2 May 2014
The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights today considered the combined second to third periodic report of Monaco.
Presenting the report, Carole Lanteri, Permanent Representative of Monaco to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said Monaco was engaged in the promotion and protection of human rights and this commitment could be seen in many efforts.
The position of the High Commissioner for the Protection of Rights, Freedoms and Mediation had been created. Nationality laws had been changed to come to grips with new family situations and to avoid the case of stateless children. Professional training for those that would be in contact with victims of violence had also been set up. The Government was undertaking a policy of international cooperation mainly aimed at eradicating poverty, despite a particularly difficult international context.
During the interactive dialogue Committee Experts asked about the apparent lack of interest of Monaco in ratifying protocols and regional instruments; non-discrimination, the exercise of professional activity and the application of the principle of non-discrimination on the grounds of national origin; quality of work for persons with disabilities; gender equality; integration of human rights education into the curricula of the educational system; and whether the Human Rights Commissioner for the Protection of Rights, Freedoms and Mediation was in line with the Paris Principles. Experts also requested more information on Monaco’s official development assistance and enquired about whether there had been consultations with civil society during the preparation of the report.
In concluding remarks, Ms. Lanteri thanked all the members of the Committee for the interest shown in studying the report and replies to the list of issues, as well as for their questions. It was hoped that the specific situation of Monaco had been clarified as best possible, and that this would be of use in drawing up recommendations.
Clement Atangana, Committee Expert and Country Rapporteur for the report of Monaco, said the Committee would now turn to drawing up concluding observations and it was hoped that the Committee would be able to faithfully reflect the debate.
Zdzislaw Kedzia, Chairperson of the Committee, said that the concluding observations and recommendations of the Committee would be made public on Friday, 23 May 2014. He thanked the delegation of Monaco for its cooperation.
The delegation of Monaco included representatives of the Permanent Mission of Monaco to the United Nations Office at Geneva, Department of Foreign Relations, Department of Social Affairs and of Health, Department of the Interior, and Department of Employment.
The Committee will next meet in public at 10 a.m. on Monday, 5 May, to hear non-governmental organizations provide information on the situation of economic, social and cultural rights in the countries whose reports will be reviewed during the week, namely the Holy See, Guinea, Cyprus and Montenegro.
The combined second to third periodic report of Monaco (E/C.12/MCO/2-3) can be seen here.
Presentation of Report of Monaco
CAROLE LANTERI, Permanent Representative of Monaco to the United Nations Office at Geneva, presenting the report, said that Monaco’s population was made up of only 36,000 persons and there were over 125 nationalities present in the country. Monaco was engaged in the promotion and protection of human rights and this commitment could be seen in terms of many efforts on behalf of the most vulnerable people, including women, children and persons with disabilities.
The position of High Commissioner for the Protection of Rights, Freedoms and Mediation had been created and received requests for opinions and studies on the issue of the protection of freedoms when they were part of relations with the public administration, in an impartial and independent manner. Nationality laws had been changed to come to grips with new family situations and to avoid the case of stateless children. The deadline for the transmission of nationality had been extended to 10 years for men and for women. On health, a law was adopted on 20 April 2009 providing for the creation of a centre for pre-natal coordination and family support and allowing for three specific cases when abortions could be carried out. On education and with regards to recommendations from 2006, the Government had pursued actions aimed at human rights and citizen education and they were now mandatory. Measures were taken by the Government within schools to fight addictions in all their forms, including of alcohol and narcotics.
On measures to fight all kinds of violence, a 2007 law strengthened the punishment of crimes and violence against children. On domestic violence, a law was adopted in 2011 related to the prevention and repression of individual violence, with the aim of preventing and punishing the crime and providing reparations. It also provided for victims to receive information and counselling on a personal basis. Professional training for those that would be in contact with victims of violence had also been set up since 2012 in addition to basic training. On cultural rights, a law of 2008 concerning associations and federations of associations highlighted freedom of association and assembly. Any person could now associate themselves freely with these organizations and put their knowledge and activities at their disposal.
On international cooperation policy, great importance was attached to the attaining of the eight Millennium Development Goals. The Government had been undertaking a policy of international cooperation mainly aimed at eradicating poverty, despite a particularly difficult international context. The Department of International Cooperation worked on a daily basis with non-governmental organizations and international organizations. Since 2006 it had followed recommendations by the Committee and the delegation would do its best to ensure a dialogue as open and constructive as possible today.
