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U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices 1996 - San Marino

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 30 January 1997
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices 1996 - San Marino, 30 January 1997, available at: [accessed 26 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, January 30, 1997


San Marino is a democratic, multiparty republic. The popularly elected parliament (the Great and General Council – GGC) selects two of its members to serve as the Captains Regent (co-Heads of State). They preside over meetings of the GGC and of the Cabinet (Congress of State), which has 10 other members, also selected by the GGC. Assisting the Captains Regent are three Secretaries of State (Foreign Affairs, Internal Affairs, and Finance) and several additional secretaries. The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs has come to assume many of the prerogatives of a prime minister.

Elected officials effectively control the centralized police organization (the Civil Police) and the two military corps (the Gendarmerie and the Guardie di Rocca).

The principal economic activities are tourism, farming, light manufacturing, and banking. In addition to revenue from taxes and customs, the Government derives much of its revenue from the sale of coins and postage stamps to collectors throughout the world and from an annual budget subsidy provided by the Italian Government under the terms of the Basic Treaty with Italy.

The Legal Code extensively provides for human rights, and the authorities respect its provisions. Although the parliament and the Government have demonstrated strong commitment to the protection of human rights, some laws discriminate against women, particularly with regard to the transmission of citizenship.

Respect for Human Rights

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

a. Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

There were no reports of political or other extrajudicial killings.

b. Disappearance

There were no reports of politically motivated disappearances.

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

The law prohibits such practices, and there were no reports that officials employed them.

Prison conditions meet minimum international standards, and the Government permits visits by human rights monitors.

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

The law prohibits arbitrary arrests, detention, or exile, and the Government observes these prohibitions.

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial

The law provides for an independent judiciary, and the Government respects this provision in practice. The judicial system delegates some of its authority to Italian magistrates, both in criminal and in civil cases. Cases of minor importance are handled by a local conciliation judge. Appeals go, in the first instance, to an Italian judge residing in Italy. The final court of review is San Marino's Council of Twelve, a group of judges chosen for 6-year terms (four replaced every 2 years) from among the members of the GGC.

The judiciary provides citizens with a fair and efficient process.

There were no reports of political prisoners.

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits such practices. Government authorities respect these prohibitions, and violations are subject to effective legal sanction.

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

a. Freedom of Speech and Press

The law provides for freedom of speech and of the press, and the Government respects these rights in practice. An independent press, an effective judiciary, and a functioning democratic political system combine to insure freedom of speech and of the press, including academic freedom.

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The law provides for these rights, and the Government respects them in practice.

c. Freedom of Religion

The law provides for freedom of religion, and the Government respects this right in practice.

d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

The law provides for these rights, and the Government respects them in practice.

The Government cooperates with the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and other humanitarian organizations. Although it does not formally offer asylum to refugees, it has given a few individuals de facto asylum by permitting them to reside and work in San Marino. Refugees and other foreigners are eligible to apply for citizenship only after 30 years of residence. The issue of the provision of first asylum did not arise in 1996; nor were there any reports of forced repatriation of refugees.

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens to Change Their Government

The Constitution provides citizens with the right to peacefully change their government, and citizens exercise this right in practice through periodic, free, and fair elections held on the basis of universal suffrage.

There have been no impediments to women participating in government or politics since the passage of a 1973 law eliminating all restrictions. In 1974 the first female member was elected to the GGC. Since then, women have served on the Council as Secretary of State for Internal Affairs and as Captain Regent. All women's branches of the political parties have been integrated into the mainstream party organizations, and women hold important positions in the various parties.

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human Rights

There are no domestic human rights organizations, although the Government imposes no impediments to the formation of such organizations. The Government has declared itself open to outsiders' investigations of alleged abuses. There have been no known requests of such a nature.

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, Disability, Language, or Social Status

The law prohibits discrimination based on race, religion, disability, language, or social status, and the authorities respect these provisions. The law also prohibits some forms of discrimination based on sex, but there remain vestiges of legal as well as societal discrimination against women.


The law provides for protection of women from violence, and occurrences of such violence, including spousal abuse, are unusual.

Several laws provide specifically for equality of women in the workplace and elsewhere. In practice there is no discrimination in pay or working conditions. All careers are open to women, including careers in the military and police as well as the highest public offices.

However, there is a law that discriminates against women in stipulating that a woman who marries a foreigner cannot transmit citizenship to her husband or children, but that a man who marries a foreigner can do so to both spouse and children.


The Government demonstrates its commitment to children's rights and welfare through its well-funded systems of public education and medical care. There is no difference in the treatment of girls and boys in educational or health care, nor is there any societal pattern of abuse directed against children.

People with Disabilities

There is no discrimination against disabled persons in employment, education, or in the provision of other state services. A 1992 law established guidelines for easier access to public buildings, but implementation of its provisions has not yet reached all buildings.

Section 6 Worker Rights

a. The Right of Association

By law, all workers (except the military, but including police) are free to form and join unions. A 1961 law sets the conditions for establishment of a union. The unions may freely form domestic federations or join international labor federations.

Union members constitute about half of the country's work force (which numbers about 10,000 San Marinese plus 2,000 Italians, from the country's total population of about 25,000).

Trade unions are independent of the Government and the political parties, but they have close informal ties with the parties, which exercise strong influence on them.

Workers in all nonmilitary occupations have the right to strike. No strikes have occurred in at least the last 6 years.

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

The law gives collective bargaining agreements the force of law and prohibits antiunion discrimination by employers. Effective mechanisms exist to resolve complaints. Negotiations are freely conducted, often in the presence of government officials (usually from the Labor and Industry Departments) by invitation from both the unions and the employers' association. For the last several years, all complaints have been resolved amicably by a "conciliatory committee" composed of judges and government officials.

There are no export processing zones.

c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

The law prohibits forced or compulsory labor and is enforced.

d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children

The minimum working age and compulsory education age is 16 years. The Ministry of Labor and Cooperation permits no exceptions. Most students continue in school until age 18.

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work

Since January 1, 1995, the legal minimum wage has been approximately $1,200 (1.88 million lira) per month. This affords a decent living for a worker and family. Wages are generally higher than the minimum.

The law sets the workweek at 36 hours in public administration and 37 1/2 hours in industry and private business, with 24 hours of rest per week for workers in either category.

The law sets safety and health standards, and the judicial system monitors them. Most workplaces implement the standards effectively, but there are some exceptions, notably in the construction industries.

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