U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices 1993 - Monaco

  Monaco, with a population of 30,000, is a constitutional monarchy in which the sovereign Prince plays a leading role in governing the country. The Prince names the four-member Government, which is headed by a Minister of State, assisted by Counselors of Government for the Interior, for Public Works and Social Affairs, and for Finance and the Economy. Each is individually responsible to the Prince. Legislative power is shared between the Prince and the popularly elected, 18-member National Council. There are in addition three consultative bodies, whose members are appointed by the Prince. These are the 7-member Crown Council, the 12-member Council of State, and the 30-member Economic Council, which includes representatives of employers and the trade union movement. The national police force has four branches, including an investigative one. Security duty and ceremonial representation are carried out by the "Carabiniers du Prince." All these forces are controlled by and responsive to government officials. The principal economic activities in Monaco are services and banking, light manufacturing, and tourism. Individual human rights are provided for in the Constitution and respected in practice. The Constitution distinguishes between those rights that are guaranteed all residents and those that apply only to the 5,000 who hold Monegasque nationality. The latter include free education, financial assistance in case of unemployment or illness, and the right to vote and hold elective office. The 1993 National Council elections brought a second political party into the Council for the first time. Women traditionally have played a less active role than men in public life, but this is changing. Women currently hold both elective and appointive offices. The first female police officers were hired in 1993.


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

a. Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

Such incidents are unkown in Monaco.

b. Disappearance

There were no instances of disappearance or abduction.

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

Such practices are barred by the Constitution. These prohibitions are respected in fact. There is no public record of any complaint of police brutality.

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

The Constitution bars arbitrary arrest. Arrest warrants are required in all cases other than those in which the detainee is taken into custody while committing an offense. The detainee must be brought before a judge within 24 hours to be informed of the reason for the arrest and his rights under the law. Most detainees are released without bail, but an individual may be held in investigative detention if the investigating magistrate has reason to believe the person might flee or that his release would compromise the magistrate's investigation of the case. The initial 2-month period of detention may be renewed if necessary. Those detained have the right to counsel, at public expense if necessary. Attorneys have access to detainees. Family members may see the detainee at the discretion of the investigating magistrate.

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial

Under the 1962 Constituion, the Prince delegated his judicial powers to an independent judiciary which renders justice in his name. The right of fair, public trial is guaranteed in law and respected 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 amassed by the investigating magistrate and hears the arguments presented by the prosecuting and defense attorneys. The defendant enjoys a presumption of innocence. Exercise of the right of appeal must be made within 10 days in criminal cases and 30 days in civil ones.

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

The individual's right of privacy in personal and family life, at home, and in correspondence is guaranteed by the Constitution and respected in practice.

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

a. Freedom of Speech and the Press

Freedom of expression is guaranteed. The Monegasque Penal Code, however, prohibits public denunciations of the ruling family. Several local periodicals are published in Monaco. Foreign newspapers and magazines, including editions of French papers that specifically cover news in the Principality, circulate freely. Foreign radio and television are easily received. The television and radio stations that broadcast from the Principality operate in accordance with French and Italian regulations. Academic freedom is respected.

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The Constitution gives Monegasque nationals the rights of peaceful assembly and association. Outdoor meetings require police authorization. Such authorization is not withheld for political or other arbitrary reasons. Associations must be registered and authorized by the Government.

c. Freedom of Religion

Roman Catholicism is the state religion. Free practice of all other religions is guaranteed in law and respected in fact.

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

Residents of Monaco move freely within the country and across its open borders with France. Monegasque nationals enjoy the rights of emigration and repatriation. They can be deprived of their nationality only for specified acts, including naturalization in a foreign state. Only the Prince can grant or restore Monegasque nationality. On such questions, he is obliged by the Constitution to consult the Crown Council.