Questions and Comments by Committee Experts
CLEMENT ATANGANA, Committee Expert and Country Rapporteur for the report of Monaco, said that the report focused on the recommendations made during the consideration of Monaco’s initial report and detailed responses had been received. The outcome was that the State party had respected recommendations made, in part, retaining certain reservations. There had been several cases cited by the country where courts invoked the Covenant but there would be a need to specify the context in which those decisions were made. Many positive efforts had been listed and these would be looked into in more detail.
An Expert raised the issue of Monaco’s apparent lack of interest in ratifying protocols and regional instruments, including protocol 20 to the convention for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, concerning discrimination. Had there been any progress on this? Regarding non-discrimination, on the exercise of professional activity, what examples could be given of this or issues that had come to the courts? Did the anti-discrimination legislation take on board all the grounds for discrimination as in Article 2.2 of the Covenant?
Another Expert enquired as to whether the High Commissioner for the Protection of Rights, Freedoms and Mediation would pass the Paris Principles test? On the reservations of Monaco to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the application of the principle of non-discrimination on the grounds of national origin, could further clarification be provided and what difference would it make if Monaco were to withdraw its reservations?
On international development efforts, reference had been made to numerous projects and it was presumed that they met the quality criteria of official development assistance. It would be helpful to receive further specific information on this. Had civil society been consulted during the preparation of the report? In 2009, during the first Universal Periodic Review of Monaco, the country had accepted to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Had any steps been taken in this regard? What was the system to guarantee equal enjoyment, by women, of economic, social and cultural rights, particularly in the workplace?
One Expert enquired whether it was understood correctly that when international treaties became sources of domestic law, they continued to have a superior position. Was a framework established in order to consider the implementation of concluding observations? An Expert noted that the challenges faced by Monaco under the Covenant could be just as formidable as for larger countries. However, what were the biggest challenges faced by Monaco? Women, children and persons with disabilities were identified as particularly vulnerable groups. Could it therefore be taken that asylum seekers and refugees did not figure in terms of vulnerable groups?
Monaco was a Member of the United Nations and the Council of Europe. Why had it not joined the European Union? Was it a conscious, chosen policy? The legal system was based on French Law, on the whole, although there had been recent modifications. However the French system itself had been changed a great deal since it had joined the European Union. On help to least developed countries, what continent had Monaco decided to focus on? What was specific progress made on the protection of the environment and the climate?
Response from the Delegation
A delegate said that reaching the targeted official development assistance was difficult because of the financial crisis. The target would probably not be reached by 2015 and it was not known when it would be reached, but it was still the objective. On countries concerned by assistance, 62 per cent of Monaco’s official development assistance was marked for least developed countries, mostly focused on Africa. For historic reasons there were ties with Lebanon, Tunisia and Morocco. All of these projects took place on a bilateral basis between countries, but some official development assistance was also channelled through international organizations. Policy was being reviewed to reduce the number of projects and retain flagship projects in the field of health and child education, for example. Concerning the non-ratification of certain conventions or protocols and reservations expressed, it had to be borne in mind that both the reservations and non-ratification of these instruments stemmed from the fact that the rights of minorities had to be defended, in particular the rights of nationals of the principality. The idea was again to allow nationals to live and work in their own country by giving them this priority. This did not allow for the ratification of the Convention on the Protection of Migrant Workers and their Families, although Monaco hosted a large number of commuters that were not nationals and had the same rights and protections as others in terms of labour.
Concerning the ratification on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, signed in 2009, a draft law on the protection of persons with disabilities had been deposited with the National Council. This would be a framework law that would reiterate a number of measures already applied, but with a legal framework around it. Special measures were also being taken for children with disabilities in school, to provide them with as much autonomy as possible.
On questions dealing with the International Labour Organization, Monaco was not a Member but it was continuing to confront difficulties posed. On the minimum age for employment and the worst forms of child labour, Monaco had not adhered to the relevant conventions but it had taken on board the principles they protected. On whether the office of the High Commissioner for the Protection of Rights, Freedoms and Mediation was compatible with the Paris Principles, attention had been paid to compliance with these principles when it was created. Regarding challenges in drafting reports and delays incurred in ratifying certain instruments and their translation into domestic law, it to be borne in mind that Monaco was a very small State and there were scant human resources.
