Wednesday, August 19, 2009

UN Human Rights Council Review of Monaco May 2009

Human Rights Council Fifth Universal Periodic Review
4 - 15 May 2009
at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland

Live Webcast:
See:
http://www.un.org/webcast/unhrc/archive.asp?go=090504


Includes Periodic Review of Human Rights
in Monaco
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/PAGES/MCSession5.aspx


Human Rights Council – Universal Periodic Review
4 May 2009 (afternoon)
For use of information media; not an official record


The Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review Working Group reviewed the fulfillment of human rights obligations by Monaco this afternoon, during which 28 Council members and observers raised a number of issues pertaining to the human rights situation in the country.

· Presenting the national report of Monaco was FRANCK BIANCHERI, Minister Plenipotentiary, and Counsellor of the Government for Foreign Affairs and for International Economic and Financial Affairs, noted that the Principality of Monaco had become party to a large number of international instruments which covered a wide variety of human rights since becoming a member of the United Nations in 1993. However, the interpretation and involvement of international standards had to be assessed and appreciated given the specificities of the State.

Monaco was a Constitutional Monarchy governed by the Constitution of 17 December 1962. The rule of law was recognized in all national institutions and the separation of powers was also recognized per law. The Judiciary reported directly to the Head of State – the Prince. There were a number of bilateral agreements between the Principality of Monaco and France which did not compromise the integrity or sovereignty of Monaco. There were some 35,000 people living in Monaco and more than 120 nationalities represented. It was noted that there were no reported acts of xenophobia in Monaco. Ironically Monegasques were a minority in Monaco as they only number 7,634 in the country, out of a total population of over 35,000.

As regards gender equality, the law on Family provided equal rights to men and women. Moreover, freedom of expression was guaranteed as were freedom of religion and belief and association, the head of delegation added. The death penalty was not practiced in Monaco and a person in police custody could not be held for more than 24 hours. The right to access to lawyer was guaranteed as was the independence of the judiciary. Furthermore, the Constitution guaranteed the right to work for all in the Principality of Monaco; on a daily basis an average of 45,000 people crossed into Monaco from France and Italy to work. Monegasque citizens had free access to primary and secondary education and there was no discrimination, per law, in terms of access to education. Among other legislative measures enacted was a law on disabilities, allowing equal opportunities for disabled persons in the Principality.

The Principality of Monaco had extended a standing invitation to the Special Procedures of the United Nations, Mr. Biancheri noted. The Monegasque legal system had been supplemented by a number of legal provisions, among them a law on combating money laundering. Other legislative steps had been taken as regards the fight against terrorism which also covered the criminal sanctions for financing acts of terrorism and compensation for victims of terrorism. The Principality of Monaco was committed to combating corruption.

It was recalled that the State recently drafted a report, in December 2008, focusing on efforts to combat money laundering. The Government had also been involved in international cooperation to assist populations who were suffering from poverty and malnutrition and had been responsible for initiating more than 60 projects in Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America. Between now and 2015, the Government was committed to increasing its Overseas Development Aid to 0.7%.

· During the three-hour interactive discussion delegations noted a number of positive achievements of the State under review. These included the accession of the Principality of Monaco to most international human rights instruments; policies to promote gender equality; financial support and programmes aimed at assisting children in armed conflict; the active engagement of Monaco in international discussions on combating violence against children, combating poverty, assisting persons with disabilities and promoting an environment of freedom of expression and association, religion and belief; the establishment of the principle of the independence of the judiciary; the adoption of a law on combating racist acts in 2005; measures taken to combat domestic violence; the recent revisions to the Criminal Code, which guaranteed the rights of persons in police custody, particularly the right of such people to consult a lawyer of their choice; efforts to educate public officials and school children about the principles of human rights and fundamental freedoms; and the recent amendments to civil law which enabled the establishment of associations within the Principality.

