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TITLE:  ANDORRA HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1993                            
DATE:  JANUARY 31, 1994


The Principality of Andorra became a parliamentary democracy in 
March 1993 when its Constitution was approved by popular 
referendum.  Andorra had been governed by two co-princes 
representing secular and religious authority since 1278.  Under 
the new Constitution, the two Co-Princes, the President of 
France and the Spanish Bishop of Seu d'Urgell, serve coequally 
as Heads of State.  Elections were held in December to choose 
members of the Consell General, the Parliament, which selects 
the Head of Government.  Members of the judiciary are appointed 
for 6-year terms.  Andorra has no defense forces and only a 
small internal police force.

For centuries Andorra's economy was based on agriculture, 
mainly sheep raising and tobacco growing.  In recent years 
Andorra thrived on its duty-free status within the European 
Community (EC).  Tourism boomed and dozens of luxury stores, 
hotels, and restaurants were built.  With creation of the EC 
Unified Market, however, Andorra lost its privileged status and 
suffers from economic recession.  Tourism is still an important 
source of income, especially during the skiing season, but has 
fallen dramatically.  Due to banking secrecy laws, the 
financial service sector is growing in importance.  Many 
immigrant workers live in poor conditions.

In 1989 the European Parliament (EP) concluded that human 
rights, as they are defined in the European Convention on Human 
Rights, were generally respected in Andorra.  However, the EP 
expressed uncertainty regarding the exercise of the right of 
association, noting that although not strictly forbidden, there 
were no political parties.  It expressed concern also about the 
lack of labor unions and the absence of many social benefits 
common to other countries in the European Community.  With the 
approval of a new Constitution in 1993, a process of 
potentially significant political change commenced.  The 
Constitution proclaims as basic principles respect for the 
promotion of liberty, equality, justice, tolerance, defense of 
human rights, and dignity of the person.  The rights of free 
association and assembly are guaranteed, but the Constitution 
is unclear regarding the right to strike.

Only Andorran citizens, who represent 18 percent of the total 
population, are eligible to vote.  Until 1992 only those born 
in Andorra of at least one Andorran parent could become 
citizens.  That was broadened in October 1992 to include 
long-term residents and spouses of Andorran citizens.


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

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

There was no evidence of any form of political or other 
extrajudicial killing.  There have been no reports of deaths 
due to excessive police brutality.

     b.  Disappearance

There are no known instances of politically motivated 

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

The Constitution guarantees all persons the "right to physical 
and moral integrity" and states that no one shall be subjected 
to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or 
punishment.  These rights are honored in practice.  There have 
been no cases of torture, cruel and inhuman punishment, or 
grievous injury by police or prison personnel.  Penal 
conditions are exemplary.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

There are constitutional guarantees against arbitrary arrest or 
detention.  Charges must be brought within 48 hours of arrest.  
The Constitution protects citizens' rights to due process of 
law.  It provides for the accused's right to legal counsel, and 
free legal counsel is provided to indigents.  It also provides 
for the presumption of innocence, the right to trial within a 
reasonable time (prisoners awaiting trial may be held only up 
to 3 months), to be informed of charges and not to testify 
against oneself, and the right to appeal.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

The Constitution calls for an independent judiciary, and in 
practice it is free of executive branch interference.  Justice 
is organized and administered by the five-member Superior 
Council of Justice.  One member each is appointed by the two 
Co-Princes, the Head of Government, the President of the 
Parliament (known as the Syndic) and collectively by members of 
the lower courts (magistrates and bailiffs).  Constitutional 
issues and appeals are decided by a separate Supreme Court.  A 
public prosecution system enforces the law and supervises the 

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

The Constitution protects Andorrans from unlawful interference 
with their "privacy, honor, and reputation."  Private dwellings 
are considered inviolable.  No searches of any private premises 
may be conducted without a juridically issued warrant.  Private 
communications also are protected by law.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

Freedom of expression, of communication, and of information is 
constitutionally protected and respected in practice.  
Preliminary censorship or any other means of ideological 
control on the part of the public authorities is prohibited.  
One radio station operates in Andorra, and two newspapers and 
three weekly magazines are published there.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The Constitution respects the right to meet and assemble for 
any lawful purpose.  Under the new Constitution adopted in 
March, political parties are permitted for the first time.  
Political parties and workers' organizations tend to be 
centered on political personalities rather than formal party 

     c.  Freedom of Religion

The Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, and it is 
respected in practice.  The Constitution also acknowledges a 
special relationship between the Roman Catholic Church and the 
State "in accordance with Andorran tradition."  The Catholic 
Church receives no subsidies from the Government.