Concerning questions on discrimination and employment, the law stipulated that nationals had a priority. The need to maintain this priority system stemmed from the very makeup of the population. On trade union rights, any salaried worker could join a union. On strikes, this right was granted to all without sanctions. However, minimum services had to be provided, such as in relation to transport, for example. The law stipulated that pay had to be the same for both men and women. There could be positive discrimination for women, such as in relation to care of dependents and specificities on work at night. In terms of gender equality and the participation of women in the Government and within the courts, in general many women held posts of responsibility. On acquisition of nationality, men and women now acquired nationality in exactly the same conditions. In terms of education, there was no discrimination in favour of either gender. Regarding decisions of the Supreme Court and its perception in light of the Covenant, information of specific examples were included in the report, but further information on decrees could be provided after consideration of the report.
The international conventions and treaties were implemented as soon as they were published in Monaco and their provisions were either covered in an ordinance for implementation or if necessary, in a law. It was the treaty or convention that always prevailed or took priority. On questions related to the European Union, Monaco’s law drew largely on French law as its legal systems were very close and also because of the many agreements between France and Monaco. Monaco used the Euro and was part of the European VAT system and part of the Customs Union in Europe because of its Customs Union with France. Because of this, it was facing difficulties, particularly in terms of freedom of goods and services. Since 2010 the European Commission had had a dialogue with Andorra, Monaco and San Marino to deal with difficulties they faced. In 2012 the Council of Europe stated that there were different possible measures to address these difficulties, including the conclusion of one or more association agreements with the European Union.
Concerning asylum seekers and refugees, because of its size and integration into the Schengen space, anyone who requested asylum was looked at individually. This did not happen very frequently. If someone received the status of refugee, then there would be no discrimination and the person would benefit from all the rights provided by the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and of other instruments. In terms of involvement of civil society in drawing up this report, when work had been finalized on the Universal Periodic Review, which was broader, civil society was consulted. That also covered the concerns which were brought up by this Committee. All of the documents were accessible on the Government’s web page. There was interaction almost on a daily basis.
Questions from Committee Experts
An Expert said he understood that under the Constitution and legislation, it was a man who was to hold the role of Head of State. In the near future, might there be a Princess that may be the future Queen? Another Expert had found a lot of information on issues of professional activities and labour rights, but no clear indication of the grounds for discrimination in an anti-discrimination law. If there was no comprehensive overall framework, would this be envisaged instead of specific anti-discrimination legislation?
Why had assistance not been extended to English or Portuguese-speaking countries, enquired an Expert? On the issue of nationality, there was a case of a woman that received nationality through marriage but could not transfer this to her child when divorced. Could clarification be given on this, another Expert asked?
An Expert said that a previous report noted that in Monaco, there were not yet any non-governmental organizations that specialized in violations of human rights. Were there now any non-governmental organizations that dealt with infringements of human rights?
Another Expert said that the answer on gender equality was not acceptable. The fact that positive discrimination for women including on care for dependents was described meant that it was still the woman’s primary responsibility. Was there equal responsibility for men in taking care of children or persons that were ill? What was the social perception?
An Expert asked for clarification on how the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights impacted judgments of the courts. Use of the term ‘invoked’ was rather general.
Response from the Delegation
A member of the delegation said that women could indeed be heirs to the throne and there had been in the past princesses that had been Regent, but that was not the same principle as in France. Monaco was part of the Organisation of the Francophonie and links had been created specifically with certain French-speaking African countries stemming from that in defining international cooperation policy. Human and financial resources were not extravagant and choices had to be made on who to assist and as substantially as possible. Accent was placed on the least developed countries and the Francophone approach.
Concerning Monaco’s approach to discrimination, priority given to nationals was not discrimination. There was no preference given based on race, colour, sex, religion, political opinions or social origin. On the foreign spouse that divorced, there was no discrimination in terms of gender. The foreign spouse that divorced was leaving the Monegasque family entered into and in light of the size of the principality and the benefits granted to nationals, it wanted to avoid multiplications of these special conditions granted, such as the granting of nationality to new spouses or children now outside of the Monegasque family.
