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U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices 2002 - Monaco

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 31 March 2003
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices 2002 - Monaco , 31 March 2003, available at: [accessed 14 December 2017]
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
March 31, 2003

Monaco is a constitutional monarchy in which the sovereign Prince plays a leading role in governing the country. The Prince appoints the four-member Government, headed by a Minister of State chosen by the Prince from a list of candidates proposed by France. The other three members are the Counselor for the Interior (who is usually French), the Counselor for Public Works and Social Affairs, and the Counselor for Finance and the Economy. Each is responsible to the Prince. Legislative power is shared between the Prince and the popularly elected 24-member National Council. There also are three consultative bodies whose members are appointed by the Prince: The 7-member Crown Council; the 12-member Council of State; and the 30-member Economic Council, which includes representatives of employers and trade unions. The judiciary is independent.

In addition to the national police force, the "Carabiniers du Prince" carried out security functions. Government officials effectively controlled both forces.

The population was approximately 32,000, and the principal economic activities were services and banking, light manufacturing, and tourism. The economy provided residents with a high standard of living.

The Government generally respected the human rights of its citizens, and the law and the judiciary provided effective means of dealing with individual instances of abuse. Authority to change the Government and initiate laws rests with the Prince. The Penal Code prohibits public denunciations of the ruling family. The Constitution distinguishes between those rights that are provided for all residents and those that apply only to the approximately 7,000 residents who hold Monegasque nationality. Some remnants of legal discrimination against women persisted, particularly with regard to the transmission of citizenship. Monaco was invited by the Community of Democracies' (CD) Convening Group to attend the November 2002 second CD Ministerial Meeting in Seoul, Republic of Korea, as a participant.


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

a. Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life

There were no reports of the arbitrary or unlawful deprivation of life by the Government or its agents.

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, and there were no reports that officials employed them.

Prison conditions generally met international standards. Women were held separately from men, and juveniles were held separately from adults. The Government permits visits by human rights observers; however, there were no such visits during the year. After prisoners receive definitive sentences, they are transferred to a French prison to serve out their prison term.

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

The Constitution prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention, and the Government generally observed these prohibitions. Arrest warrants are required, except when a suspect is arrested while committing an offense. The police must bring detainees before a judge within 24 hours to be informed of the charges against them and of their rights under the law. Most detainees are released without bail, but the investigating magistrate may order detention on grounds that the suspect either might flee or interfere with the investigation of the case. The magistrate may extend the initial 2-month detention for additional 2-month periods indefinitely. The magistrate may permit family members to see detainees.

The Penal Code prohibits forced exile, and the Government did not employ it.

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial

Under the Constitution, the Prince delegates his judicial powers to the judiciary. The law provides for a fair, public trial, and the independent judiciary generally respected these provisions in practice. The defendant has the right to be present and the right to counsel, at public expense if necessary. As under French law, a three-judge tribunal considers the evidence collected by the investigating magistrate and hears the arguments made by the prosecuting and defense attorneys. The defendant enjoys a presumption of innocence and the right of appeal.

There were no reports of political prisoners.

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

The Constitution prohibits such actions, and the Government generally respected these prohibitions in practice.

2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

a. Freedom of Speech and Press

The Constitution provides for freedom of speech and of the press, and the Government generally respected these rights; however, the Penal Code prohibits public denunciations of the ruling family, a provision that the media generally respected in practice.

Several periodicals were published. There were no domestically published daily newspapers. Foreign newspapers and magazines circulated freely, including French journals that specifically covered news in the Principality. Foreign radio and television were received without restriction. Stations that broadcast from the Principality operated in accordance with French and Italian regulations. There were no restrictions on access to the Internet.

The Government did not restrict academic freedom.

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The Constitution provides for freedom of assembly and association, and the Government generally respected these rights in practice.

Outdoor meetings require police authorization, but there were no reports that police withheld authorization for political or arbitrary reasons. Formal associations must be registered and authorized by the Government, and there were no reports the Government withheld registration for political or arbitrary reasons.

c. Freedom of Religion

The law provides for freedom of religion, and the Government generally respected this right in practice. Roman Catholicism is the state religion.

No missionaries operated in the principality and proselytizing was strongly discouraged; however, there is no law against proselytizing by religious organizations formally registered by the Ministry of State.

For a more detailed discussion see the 2002 International Religious Freedom Report.

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

The law provides for these rights, and the Government generally respected them in practice. Residents moved freely within the country and across its open borders with France. Nationals enjoyed the rights of emigration and repatriation; however, they can be deprived of their nationality for specified acts, including naturalization in a foreign country. Only the Prince can grant or restore nationality, but he is obliged by the Constitution to consult the Crown Council on each case before deciding.

In light of its bilateral arrangements with France, the Government does not grant political asylum or refugee status unless the request also meets French criteria for such cases. The number of such cases was very small.

