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COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN REVIEWS THE SITUATION OF WOMEN IN MONACO

9 November 2017

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women today considered the combined initial to third periodic reports of Monaco on its implementation of the provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

Presenting the report, Carole Lanteri, Permanent Representative of Monaco to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that the equality between women and men was enshrined in the national Constitution of 1962. Some 20.8 per cent of elected members of the National Council were women, whereas they made up 40 per cent of members in the Communal Council. Women made up most of the country’s diplomatic corps and they played an essential role in Monaco’s economic life. A High Commissioner for the Protection of Rights, Liberties and Mediation had been established in October 2013. The High Commissioner had the power to respond to demands for views and to conduct studies on all questions regarding the protection of rights and liberties.

In the ensuing discussion, Committee Experts noted the issue of Monaco’s reservations to several articles of the Convention, namely concerning crown succession. They also inquired about the status of the High Commissioner for the Protection of Rights, Liberties and Mediation, the definition of discrimination, the dissemination and application of the Convention, the responsibility for implementing international recommendations on human rights, intersecting forms of discrimination against women, the absence of temporary special measures, and Monaco’s international humanitarian activities. They also raised issued concerning discrimination in employment, gender stereotyping in the Grand Prix motor race, violence against women, corporal punishment, the definition of domestic violence, underreporting of cases of violence committed against migrant female workers, trafficking in women and girls and prostitution, political representation of women, and transfer of nationality for women on an equal footing with men.

In concluding remarks, Ms. Lanteri said that Monaco remained available to the Experts for further clarifications and reminded that Monaco maintained a standing invitation to all mandate holders of the Human Rights Council.

Dalia Leinarte, Committee Chairperson, commended Monaco for its efforts and encouraged it to address various recommendations which the Committee would issue with the purpose of the more comprehensive implementation of the Convention throughout the State party.

The delegation of Monaco included representatives of the Department of Social Affairs and Health, the Department of the Interior, the Direction of Internal Affairs, the Direction of Judicial Affairs, and the Permanent Mission of Monaco to the United Nations Office at Geneva.

The Committee will next meet in public on Friday, 10 November at 10 a.m., to consider the combined eighth and ninth periodic reports of Guatemala (CEDAW/C/GTM/8-9).

Report

The Committee has before it the combined initial to third periodic reports of Monaco: CEDAW/C/MCO/1-3.

Presentation of the Report

CAROLE LANTERI, Permanent Representative of Monaco to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said Monaco was a hereditary and constitutional monarchy, with 37,300 inhabitants, out of which about 9,000 held Monegasque nationality. More than 140 nationalities lived in Monaco. The equality between women and men was enshrined in the national Constitution of 1962. Some 20.8 per cent of elected members of the National Council were women (24 men and five women), whereas they made up 40 per cent of members in the Communal Council (six women and nine men). Most of the country’s diplomatic corps was made up of women. Women also played an essential role in Monaco’s economic life. In terms of legislative advances, Ms. Lanteri referred to the law No. 1.382 of 20 July 2011 on the prevention of violence, with a focus on women, children and persons with disabilities. Law no. 1.440 of 5 December 2016 had changed certain provisions of the Civil Code with respect to the right of the mother to pass on her family name to the child.

Turning to the national human rights institution, Ms. Lanteri explained that on 30 October 2013 a High Commissioner for the Protection of Rights, Liberties and Mediation had been established. The High Commissioner had the power to respond to demands for views and to conduct studies on all questions regarding the protection of rights and liberties. In terms of its international engagements, in 2014 Monaco had ratified the Convention of the Council of Europe on the protection of children against exploitation and sexual abuse. In 2014 it had also ratified the Istanbul Convention on the prevention of and fight against women and domestic violence, whereas in 2015 it had ratified the Convention of the Council of Europe on the fight against trafficking in persons. Finally, in 2016 Monaco had ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. On 19 October 2017 Monaco had deposited its instrument for the acceptance of article 20 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

Questions by Committee Experts

Experts raised the issue of Monaco’s reservations to articles 7, 9, 16 and 29 of the Convention, namely the crown succession, which was reserved for a male successor. Had the State party considered changing the Constitution in that respect?

The national law did not prohibit direct or indirect discrimination. Were there ongoing plans to include the definition of discrimination against women in the law, and to introduce mechanisms for equality between women and men? Did women in Monaco know about the High Commissioner for the Protection of Rights, Liberties and Mediation? Were there any plans to seek accreditation for the Office of the High Commissioner in line with the Paris principles? Would training on the provisions of the Convention be organised for magistrates and police officers? Would a communication strategy be developed to disseminate the Convention?

