Official Site of the President of the Republic of Gabon. http://www.legabon.org/uk/home.php
  16. Gabon. CIA's The World Factbook. United States Central Intelligence Agency. 29 September 2010. Accessed 16 October 2010. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/gb.html
  17. Gabon. CIA's The World Factbook. United States Central Intelligence Agency. 29 September 2010. Accessed 16 October 2010. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/gb.html
  18. Gabon. CIA's The World Factbook. United States Central Intelligence Agency. 29 September 2010. Accessed 16 October 2010. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/gb.html
  19. History and Stability. The Gabonese Republic. Official Site of the President of the Republic of Gabon. http://www.legabon.org/uk/home.php
  20. History and Stability. The Gabonese Republic. Official Site of the President of the Republic of Gabon. http://www.legabon.org/uk/home.php
  21. Gabon. CIA's The World Factbook. United States Central Intelligence Agency. 29 September 2010. Accessed 16 October 2010. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/gb.html
  22. Gabon. CIA's The World Factbook. United States Central Intelligence Agency. 29 September 2010. Accessed 16 October 2010. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/gb.html
  23. Arthur, Mikaila. Civil (or Code) Law. Presentation: Legal Traditions Around the World. Comparative Law and Justice. Rhode Island College, Providence, Rhode Island. Fall Semester 2010.
  24. Folefack, Ernest. The Gabonese Legal System, and Legal Research. Hauser Global Law School Program, New York University Law School, New York, New York. Published September/October 2009. http://www.nyulawglobal.org/Globalex/Gabon.htm
  25. Reichel, Philip L. Comparative Criminal Justice Systems: A Topical Approach. University of Northern Colorado. Pearson Education Inc., New Jersey. 2008. 236-273.
  26. Reichel, Philip L. Comparative Criminal Justice Systems: A Topical Approach. University of Northern Colorado. Pearson Education Inc., New Jersey. 2008. 272-273.
  27. Dr. Robert Winslow. Gabon - Detention. Comparative Criminology. Crime and Society - A Comparative Criminology Tour of the World. http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/faculty/rwinslow/africa/gabon.html. Accessed 5 November 2010
  28. Gabon Human Rights. Amnesty International USA. 10 December 2010. http://www.amnestyusa.org/all-countries/gabon/page.do?id=1011274. Accessed 12 November 2010.
  29. Gabon Abolishes the Death Penalty. Click Afrique online magazine, ClickAfrique.com. http://www.clickafrique.com/Magazine/ST010/CP0000002516.aspx. Accessed 5 November 2010
  30. Dr. Robert Winslow. Gabon - Detention. Comparative Criminology. Crime and Society - A Comparative Criminology Tour of the World. http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/faculty/rwinslow/africa/gabon.html. Accessed 5 November 2010
  31. Patt, Prof. Martin, "Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery", http://gvnet.com/humantrafficking/. Accessed 5 November 2010
  32. Dr. Robert Winslow. Gabon - Corrections. Comparative Criminology. Crime and Society - A Comparative Criminology Tour of the World. http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/faculty/rwinslow/africa/gabon.html. Accessed 5 November 2010
  33. Gabon Human Rights. Amnesty International USA. 10 December 2010. http://www.amnestyusa.org/all-countries/gabon/page.do?id=1011274. Accessed 12 November 2010.
  34. Reichel, Philip L. Comparative Criminal Justice Systems: A Topical Approach. University of Northern Colorado. Pearson Education Inc., New Jersey. 2008. 236-273.
  35. Folefack, Ernest. The Gabonese Legal System, and Legal Research. Hauser Global Law School Program, New York University Law School, New York, New York. Published September/October 2009. http://www.nyulawglobal.org/Globalex/Gabon.htm
  36. Reichel, Philip L. Comparative Criminal Justice Systems: A Topical Approach. University of Northern Colorado. Pearson Education Inc., New Jersey. 2008. 236-273.