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

The fundamental difference between the Monegasque Constitution of 1911 and the 1962 Constitution which replaced it is that the latter cannot be suspended, nor can it be revised except by common agreement between the Prince and the National Council. The Prince plays an active role in government, exercising his authority in conformity with the provisions of the Constitution and Monegasque law. Specifically, the Prince names the Minister of State (in effect, the Prime Minister) from among a list of names proposed to him by the French Government. He names as well the three Counselors of Government (of whom the one responsible for the interior is normally a French national). Together the four compose the Government. Each is individually responsible to the Prince. Only the Prince may initiate legislation, although the 18- member National Council may send proposals for legislation to the Government for consideration. Passage of legislation and adoption of the budget require the assent of the Council. Elections, which take place every 5 years, are free and by secret ballot. All adult Monegasques have the right to vote. Two political parties are currently represented on the Council. There is one independent member. The Constitution provides for three consultative bodies. The seven-member Crown Council (composed exclusively of Monegasque nationals) must be consulted by the Prince regarding certain questions of national importance (ratification of treaties, dissolution of the National Council). He may choose to consult it on other matters as well. The 12-member Council of State advises the Prince on proposed legislation and regulations. The 30-member Economic Council advises the Government on social, financial, and economic questions. One-third of its members come from lists proposed by the trade union movement and one third from those prepared by the employers' federation.

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

While the Government imposes no impediments, no local groups devoted to monitoring human rights exist. There have been no requests from outside groups to investigate human rights conditions in Monaco.

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

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


Women are becoming increasingly active in public life. The Mayor of Monaco is a woman, as is one member of the National Council. Six of Monaco's 19 lawyers are women, as are 6 of 41 physicians and 8 of 22 dentists. No comparable statistics are available for women in the business world, where women are not as well represented as in the professions. The law governing transmission of citizenship was recently revised to assure equality of treatment between men and women who are Monegasque by birth. However, women who acquire Monegasque nationality by naturalization cannot transmit it to their children, whereas naturalized male citizens can. Violence against women is unusual. Marital violence is strictly prohibited. Married women may bring criminal charges against their husbands should such incidents occur.


The Government is committed to protecting children's rights and welfare. Government subsidies to families with children begin with the birth of the first child.

People with Disabilities

The Government has mandated that public buildings provide for access by the disabled.

Section 6 Worker Rights

a. The Right of Association

Workers have been free to form unions since the end of World War II. Fewer than 10 percent of workers belong to unions, and relatively few of these are resident in the Principality. Unions are independent of both the Government and Monegasque political parties. At its origin, however, the Monegasque trade union movement was assisted by the French General Confederation of Labor (CGT), which has links to the Communist Party. The Constitution specifies that workers enjoy the right to strike in conformity with relevant legislation. Government workers, however, may not strike. Several small strikes took place in 1993. The Monegasque Confederation of Unions has requested the Government to join the International Labor Organization (ILO), which it has yet to do. The Confederation itself sought membership in the European Confederation of Unions, but its initial application was refused, possibly because of its early association with the Communist CGT. A subsequent application was pending at year's end.

b. The Right To Organize and Bargain Collectively

The law provides for the free exercise of union activity. Workers are guaranteed by law the same salary received by comparable workers in the neighboring area of France plus 5 percent. They are free to negotiate higher wages with their employers if they can. Agreements on working conditions are negotiated between organizations representing employers in a given sector of the economy and the union representing workers in that sector. Antiunion discrimination is prohibited. Union representatives can be fired only with the agreement of a commission that includes two representatives of the employers' association and two representatives of the labor movement. Allegations that an employee has been fired for union activity may be brought before the Labor Court, which can order, inter alia, the payment of damages with interest.

c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

Such practices are outlawed in Monaco and do not exist.

d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children

The minimum age for employment is 16 years. Special conditions apply to the employment of workers aged 16 to 18. Attendance at school is mandatory to age 16. The attendance requirement is enforced by the National Education, Youth, and Sports Agency.

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work

The legal minimum wage for full-time work is $1,047 (6,180 French francs) per month. Most workers receive more than the minimum wage. The legal workweek is 39 hours. Health and safety standards are fixed by law and government decree. These standards are enforced by health and safety committees in the workplace and by the government Labor Inspector.

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