Replies by the Delegation

CAROLE LANTERI, Permanent Representative of Monaco to the United Nations Office at Geneva, explained that it was up to the head of the High Commissioner for the Protection of Rights, Liberties and Mediation to seek accreditation. There were various organizations that launched awareness raising campaigns about violence against women and the Convention.

With respect to the question about the definition of discrimination, the delegation explained that the Constitution stipulated a general principle of non-discrimination. Civil and political rights enshrined in the 1962 Constitution were the same for women and men in all fields. International legal instruments on discrimination against women were an integral part of Monaco’s laws and they could be directly invoked by national courts.

All international treaties were part of the training curricula for magistrates and the police force. The High Council of the Magistracy particularly focused on the issue of training in the fight against discrimination against women. Children in elementary schools received certain awareness raising courses about the impact of discrimination, whereas in secondary schools they received specific courses on health issues and ad hoc courses about discrimination.

As for amending the Constitutional provisions on the crown succession, that was not in the pipeline for the moment.

Questions by Committee Experts

Experts noted that the size and capacity of Monaco should be taken into account when assessing the State party’s implementation of the Convention. Nevertheless, the State party should implement the Convention as a living document in order to advance the rights of women. How did the State party treat multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination against women? What were the components of the mechanisms for the promotion of equality? How did different bodies interact with the High Commissioner for the Protection of Rights, Liberties and Mediation? How many people lived and worked in Monaco?

In the context of Monaco’s humanitarian activities, how would the Government integrate the Sustainable Development Goals in them?

Replies by the Delegation

CAROLE LANTERI, Permanent Representative of Monaco to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that Monaco had a considerable presence in international humanitarian aid, and that it tried to focus on the most vulnerable groups, particularly women and children. Monaco was working alongside other countries in order to adapt its international cooperation and aid, taking into account the Sustainable Development Goals.

The delegation clarified that Monaco’s laws focused on the correlation between women and the family. However, combatting discrimination against women was not limited only to the family sphere. The Government was attentive to the recommendations made by the High Commissioner for the Protection of Rights, Liberties and Mediation.

Follow-up Questions by Experts

Who was responsible for the implementation of the recommendations of United Nations treaty bodies? How was intersecting discrimination dealt with?

How did the Government provide the High Commissioner for the Protection of Rights, Liberties and Mediation with sufficient resources?

Replies by the Delegation

CAROLE LANTERI, Permanent Representative of Monaco to the United Nations Office at Geneva, explained that the work of the High Commissioner for the Protection of Rights, Liberties and Mediation was in line with the Paris Principles.

The delegation explained that each member of the delegation would brief their respective departments about their discussion with the Committee. That was the advantage of having a small administration; it was highly reactive. There was no red tape that would delay the implementation of any recommendation.

Questions by Committee Experts

What temporary special measures were being applied in order to achieve de facto equality in employment, salaries and pension benefits?

Replies by the Delegation

Legislation on social rights prohibited any form of discrimination in employment. Where there was non-compliance, employees could refer those matters to courts. There could be no difference in the salaries of women and men with equal qualifications. There were no temporary special measures in Monaco.

Follow-up Questions by Experts

How was the principle of equal wages for equal positions interpreted? Were temporary special measures prohibited in order to accelerate de facto gender equality? Did laws have to be changed in order to introduce them?

Replies by the Delegation

The delegation explained that the principle of equal wages was interpreted as the equal wage for the equal position. There was no legal prohibition of temporary special measures. However, there was no need for them because the Government was able to come up with definitive solutions.

Questions by Committee Experts

What efforts had been made to eliminate discriminatory stereotypes of women? There were still dominant patriarchal stereotypes in the public. Sporting events in Monaco were male-dominated and did not promote the positive role of women in any way, Experts noted.

As for violence against women, foreign women residing on the territory of Monaco and asylum seekers were particularly vulnerable. Corporal punishment of boys and girls was still being practiced. Shelters for women victims of violence were in place, but there was no hotline.

Replies by the Delegation

CAROLE LANTERI, Permanent Representative of Monaco to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that gender stereotyping in the Grand Prix motor race was something that should be addressed to the international association dealing with car racing. That was a male dominated sport. As for violence against women, various public services were available to victims. There was a night line that they could use to directly call the firefighting services and the hospital.

The delegation noted that there were a growing number of sport clubs for women. The Government was looking into how to address the belittling image of women in sporting events.