· Issues and questions raised by the Working Group, comprised of the 47 members of the Council, and Observers participating in the interactive discussion related to, among other things, the status of establishing a national human rights institution in compliance with the Paris Principles; practical measures being taken to update labour legislation in Monaco; the status of ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; whether Monaco would review domestic laws as regards legal requirements for men and women wishing to acquire Monegasque nationality; the actions being undertaken or envisaged in favour of the most vulnerable and specifically older persons; and how the Government evaluated the initial implementation of legal measures against inciting hatred or violence.
Other issues pertained to specific measures to safeguard the right of the children when they were arrested and held in custody in Monaco’s Maison d’Arret; steps taken to ensure that freedom of expression was protected even with respect to the royal family; plans to adopt a legislation making domestic violence a criminal offence; plans to establish judicial procedures to protect women who were victims of domestic violence; the policy guidelines and institutional mechanisms in place to protect the interests of migrant workers in Monaco; and the latest situation with the legal reforms targeting the repeal of banishment of foreigners.

· A number of delegations also posed specific recommendations. These included: To set up a national human rights institution in compliance with the Paris Principles; to join the International Labour Organization as a member and accede to its relevant conventions; to ratify the Convention on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances; to ensure that the definition of terrorist acts in Monaco was in line with its human rights obligations; to consider ratifying the Rome Statute on the International Criminal Court; to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture; and to provide human rights training for State officials, judiciary and law enforcement officials.

Other recommendations included: To ensure that the provision for acquiring nationality be the same for women and men; to accede to the Optional Protocol to Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women; that the system of priorities in the employment sector did not imply discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, nationality, religion, language and ethnic and national origin; to consider steps to encourage the participation of women on the Government Council; to ensure that the social security regime should apply to all categories of workers in the State; to share experiences with other countries to prevent assaults and acts of violence based on racial discrimination; and to share best practices on its policies and programmes with respect to women, children, older persons, and persons with disabilities, as well as its educational programmes.

The Principality of Monaco was also encouraged to strengthen policies and programmatic responses to address domestic violence against women; to broaden criminal legislation regarding racist acts by considering racist motivations of criminal offences as an aggravating circumstance at the time of sentencing; to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; to ratify the Convention of the Rights of Migrant Workers and All Members of Their Families; to introduce human rights education, into the national school curricula at all levels, particularly that which focused on combating racism and racial discrimination; to amend privacy legislation to bring it in line with recommendations on video surveillance by the Human Rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe; to widen the opportunities for foreign inhabitants to participate actively in political life; and to uphold freedom of expression, including with respect to public denunciations of the royal family.

· Members States taking the floor during the interactive discussion were Brazil, the Netherlands, Italy, France, Mexico, India, Burkina Faso, Slovenia, Azerbaijan, China, Canada, the United Kingdom, Bangladesh, Germany, Argentina, Ukraine and the Philippines.

· Observer States participating in the discussion were Algeria, Sweden, the United States of America, the Republic of Congo, Turkey, Luxembourg, the Holy See, the Czech Republic, San Marino, Morocco and Singapore.

· The 13-person delegation of Monaco consisted of representatives of the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Office of the Director for Judicial Services, the Department of Social Affairs and Health, the Department of the Interior and the Permanent Mission of Monaco to the United Nations Office at Geneva.

· The three Council members serving as rapporteurs – troika - for the review of Monaco are Switzerland, China and Uruguay.

· In accordance with its institution-building package, the three documents on which State reviews should be based are information prepared by the State concerned, which could be presented either orally or in writing; information contained in the reports of treaty bodies and Special Procedures, to be compiled in a report by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); and information provided by other relevant stakeholders to the UPR including non-governmental organizations, national human rights institutions, human rights defenders, academic institutions and research institutes, regional organizations, as well as civil society representatives, also to be summarized by OHCHR in a separate document.

The reports on Monaco can be found here.
· The UPR Working Group is scheduled to adopt the report of Monaco on Wednesday, 6 May.
· When the UPR Working Group continues its work tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. it will review the fulfillment of human rights obligations by Belize.
Additional information on the Universal Periodic Review mechanism can be located at the UPR webpage - http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/UPRMain.aspx.
To access the webcast for the UPR session please visit http://www.un.org/webcast/unhrc/index.asp

Prince Albert II at September 2007 Inauguration of Monaco Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Address of Prince Albert II at September 2007 Inauguration of Embassy of Monaco in Washington, D.C.

Address by H.S.H. Prince Albert II at The Inauguration of the Residencein Washington on September 26, 2007

Mr. Ambassador, Madame, Your Excellencies, Madame Consul General, , distinguished Consuls of Monaco in the United States, Ladies and Gentlemen,
dear friends and dear family members, thank you all for being here. It’s wonderful to see, by your presence, the links between Monaco and the United States.