On non-governmental organizations, there were none specialized on human rights violations as such. Some had been set up on specific issues such as violence and discrimination but not generally speaking on human rights. On gender equality, progress was being made, especially in the conduct of family affairs. In 2006 an important text had been adopted dealing with paternal leave, allowing fathers to benefit from leave when a child was born. Concerning the taking into account of the Covenant in court decisions, it was often invoked by complainants before the courts and even before the Supreme Court. All of the appropriate documents on this field would be provided.
Questions from Experts
An Expert enquired whether there was a system of parental leave. Was it shared by men and women and did men take this leave? What was the status on the Bill on contractual employment? On domestic work, Monaco had said that domestic workers were covered in the same way as any other employee. How were the conditions of domestic workers and how were they monitored? Was there a complaint system? On social security, were all self-employed workers now covered by social security and if that was not the case, why? Were there bilateral social security agreements with countries that had persons working in Monaco? It was noted that residency policy had not been altered for persons with lower incomes. Why was this policy not reviewed? An Expert enquired as to whether the phenomenon of informal domestic work had been found and if so, whether there was a monitoring system in place in this respect? Another Expert requested data on the number of persons with disabilities, their employment rate, and the presence or absence of programmes or requirements of the Government to promote employment among persons with disabilities.
The Committee had in previous concluding observations requested Monaco to provide disaggregated information on the implementation of the Covenant. A reply to this request had not been seen. With regards to minimum wage, it was taken that this was determined on the basis of the cost of living. Given there were so many persons working in Monaco that commuted from elsewhere, how did this work out? On measures to fight and prevent drug addiction, could foreigners also access these beneficial measures, enquired an Expert? An Expert noted that a question had not been answered concerning the long-time foreign residents that could not find accommodation in the State-protected sector in Monaco.
In terms of tourism, were there children that were victims of pornography? On trafficking of women and girls, what had been done in terms of international cooperation? Could more information be given on the state of mental health in general and relative services?
Response from the Delegation
A member of the delegation of Monaco said that the level of its social assistance had not been reduced. More than 50 per cent of its international cooperation was dedicated to social assistance. It went to the most vulnerable and it could be considered as a way of implementing the provisions of the Covenant.
Questions by Experts
An Expert said that comments should be made on the right to benefit from scientific progress. How did the country share scientific and cultural knowledge with other countries? What efforts and collaborations was Monaco party to?
An Expert raised a question about education. The report mentioned apprenticeship contracts. How many young people had participated and how long did these apprenticeships last in general? At the end of that contract, could apprentices sign a labour contract directly with their employer? In a question related to the integration of human rights education into the curricula of the educational system, an Expert asked whether this had been done and at which level.
Another Expert asked what public policies had been adopted to ensure true and effective access to cultural events and cultural goods for people who may have limited resources or disabilities? What administrative guarantees were provided and what resources were earmarked for these public policies?
Response from the Delegation
A member of the delegation of Monaco said on domestic labour that duly declared employees had the same rights as other salaried employees. For those that were not declared to the Government, inspectors could not directly access private homes without the consent of persons involved. These declarations were made voluntarily. The employment system was such that it was very difficult not to have a contract. Requests for employment which had to be delivered by labour services ensured that there was a minimum of information. For those that believed that they were not classified in the right category, there was a possibility of recourse.
Concerning child labour, Monaco had laws and acts that covered this and which were compatible with general standards. Children were relatively protected, with reference to 16 and 18 year-olds. Adolescents were well protected by a Ministerial decree on particular measures and safety for women and children.
On membership of the International Labour Organization, it was clarified that joining the Organization and certain conventions came under trade union law of Monaco and the system of employment priority. On mental health policy, particular attention was paid to it and preventive work, at all stages of life. Concerning adults, there were information campaigns for the public to raise awareness of mental health issues. Regarding the elderly, mental health was central to policies for their care. For children, there were various structures to diagnose and provide treatment for children, in a less stigmatizing environment than a hospital. Concerning the law to prevent violence against women, children and persons with disabilities, this law had particular provisions to strengthen that protection and provide for sanctions. It was possible to have a medical abortion to save a pregnant woman’s life, where the feteus had an incurable disease, and if there had been a rape.