Foreign women victims of violence who resided in Monaco could access a range of services, such as psychological counselling, legal aid, medical and social assistance, as well as language interpretation. There were 140 nationalities living in Monaco. Rape was criminalized under Monaco’s law, which looked at all types of violations of women’s rights. The police had a very strict protocol on the provision of care for victims of violence.

As for corporal punishment, when it was committed against minors, it could be punished by five days in prison and a payment of a fine. In case of serious aggravating circumstances, the prison sentence could amount to 10 years.

Follow-up Questions by Experts

The definition of domestic violence was quite limited because of the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator, and the focus on maintaining the family unit. Would the State party aim to maintain family unity whatever the cost? There was also underreporting of cases of violence committed against migrant female workers.

Experts raised the issue of jobs offers directed specifically at men due to “male centric” language use, which discouraged women from standing for those positions. Had the State party considered making language use less “male centric”?

Replies by the Delegation

CAROLE LANTERI, Permanent Representative of Monaco to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that the issue of language use was a tricky one. Monaco’s approach was to use gender neutral language.

As for underreporting of cases of violence committed against migrant female workers, there was no data available to show whether those cases were carried out on the basis of nationality. There were no legal obstacles barring migrant women from bringing complaints to courts. The level of compensation for victims of violence was rather low. But it was up to the magistrate involved in the case to establish the amount to be granted. The Government would assess the compensation granted to victims.

The definition of domestic violence was not as limited as observed by Committee Experts. It was the living environment in which acts were committed that revealed the gravity of the offence. Laws on domestic violence did not aim to maintain family unity at all costs. The focus was rather on preserving the integrity of persons at all costs.

Questions by Committee Experts

As for trafficking in women and girls and prostitution, was there any data on women in prostitution reporting violence without repercussions? Were there any programmes for those wishing to leave prostitution and did they receive social and medical care? Most women in prostitution did not live in Monaco but in France. Did the State party plan to conduct a study to understand their situation? What specific measures were in place to allow victims of trafficking to report violations?

Replies by the Delegation

A special police unit monitored the activities of women in prostitution. The Public Security Unit informed them about exploitation and trafficking risks that they could encounter, as well as of services available to them. Monaco’s criminal justice system dealt with cases of exploitation of prostitution and aggravating circumstances. Residence permits were available to victims of such exploitation.

CAROLE LANTERI, Permanent Representative of Monaco to the United Nations Office at Geneva, explained that Monaco had no real borders to speak of because thousands of people from Italy and France entered Monaco every day to work. Monaco had agreements with those countries on prosecution and sharing of information. Even when women lived abroad, Monaco could notify the competent authorities in Italy and France about specific cases.

Follow-up Questions by Experts

DALIA LEINARTE, Committee Chairperson, raised the issue of the possible link between prostitution and trafficking in persons for sexual exploitation. Had the State party ever evaluated that possible link, in light of Monaco’s non-existent border?

Replies by the Delegation

No official or non-official study had been carried out on the possible link between prostitution and trafficking in persons for sexual exploitation, but the Government was aware of what was happening. The awareness of that link was present in the Criminal Code as part of the provisions on organized crime.

Questions by Committee Experts

Turning to the political representation of women, Experts commended the high representation of women in Monaco’s diplomatic corps. But there was a notable lack of statistics on women in decision-making positions. Did the State party plan to review the existing provisions and promote full gender parity in public and political life, particularly in political parties? How did the State party overcome stereotypes that prevented women from assuming high-ranking positions?

How would strategies for women be integrated in strategies for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals? It would be useful to have a dashboard with information on the representation of women in the private sector.

Replies of the Delegation

CAROLE LANTERI, Permanent Representative of Monaco to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that new generations of women would reach higher positions due to better education.

The delegation noted that there were more and more women in all leading positions. Women comprised most of school staff, whereas that was not the case in hospitals where most department heads were men. There were many female law enforcement officers, as well as police investigation officers. In the judiciary, some 62 per cent were women. Recruitment was based on skills rather than gender equity.

Questions by Committee Experts

As for the transfer of nationality, what concrete progress had been made following the adoption of the latest law? Concerning the marriage of Monegasque nationals to foreigners, how was the nationality of their children regulated?

Responses by the Delegation

On nationality, the delegation said that in Monaco, it was jus sanguinis that prevailed, and added that before the 2011 law, the nationality could only be transmitted through filiation of father or by a princely decision. In other words, a Monegasque woman could not transmit her nationality to her husband unless he was naturalised.

