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Vanuatu is a multi-party parliamentary democracy with a freely elected government. Following October 2012 national elections, which observers considered generally free and fair, parliament re-elected Sato Kilman as prime minister. On March 21, Kilman resigned, and parliament elected Moana Carcasses Kalosil, who became the first non-Melanesian to assume the role since the country gained independence. Authorities failed at times to maintain effective control over the security forces. Security forces committed human rights abuses.

Discrimination and violence against women remained the most prominent human rights abuses during the year.

Other human rights problems included police violence, poor prison conditions, arrests without warrants, an extremely slow judicial process, and government corruption.

Government efforts to prosecute and punish abuses by the police were minimally effective. Impunity was a problem.

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

a. Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life

There were no reports that the government or its agents committed arbitrary or unlawful killings. The 2009 killing of John Bule while he was in police custody remained unresolved.

b. Disappearance

There were no reports of politically motivated disappearances.

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

The constitution prohibits such practices; however, there were reports of police and correctional officer abuse of criminal suspects and prison inmates.