The law provides for the granting of asylum and refugee status in accordance with the 1951 U.N. Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol. The Government cooperated with the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other humanitarian organizations in assisting refugees.

There were no reports of the forced return of persons to a country where they feared persecution.

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

Authority to change the government and to initiate laws rests with the Prince. The 1962 Constitution cannot be suspended, but it can be revised by common agreement between the Prince and the elected National Council. The Prince played an active role in Government. He names the Minister of State (in effect, the Prime Minister) from a list of names proposed by the French Government. He also names the three Counselors of Government (of whom the one responsible for the interior is usually a French national). Together the four constitute the Government. Each is responsible to the Prince.

Only the Prince may initiate legislation, but the 24-member National Council may propose legislation to the Government. All legislation and the adoption of the budget require the Council's assent. Elections for National Council members, which are held every 5 years, are based on universal adult suffrage and secret balloting.

The Constitution provides for three consultative bodies. The seven-member Crown Council, composed exclusively of Monegasque nationals, must be consulted by the Prince on certain questions of national importance. He may choose to consult it on other matters as well. The President and three members of the Crown Council are chosen directly by the Prince for 3-year terms. The three other members are proposed by the National Council, also for 3-year terms; the Prince then ratifies their selection.

The 12-member Council of State, which is not restricted to Monegasque citizens, advises the Prince on proposed legislation and regulations. The Council of State is presided over by the Director of Judicial Services, usually a French citizen. The Director and other members are nominated by the Minister of State; their nominations are ratified by the Prince.

Women were active in public service. The Mayor of Monaco, one member of the Crown Council, five members of the National Council, and four members of the Economic Council were women.

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

While the Government imposed no restrictions on the establishment or operation of local groups devoted to monitoring human rights, no such groups were formed. Foreign groups did not seek to investigate human rights conditions in the country.

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

The Constitution provides that all nationals are equal before the law. It differentiates between rights that are accorded to nationals (including preference in employment, free education, and assistance to the ill or unemployed) and those accorded to all residents, such as freedom of inviolability of the home.


Reported instances of violence against women were rare. Marital violence is prohibited strictly, and any wife who is a victim may bring criminal charges against her husband.

Women were represented fairly well in the professions; however, they were represented less well in business. Women received equal pay for equal work, and there were no reports of sexual harassment.

The law governing transmission of citizenship provides for equality of treatment between men and women who are nationals by birth; however, women who acquire Monegasque citizenship by naturalization could not transmit it to their children, whereas naturalized male citizens could.


The Government was committed fully to the protection of children's rights and welfare and has well-funded public education and health care programs. The Government provided compulsory, free, and universal education for children up to the age of 16.

There was no societal pattern of abuse of children.

Persons with Disabilities

There was no governmental or societal discrimination against person with disabilities. The Government mandated that public buildings provide access for persons with disabilities, and this goal largely has been accomplished.

6. Worker Rights

a. The Right of Association

Workers were free to form unions, but fewer than 10 percent of workers were unionized, and relatively few workers, unionized or nonunionized, resided in the Principality. Unions were independent of both the Government and political parties.

Antiunion discrimination is prohibited. Union representatives can be fired only with the agreement of a commission that includes two members from the employers' association and two from the labor movement. Allegations that an employee was fired for union activity may be brought before the Labor Court, which can order redress, such as the payment of damages with interest.

The Monegasque Confederation of Unions was not affiliated with any larger labor organization but was free to join international bodies.

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

The law provides for the free exercise of union activity, and workers exercised this right in practice. Agreements on working conditions were negotiated between organizations representing employers in a given sector of the economy and the respective union. Collective bargaining is protected by law; however, it was used rarely.

The Constitution provides for the right to strike in conformity with relevant legislation; however, government workers may not strike. There were no strikes during the year.

There were no export processing zones.

c. Prohibition of Forced or Bonded Labor

The Constitution prohibits forced or bonded labor including by children, and there were no reports that such practices occurred.

d. Status of Child Labor Practices and Minimum Age for Employment

The minimum age for employment is 16 years; those employing children under that age can be punished under criminal law. Special restrictions apply to the hiring, work times, and other conditions of workers 16 to 18 years old.

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work

The legal minimum wage for full-time work is the French minimum wage, which at year's end was $7.10 (6.83 euros), plus 5 percent. The 5 percent adjustment was intended to compensate for the travel costs of the three-quarters of the workforce who commuted daily from France. The minimum wage provided a decent standard of living for a worker and family. Most workers received more than the minimum. The legal workweek was 39 hours. The Government allows companies to reduce the workweek to 35 hours if they so choose. Health and safety standards are fixed by law and government decree. These standards were enforced by health and safety committees in the workplace and by the government Labor Inspector. Workers have the right to remove themselves from dangerous work situations.

f. Trafficking in Persons

The law does not prohibit trafficking in persons; however, there were no reports that persons were trafficked to, from, or within the country.

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