The 2011 law introduced four key changes, and among others, it allowed all citizens regardless of gender to transmit nationality to the spouse, and it fixed the time frame for obtaining nationality to 10 years for both sexes. This law also provided a possibility of obtaining Monegasque nationality for stateless persons who were born in Monaco.

Marriage with a foreigner in no way changed the nationality of a woman, it did not make her stateless nor was she obliged to take the nationality of the husband. The conditions for loss of the nationality were comprehensively provided for under article 8 of the law, and included those naturalized abroad, those who voluntarily declined or renounced the nationality, and anyone who voluntarily served in a foreign army.

Monegasque citizenship to citizens of other States was only granted after assurances were received that that country allowed double nationality.

Questions from the Experts

A Committee Expert congratulated Monaco for its educational system and a comprehensive curriculum which included human rights education, and raised the concern that the legislation did not expressly guarantee free education to non-nationals. What measures were in place to implement the recommendations made by the Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2013 to amend the law and ensure access to free education to this group?

How many boys and girls were enrolled in private denomination schools?

On violence against girls in schools, the delegation was asked about measures in place to fight cyberbullying and whether corporal punishment was illegal.

Women were clearly underrepresented in the scientific fields of study and in scholarships for those fields. Would Monaco consider adopting temporary special measures, or any other measures, to increase the intake of women in scientific and technological studies? Were there measures in place to encourage girls to actively take up careers in scientific professions?

Responses by the Delegation

A delegate stressed that Monaco was landlocked in the French territory, and that some 50,000 people came daily to Monaco for work from France and Italy. Each child residing in Monaco, regardless of the nationality, had to attend school. Monaco wanted to ensure that more children whose parents were working in Monaco could also attend school. The issue was capacity of the education system to absorb the children, and the country wished to ensure that all children had access to safe schools and an adequate number of teachers.

Out of 6,000 pupils, some 2,500 benefitted from educational exemptions, which allowed foreign non-resident children – normally children of Italian and French citizens who worked in Monaco but did not reside there - to attend the State schools. Once all resident children were accepted to school, regardless of their nationality, Monaco awarded educational exemptions to non-resident foreign children, and every year some 200 to 250 such exemptions were awarded.

A protocol was in place for reporting of cases of bullying, which also encompassed cyberbullying, said another delegate and stressed that the fight against cyberbullying was a continuous activity rather that a one-off event. Appropriate programmes had been set up to educate children on issues related to cyberbullying and to provide support and protection to victims.

There was a deficit of girls studying science and this was a call to Monaco to do something about it. Monaco was following the same school curricula as France, because of language and proximity. It was not possible to force girls to choose science, said a delegate, and added that once a year, a job day took place in schools in which different professions were presented to students.

Corporal punishment was not allowed in schools, and there was zero tolerance for corporal punishment. Education was focused on health and sex education was focused particularly on adolescents.

Questions from the Experts

On women in employment, an Expert noted that the labour law allowed for short-notice termination of open-ended contracts and that a number of female foreign workers had been dismissed shortly after their maternity leave. How many such employees had been dismissed, asked the Experts and requested information on any survey on gender equality in employment and in particular on equal pay for work of equal value?

The 1944 statute allowed foreign workers to be members of the trade and workers unions, but the possibility of serving as a member of the bureau was reserved to Monegasque and French citizens only. When would this law be repealed to allow all members of a trade union, regardless of their nationality, to serve on the board?

Monaco had passed the law against sexual harassment in the workplace in 2012 and the delegation was asked to provide data on the number of cases, investigations conducted, and sanctions given to perpetrators.

Did Monaco intend to ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, and also to become a member of the International Labour Organization and ratify its Conventions?

Responses by the Delegation

The delegation said that Monaco had studied the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families and the International Labour Organization’s conventions. Monaco did not intend to become a member of the International Labour Organization for a very practical reason which was the lack of capacity of such a small State to prepare all the necessary reports.

In general terms, the norms set down in the International Labour Organization’s conventions and the migrant workers’ convention represented in fact human rights norms, standards and principles, which Monaco accepted.

A pregnant woman could never be dismissed, said a delegation, and confirmed that women occupied about half the posts in the public and private sectors. As for the night shift for women, there were exceptions in some professions which were inscribed in the law, but women could choose to work at night.

The penal code sanctioned sexual harassment in the workplace, and all complaints could be filed with a judge. A bill on harassment including sexual harassment would be introduced shortly. Monaco had 52,000 workers and teleworking was slowly coming it; at the moment, there were 324 employees who teleworked. It was usually the workers who demanded the possibility of teleworking rather than employers.

