Oman - Social development

Oman maintains a social security system that provides old-age pensions, disability and survivorship benefits to employed citizens ages 15–59. This program is funded by 5% contributions from employees and the government, and 8% contribution by employers. Retirement is set at age 60 for men and age 55 for women. Work injury legislation provides disability and medical benefits for injured workers.

Oman does not have a written constitution or anti-discrimination laws. Islamic precepts result in de facto discrimination against women in a number of areas, such as inheritance. Traditional views on the subordinate role of women in society lead most women to work exclusively inside the home. Land grants and housing loans are rarely given to females. Some progress is being made, however, and women have begun to enter professional areas such as medicine and communications in greater numbers. The government has made efforts to increase educational opportunities for women. Women comprise roughly half of the 5,000 students at Sultan Qaboos University, and 50% of the total student body in the public school system. Women are required to get permission from a male relative to leave the country. Domestic abuse remains within the confines of the family, and sexual abuse of domestic employees remains a problem.

Ethnic tensions exist in Oman, and the Shihuh tribe in the province of Musadam complain about police harassment. There have been periodic episodes of violence between Shihuh and security forces. Human rights abuses include arbitrary arrest, prolonged detention and the mistreatment of prisoners. Human rights organizations are prohibited by law from operating in Oman, and international monitors are unable to inspect prisons.

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