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

There are no restrictions on domestic or foreign travel or on 
emigration or repatriation.  Andorra has no formal asylum 
policy, and at year's end had no political refugess in 
residence.  However, Andorra has a long tradition of providing 
asylum to refugees.  Asylum requests are evaluated on a 
case-by-case basis.

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

Andorra has made sweeping political changes in the last decade 
or so, progressing from a basically feudal system to a 
parliamentary democracy.  It had been governed by two 
Co-Princes since 1278 when the Principality was formed by 
agreement between the Spanish Bishop of Seu d'Urgell and the 
French Count de Foix.  The French title passed to the kings of 
Navarre and then to the kings of France (1607).  Andorra's 
feudal status caused the French to break their ties following 
the French Revolution, but in 1806 Napoleon reestablished the 
link at Andorra's request.  The title of co-prince devolved 
onto the President of France.  The Co-Princes are represented 
in Andorra by delegates (delegados); in addition, the French 
and Spanish Governments now have ambassadors in Andorra's 
capital, Andorra la Vella.

Andorra's Parliament dates from 1419.  The Consell de la Terra 
was created to deal with abuses by the Co-Princes.  The Consell 
General, which replaced it in 1868, broadened the participation 
of Andorrans in their own affairs.  Elections have been held 
every 4 years to select four representatives from each of 
Andorra's seven parishes.  The Consell is presided over by the 
Syndic and, since 1981, elects the head of government.

The establishment of the Executive Council in 1981 was a major 
step toward democracy.  The Council, composed of the Head of 
Government and four counselors, took over the day-to-day 
governing of the country.  However, the Co-Princes, Consell 
General, and Head of Government deadlocked more than once over 
proposed changes.  A draft Constitution clearly separating 
executive, legislative, and judicial powers was finally 
completed 12 years later.  More than 70 percent of eligible 
voters participated in the referendum which approved the new 
Constitution in March.  Elections were held in December for new 
members of the Consell General.  The Consell General selected a 
new Head of Government, Oscar Ribas, in January 1994.

Women have played a relatively minor role in Andorran 
politics.  They have enjoyed full suffrage only since 1970.  
Few women have run for office in the years since, and only two 
have held cabinet-level posts in the Government.  Only 1 of the 
28 Deputies in the new Consell General is a woman.  There are 
no formal barriers to the participation of women in Andorran 
politics; however, it is a conservative society, resistant to 
social change, and access to its closed world of politics is 
very difficult.

A most important change brought about by the new Constitution 
was the partial democratization of the Consell General.  
Previously, representatives were elected by parish, which gave 
more weight to the less populous parishes.  In some cases the 
differences were quite substantial.  Under the new arrangement 
half will be elected by parish and half according to population.

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

While there are no government restrictions to prevent it, no 
group to monitor human rights in the country has been formed.

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

The Constitution declares that "all persons are considered 
equal before the law and prohibits discrimination on grounds of 
birth, race, sex, origin, religion, opinions, or any other 
personal or social condition," although Andorran law grants 
many rights and privileges exclusively to citizens.

Until 1992 only those born in Andorran territory to at least 
one Andorran parent were considered citizens.  Under new 
legislation, citizenship may be granted to those born to 
foreign parents and living in Andorra since 1975, to those 
living continuously in Andorra since prior to January 1960, and 
to those married to Andorrans, provided they have lived in 
Andorra continuously for 3 years.  The law does not permit dual 
nationality.  The new Constitution grants noncitizens the right 
to own businesses, previously not allowed.

The largest group of foreign residents are Spanish nationals, 
who make up 47 percent of the population.  Other considerable 
foreign groups are the French, Portuguese, British, and 
Italian.  A relatively small number of North African and 
African immigrant workers are employed mostly in agriculture 
and construction.