Questions from the Experts

In the next round of questions, the delegation was asked about the definition of a “head of household” in the law, which was often a man, and its implications for receiving benefits. Would this definition be changed, as it was quite discriminatory against women?

The Expert remarked that the civil code continued to discriminate against women as it prohibited a woman to remarry within 310 days from the dissolution of the previous marriage. When would this discriminatory provision be removed?

Could the delegation explain the default option for shared child custody at the moment, which it said was the alternate, shared residence – did it imply that children would spend the same amount of time with both parents? What system was in place to monitor this, especially in light of the negative impact it had particularly on very young children. What monitoring was in place against tactical petitions by fathers who sometimes used the tool of shared residence to lower child maintenance payments?

Responses by the Delegation

The law on shared residence had been adopted in July 2017, and it was too early to say how it was working in practice. It referred to decisions taken by a guardianship judge in the best interest of the child.

A delegate spoke about the prohibition for a woman to remarry within 310 days following the dissolution of the marriage, noting that it was the concept from French law which had been in place to establish paternity. In France, it had been in force until 2005, and in Monaco, it remained in the law, and there was no intention to repeal the provision. The delegation took note of the Committee’s comments on the issue.

Questions from the Experts

In the next round of questions, a Committee Expert noted that gender blindness was impeding the implementation of the Convention in Monaco.

Sports played an important role in Monaco, where a number of important sporting events took place, but mainly as entertainment for men – in tennis, car racing, yachting, and others. Many sporting events were also attractive for sex workers, dancers and call girls.

Abortion was criminalized, with three exceptions, and contraception was not an important issue for the health authority.

Were steps being taken to combat sexually transmitted diseases during the Grand Prix of Monaco and to provide access to contraceptives to sex workers? What was the influence of the Roman Catholic Church’s teachings on the legislation in matters of abortion and contraceptives?

The delegation was asked to provide gender-disaggregated data on access to contraceptives and sexual and reproductive healthcare and information.

How were intersex persons treated by the State party? Was intersex genital mutilation prohibited?

Did Monaco apply gender-sensitive policies in healthcare, including in mental healthcare, and what were the budgetary allocations for this?

Responses by the Delegation

A delegate said that Monaco was a small village where life was good and all women had access to high quality healthcare. Abortion was not prohibited because of the Catholic religion. There was no other State in Europe which devoted so much time and resources to combatting HIV/AIDS and sexually-transmitted diseases. Monaco had joined other States in a quest to eradicate intersex genital mutilation.

Another delegate said that steps were being taken to address the issue of luxury prostitution attracted to the country. Catholicism was the official religion of the country, and it did influence the attitudes on abortion. There were no backstreet abortions, abortions happened in hospitals with trained doctors. There had been seven in 2016 and four in 2015, which meant that they were well monitored.

Genital mutilation of women and men was absolutely prohibited. Health services operated at all levels and offered care to everyone in need.

Questions from the Experts

An Expert raised questions on vulnerable groups of women and, noting that Monaco hosted 20 refugees and asylum-seekers, asked about concrete measures taken to aid their integration. The law on the rights of persons with disabilities had been adopted in 2014 – how did it translate into improved access of persons with disabilities to health care, employment and support services? Why were women treated differently under the retirement rules and regulations, including the rights and the amount of pension?

Responses by the Delegation

There were associations in the Principality that provided assistance to refugees, and they had native-language speakers, thus enabling them to establish relationships with refugees and aid their social inclusion. Refugees had full access to health and education, accommodation and French language classes, to aid their integration until a point where they reached full autonomy.

The 2014 law on rights of persons with disabilities fully recognized the status of persons with disabilities. Medical and social assistance was being provided to persons with disabilities that met their needs. A structure was in place through which free assistance and care was being provided to all persons with mental or physical disabilities, and assisted them in social integration.

Concluding Remarks

CAROLE LANTERI, Permanent Representative of Monaco to the United Nations Office at Geneva, thanked the Committee Experts and said that Monaco remained available for further clarifications should the Experts require so. Monaco maintained a standing invitation to all mandate holders of the Human Rights Council.

DALIA LEINARTE, Committee Chairperson, commended Monaco for its efforts and encouraged it to address various recommendations which the Committee would issue with the purpose of the more comprehensive implementation of the Convention throughout the State party for the benefit of all girls and women in the country.



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CEDAW/17/42E