  37. Background Note: Gabon. Bureau of African Affairs. U.S. Department of State. August 4, 2010. Accessed 22 October 2010. http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2826.htm#defense
  38. Gabon. CIA World Factbook. United States Central Intelligence Agency. Updated 29 September 2010. Accessed 22 October 2010. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/gb.html
  39. Interpol Member Countries. © Copyright INTERPOL 2010. Accessed 22 October 2010. http://www.interpol.int/Public/Icpo/Members/default.asp
  40. Gabon Meeting of Central African Police Chiefs Focuses on Regional Co-operation and Security. INTERPOL Media Release. © Copyright INTERPOL 2010. Accessed 22 October 2010. http://www.interpol.int/Public/ICPO/PressReleases/PR2010/PR085.asp
  41. Gabon 2010 Crime and Safety Report. Overseas Security Advisory Council. c. 16 June 2010. https://www.osac.gov/Reports/report.cfm?contentID=118472
  42. Gabon Country Specific Information. Bureau of Consular Affairs, US Department of State. Tavel.State.Gov. http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1120.html#crime
  43. Gabon 2010 Crime and Safety Report. Overseas Security Advisory Council. c. 16 June 2010. https://www.osac.gov/Reports/report.cfm?contentID=118472
  44. Gabon Country Specific Information. Bureau of Consular Affairs, US Department of State. Tavel.State.Gov. http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1120.html#crime
  45. Gabon 2010 Crime and Safety Report. Overseas Security Advisory Council. c. 16 June 2010. https://www.osac.gov/Reports/report.cfm?contentID=118472
  46. Gabon. The World Factbook. United States Central Intelligence Agency. 29 September 2010. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/gb.html
  47. Women's Rights Biggest Human Rights Problem in Gabon. Afrol News, African News Agency. http://www.afrol.com/News/gab003_womens_rights.htm. Accessed 12 November 2010.
  48. Summary Record of the 1542nd Meeting : Gabon. International Covenant on Political and Civil Rights. United Nations Human Rights Committee. Palais des Nations, Geneva, 28 October 1996. http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/9aa72cef6318d505802564db0042ac6b?Opendocument. Accessed 12 November 2010.
  49. Summary Record of the 1542nd Meeting : Gabon. International Covenant on Political and Civil Rights. United Nations Human Rights Committee. Palais des Nations, Geneva, 28 October 1996. http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/9aa72cef6318d505802564db0042ac6b?Opendocument. Accessed 12 November 2010.
  50. Women's Rights Biggest Human Rights Problem in Gabon. Afrol News, African News Agency. http://www.afrol.com/News/gab003_womens_rights.htm. Accessed 12 November 2010.
  51. Summary Record of the 1542nd Meeting : Gabon. International Covenant on Political and Civil Rights. United Nations Human Rights Committee. Palais des Nations, Geneva, 28 October 1996. http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/9aa72cef6318d505802564db0042ac6b?Opendocument. Accessed 12 November 2010.
  52. Summary Record of the 1542nd Meeting : Gabon. International Covenant on Political and Civil Rights. United Nations Human Rights Committee. Palais des Nations, Geneva, 28 October 1996. http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/9aa72cef6318d505802564db0042ac6b?Opendocument. Accessed 12 November 2010.
  53. Summary Record of the 1542nd Meeting : Gabon. International Covenant on Political and Civil Rights. United Nations Human Rights Committee. Palais des Nations, Geneva, 28 October 1996. http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/9aa72cef6318d505802564db0042ac6b?Opendocument. Accessed 12 November 2010.
  54. 2008 Human Rights Report: Gabon. Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. 2008 Country Reports on Human Rights and Practices. 25 February 2009. http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2008/af/119002.htm. Accessed 12 November 2010.
  55. Gabon Human Rights. Amnesty International, USA. 10 December 2009. http://www.amnestyusa.org/all-countries/gabon/page.do?id=1011274. Accessed 12 November 2010.
  56. Gabon Human Rights. Amnesty International. 10 December 2010. Accessed 28 November 2010. http://www.amnestyusa.org/all-countries/gabon/page.do?id=1011274
  57. Gabon Human Rights. Amnesty International. 10 December 2010. Accessed 28 November 2010. http://www.amnestyusa.org/all-countries/gabon/page.do?id=1011274
  58. Gabon. BBC Country Profiles. British Broadcasting Company. Updated 20 July 2010. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/country_profiles/1023203.stm. Accessed 28 November 2010.
  59. Gabon Human Rights. Amnesty International. Updated 10 December 2009. http://www.amnestyusa.org/all-countries/gabon/page.do?id=1011274. Accessed 28 November 2010.
  60. Gabon Human Rights. Amnesty International. Updated 10 December 2009. http://www.amnestyusa.org/all-countries/gabon/page.do?id=1011274. Accessed 28 November 2010.
  61. Gabon Human Rights. Amnesty International. Updated 10 December 2009. http://www.amnestyusa.org/all-countries/gabon/page.do?id=1011274. Accessed 28 November 2010.
  62. Gabon Human Rights. Amnesty International. Updated 10 December 2009. http://www.amnestyusa.org/all-countries/gabon/page.do?id=1011274. Accessed 28 November 2010.
  63. Gabon Human Rights. Amnesty International. Updated 10 December 2009. http://www.amnestyusa.org/all-countries/gabon/page.do?id=1011274. Accessed 28 November 2010.