Immigrant workers do not enjoy equal rights with Andorran 
citizens.  They lack many social benefits paid to residents and 
in many cases live in deplorable conditions.  The cost of 
living in Andorra is quite high, and workers employed in 
low-wage industries often cannot afford the normal housing 
costs.  Many of them live in trailers or crowded apartments, 
with as many as 8 or 10 people sharing quarters designed for 
4.  Many such workers are in Andorra on temporary work 
permits.  These permits are valid only as long as the job 
exists for which the permit was obtained.  A worker hired on a 
temporary contract loses his work permit when the contract 
expires; if unable to find new employment, the worker quickly 
becomes an undocumented alien with no visible means of support 
and is therefore deportable.


There is no legal discrimination against women, either 
privately or professionally.  There are no available data on 
the incidence and handling of domestic violence cases.  (See 
also Section 3.)


There is no evidence of any special commitment to children's 
rights and welfare, although there is no indication of any 
problems in this area.

     People with Disabilities

Some, but not all, public buildings and public places provide 
facilities for handicapped access.  Government spokesmen affirm 
that there is no discrimination against people with 

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

Article 18 of the Constitution recognizes the right of all 
persons "to form and maintain managerial, professional, and 
trade union associations without prejudice."  The Constitution 
provides that a Registry of Associations is to be established 
(through future legislation) and maintained.  At year's end, 
there were no labor unions in Andorra.  Though government 
officials said this was because no organizations had applied 
for recognition, the nonofficial Sindicato Andorrano de 
Trabajadores (Andorran Workers' Union - SAT) reported that it 
did apply for official recognition last spring, but there was 
no response to the application.  The SAT plans to reapply after 
the new government is in place.  Strikes were illegal under the 
old system, and the new Constitution does not state explicitly 
that strikes are permitted.  This issue is to be addressed by a 
law on worker rights which was under preparation at year's end.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

Article 19 of the Constitution states both "workers and 
employers have the right to defend their own economic and 
social interests."  There is an official minimum wage, set by 
government regulations.  Other, higher wages are established by 
contract.  The Parliament is charged with adopting legislation 
to regulate conditions governing the exercise of this right so 
as to guarantee the functioning of essential services to the 
community.  Unbiased observers note that the threat of 
immediate dismissal is a powerful deterrent to any complaints 
from workers, especially as there is no unemployment 
insurance.  This strongly inhibits workers from organizing 
effectively to press their case.  Antiunion discrimination is 
not prohibited under current law; this issue, too, is to be 
addressed in the draft legislation on workers' rights.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

Forced labor is not specifically probibited by law, but it has 
never been an issue.  There is no forced labor in Andorra.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

Children under the age of 18 are normally prohibited from 
working although in exceptional circumstances children who are 
only 16 may be allowed to work.  Child labor regulations are 
enforced by the Labor Inspection Office within the Ministry of 
Social Welfare, Public Health, and Labor.  That office does not 
routinely inspect workplaces but responds to complaints.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

The workweek is limited to 40 hours, although longer hours may 
be required.  The legal maximums for overtime hours are 66 
hours per month and 426 hours per year.  The minimum wage is 
approximately $4.50 per hour, which is nationally mandated.  In 
principle, it is enforced by the Labor Inspection Office, but 
self-enforcement by custom is the norm.  The current minimum 
wage is inadequate for a worker and family in Andorra, where 
living costs are quite high.

Complaints center on the lack of job security--workers may be 
dismissed without notice and receive social security and health 
benefits for only 25 days; thereafter, there is no unemployment 
insurance.  Foreign workers who contribute to the social 
security system are ineligible to receive retirement benefits 
if they do not remain in Andorra after retirement; however, 
they may apply for a lump-sum reimbursement of social security 
contributions when they leave the country.  Retirement benefits 
are controlled by a board composed of Andorran nationals, 
although they represent only a small portion of the work 
force.  There is no special court or board to hear labor 

The Government sets occupational health and safety standards, 
but enforcement is very loose, as there are no routine 
inspections.  There is no legislation giving workers the right 
to remove themselves from dangerous work situations without 
jeopardy to their continued employment.

[end of document]


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