On the quality of work of persons with disabilities, 79 persons had the status of worker with disabilities. Persons with the status of disabled worker had a guarantee of income from the employer, meeting the minimum wage for working in the ordinary workplace. Persons that could not get work in an ordinary workplace could get special support through a special social worker working with the employment services.
On the conditions of residents in order to benefit from certain assistance in Monaco, persons with social insurance could have access to all care provided in Monaco regardless of their resources. Medical cover of children was determined on where the parents worked. Assistance provided to foreigners following completion of the five-year residence requirement was the same as that intended for Monegasques and this had been extended over time. Where they had not been resident for five years, there were systems in Monaco with the objective of helping. Monaco provided assistance if there were persons living in the country that did not meet the five year residence requirement but that needed help, but there were no statistics on this.
Regarding parental leave, within the civil service, there were some provisions in place for leave so that mothers could raise their children. In the private sector, workers could benefit from special leave for sick children, for 35 days a year for mothers.
With regards to pornography related to children, there was no child prostitution in Monaco. In terms of investigations into violence or offences committed against minors, 43 cases were opened in the past seven years, twelve of these connected with sexual exploitation of children or pornographic files on the internet.
On housing, given the small size of territory and population, there were provisions whereby Monegasques could be housed, depending on certain factors. Nationals could get rent assistance. For civil servants working in Monaco, there were a number of habitations that could be attributed to them. The Retirement Fund also owned a certain number of properties.
Follow-up Questions from Experts
An Expert, in relation to the five year residence limit and provision of care, asked for an example of what mechanisms existed. Was it always a mother that took care of a sick child? Could fathers not take leave to do so as well? Another Expert, with reference to the five year residency requirement, asked how could this be reconciled with the Covenant?
Regarding abortion, an Expert asked whether an explanation could be given on when a teenage girl was pregnant, for whatever reason, whether there was a guarantee that she would continue to be educated.
Response from Delegation
A member of the delegation of Monaco said that Monaco served as a reference for a population group that was about four times bigger than that of Monaco. This was why there were problems with statistics, as they did not just represent its own Monegasque population. On continuing education in the case of teenage pregnancy, there had been teenage girls that became pregnant and hid this until it could no longer be hidden and followed education up until time of birth, and later received subsidies to return to school as soon as possible without risk for them and their babies. There was a framework to deal with this, both pre-natal and post-partum. On domestic violence, the law mentioned on the prevention and punishment of private violence had come into effect. It strengthened sanctions against domestic violence.
Regarding the five year residency requirement and the Covenant, the situation in Monaco was very special. The very small size of the country should always be borne in mind. Yet, it provided benefits and services at generous levels. Constraints meant that at a certain point, restrictions had to be put in place. The desire to implement the Covenant as much as possible was there, but specificities had to be taken into account. On apprenticeship contracts in Monaco, this had been fairly stable, between 122 and 130 contracts per year. At the end of the apprenticeship, the apprentice could sign a labour contract with the employer that had trained them.
On the participation of women in scientific research, there was a relatively well-balanced distribution. On scientific progress and its dissemination, there were numerous agreements at the international level, with scientists working in joint efforts under such agreements. As far as making progress accessible to all, its main hospital, cardiovascular institute and sports institute were open to the population and surrounding areas, giving high quality technical facilities in these fields. On access to culture, particularly for the aged, persons with disabilities or those with reduced mobility, the policy was to ensure as broad-based access as possible through direct assistance provided to different entities. There were also educational programmes and accessibility to culture was available at a very early age. There were also programmes for reduced rates or free of charge admissions.
CAROLE LANTERI, Permanent Representative of Monaco to the United Nations Office at Geneva, in concluding remarks thanked all the Members of the Committee for the interest shown in studying the report and replies to the list of issues, as well as for their questions which showed that they were attentive to replies. It was hoped that the specific situation of Monaco had been clarified as best possible, and that this would be of use in drawing up recommendations.
CLEMENT ATANGANA, Committee Expert and Country Rapporteur for the report of Monaco, in concluding remarks thanked the delegation of Monaco. The Committee would now turn to drawing up concluding observations and it was hoped that the Committee would be able to faithfully reflect the debate.
ZDZISLAW KEDZIA, Chairperson of the Committee, said that the observations of the Committee would be made public on Friday, 23 May 2014. The delegation of Monaco was thanked for its cooperation.
For use of the information media; not an official record