I’m particularly thrilled to be inaugurating Monaco’s Ambassador’s Residence here in Washington today with you. I’m delighted that Monegasque Diplomacy and Diplomatic Representation are now at an Ambassadorial Level. And I think this is only to highlight my personal commitment and that of the Principality to provide the necessary resources for deeper cooperation between Monaco and the United States.
I’m also moved today because my thoughts are obviously with my parents.
Especially with my Mother, since she was both of our countries’ most outstanding Ambassador and bound both of our countries in a very unique way.

As you know, I’m very fond of this country and harbor many happy memories of my early childhood and years after that. Summers with family members, summers at camp. There are a couple of people whom I went to camp with who are in this Embassy today. And of course, studying in Amherst College, then trying to learn some sort of insight and to make some sort of sense of what it means to be in Corporate America. And every time I spend time in this country, it brings back a whole lot of these fond memories. I think America instilled in me an appreciation for entrepreneurship and a deep respect for work as the only way to win. Also, it revealed to me the value of competition, not in order to dominate the other person but to surpass one’s self and find fulfillment. Returning to this land as I do fairly often, I embrace the immensity of its wide open spaces and the richness of a society founded on so many different ethnic origins. The inauguration of this Embassy marks a fresh impetus that I wish to bring to the relations - a long lasting and friendly relation between the Principality of Monaco and the United States of America.

These relations, as you know, were consolidated on December 8 of last year when His Excellency, Ambassador Gilles Nogh├Ęs, presented his Letters of credence to President Bush. And, five days later, His Excellency Craig Stapleton, the United States Non-Resident Ambassador, handed his Letters of Accreditation to me in the Principality. I had the pleasure of welcoming Ambassador Stapleton back to the Palace just a few days ago and used that opportunity to take another look at issues of common interests to both our Countries. Our mutual Ambassadors constitute a very visible expression of the close links that bind us.

I would also like to take this opportunity to salute the valuable work carried out by Mrs. Maguy Maccario-Doyle, who is our Consul General in New York City, and the equally indispensable efforts of the Principality’s six Honorary Consuls. Most of them are here today. It’s a real pleasure for me to see them again and to be able to keep up with their great work and I salute them and urge them to keep on going on that track.

Monaco shares the ideals and concerns of the United States, this I think you are all well aware of. Joining with the international community and the American government we will do everything possible to bring our efforts to the fight against terrorism in all its forms. A joint agreement pertaining to the proceeds of crime and the confiscation of goods signed by the Government of Monaco and the US government on the twenty fourth of March of this year bears witness to this.
Our American friends know that they will always receive a particularly warm welcome in the Principality and the image I would like you all and like our American friends to take away from Monaco is that of a Country that may be small in size but is driven by an unsuspected capacity to rise to challenge. It is inspired by the same values of freedom.

And we also remain open as our American friends do, to the great issues of our time. At the forefront of these issues, I think you know my commitment to the environment. And, as you know, not only has Monaco over the past ten years done tremendous efforts in terms of cooperation with other countries on environmental projects, but I felt it was time for me to do more. And so that’s why I set up in June of last year my own Foundation solely devoted to the environment.

We have three main areas that we have concentrated on, that is: the protection of biodiversity, the studies on climate change and on new energies, and also on the excruciatingly serious concerns about water and about water management. And so, with this new Foundation, we are working currently on 30 different projects that have been approved by our Scientific Board and by the Board of Trustees. We have decided to expand and to have satellite committees in different countries.

I am delighted to say that there will be a Prince of Albert II Monaco Foundation arm in the United States. I am very grateful and pleased that my cousin, John Kelly, has accepted to chair this group. And so, this arm of the Foundation will be happy to work with different entities in this country.

Thanks to Monaco’s Embassy in Washington, our two countries will now become still greater friends, building on the close links that we have already nurtured together. I think Isaac Newton said many years ago that, “man builds more walls than he does bridges.” I believe that both of our countries have been fortunate to build many bridges of friendship over the years. Let’s hope by working together that we will not only keep these bridges strong, that we’ll keep them open for ever.
Thank you very much.