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TITLE:  LIECHTENSTEIN HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1993                         
DATE:  JANAURY 31, 1994
AUTHOR:  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE

                       LIECHTENSTEIN


The Principality of Liechtenstein is a constitutional monarchy 
and parliamentary democracy whose present Constitution dates 
from 1921.  The reigning Prince is the Head of State.  All 
legislation adopted by the unicameral legislature (Landtag) 
must have his concurrence.  The Government, whose members are 
proposed by the Landtag and appointed by the Prince, is 
responsible for the entire administration of the State.  After 
the Head of Government lost a confidence vote in September, 
Parliament voted, pursuant to constitutional procedure, to ask 
the Prince to remove him from office.  Instead, the Prince, 
citing the lack of legitimacy for any new government head, 
dissolved Parliament and scheduled elections for October.  The 
Vaterlaendishe Union won an absolute majority of seats but 
chose to govern again with its former coalition partner, 
Fortschrittliche Burgerliche Partei.

The Principality's police force maintains internal order and is 
aided by a part-time auxiliary police force.  Both 
organizations are under the control of the elected Government 
and operate under procedures consistent with respect for human 
rights.

Despite its small size (29,386 population of which over 
one-third are noncitizen resident foreigners) and limited 
natural resources, Liechtenstein has developed during the last 
3 decades from a rural agrarian society into a prosperous, 
highly industrialized, free enterprise economy with an 
important service sector.  Through a 1923 treaty, it 
participates in a customs union with Switzerland and uses the 
Swiss franc as its national currency.  Liechtenstein voted on 
December 13, 1992 to join the European Economic Area (EEA).  
Unemployment stood at 1.2 percent in 1993.  The people of 
Liechtenstein enjoy a very high standard of living.

Individual human rights are ensured by the Constitution and 
protected in practice.


RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

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

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

There is no history of politically motivated or other 
extrajudicial killing, and none is known to have occurred in 
1993.

     b.  Disappearance

There have been no known abductions, secret arrests, or 
clandestine detentions.

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

Torture and cruel punishment are prohibited by law, and there 
were no reports of violations.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

Freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention is guaranteed by 
law and observed in practice.  Any person detained by the 
authorities must appear before an examining magistrate not 
later than 24 hours after arrest.  The magistrate must either 
state formal charges or release the prisoner.  The right to 
legal counsel is guaranteed.  If the accused cannot afford 
representation, the State provides the cost of defense.  
Release on personal recognizance or bail is granted unless the 
examining magistrate believes the person is a danger to society 
or will not appear for trial.  There is no provision in the 
legal system for exile, and it does not occur.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

The judiciary is separated from the executive and legislative 
branches.  The Constitution provides for public trials and 
judicial appeal.  Liechtenstein has a three-tier system of 
courts:  Lower Court, High Court, and Supreme Court.  The 
Constitution provides also for an administrative court, which 
hears appeals against government decisions.  A State Court, 
which protects the rights accorded by the Constitution, decides 
on conflicts of jurisdiction between the law courts and the 
administrative authorities and acts as a disciplinary court for 
members of the Government.

There are no political prisoners.

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

The Constitution provides for personal liberty and the 
inviolability of the home and of letters and telephone 
conversations, including the freedom from wiretaps.  Police 
need a judicial warrant to search private property.  No 
violations have been reported.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

An independent press, effective judiciary, and democratic 
political system combine to ensure freedom of speech and 
press.  There are two newspapers, each representing the 
interests of one of the two major political parties.  There are 
no private television or radio broadcasting facilities within 
the Principality, but residents receive radio and television 
broadcasts from neighboring Switzerland, Austria, and Germany, 
and many are also cable television subscribers.

There is one government-owned television station.  A suit 
brought to protest the exclusive use of the channel by the 
Government during the 1992 EEA debate was thrown out of court.  
The Government granted permission for a private radio station 
to be established in 1994, contingent on 50-percent ownership 
by citizens of Liechtenstein.  Academic freedom is respected.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The freedoms of assembly and association are protected by the 
Constitution and observed in practice.  Although permits must 
be obtained for public meetings and demonstrations, they are 
routinely given.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

Liechtenstein enjoys religious freedom.  The state church is 
Roman Catholic, and 87 percent of the population practices that 
faith.  The finances of the state church are integrated 
directly into the budgets of the national and local 
government.  Catholic or Protestant religious education is a 
compulsory part of the school curriculum, although parents may 
request government permission to exempt their offspring.  Other 
denominations are entitled to practice their faiths and to hold 
religious services.  Foreign clergy are free to perform their 
duties.

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

Citizens have the freedom to travel in or outside the country 
and can emigrate without difficulty.  There is no restriction 
on repatriation of citizens from abroad.  As Liechtenstein has 
no airport or international train station, it is not a country 
of first asylum.  The few applicants for asylum are returned to 
the authorities of one of the two neighboring entry points, 
Switzerland or Austria.  Liechtenstein seeks assurances from 
the two countries that asylees will not be forced to return to 
countries in which they have reason to fear persecution.

Liechtenstein's asylum policy was put to the test in October, 
when 18 Tibetan refugees arrived in the country, claiming 
persecution in Tibet.  They were granted permission to stay for 
3 months.  The Prime Minister said that they would not be 
returned to Tibet.  Liechtenstein is discussing the matter with 
Switzerland and Austria.  If the refugees make formal 
application for asylum, it would require an act of Parliament 
to grant the request.

Despite the lack of asylum law, Liechtenstein does make 
provision for refugees on a case-by-case basis.  In 1993 
Liechtenstein accepted 44 Bosnian refugees who will be 
permitted to remain at least until the violence in their 
homeland ends.

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

The monarchy is hereditary in the male line.  The unicameral 
legislature, comprising 25 deputies, is elected by the people 
every 4 years by proportional representation.  The Constitution 
provides for the right to vote, which is universal, equal, 
secret, and direct.  A coalition of the two major political 
parties, the Vaterlaendische Union and the Fortschrittliche 
Burgerpartei, has formed the Government since 1938.  Although 
there are historical differences between these two parties, as 
well as disagreements over some local issues, a high degree of 
political consensus exists.  The rights of emerging opposition 
and splinter groups are respected.  For the first time in 55 
years, in 1992 a third party, the Freie Liste, which focuses on 
environmental issues, entered the legislature.

In late August Head of Government Marcus Buechel was asked by 
his own party to step down because he allegedly misinformed and 
ignored them.  He refused to resign, even after a parliamentary 
vote of no confidence on September 14.  Subsequently the 
Parliament voted, pursuant to constitutional procedure, to ask 
the Prince to remove Buechel.  The Prince instead dissolved 
Parliament and called for new elections.  The elections were 
held in late October.  The Vaterlaendishe Union won an absolute 
majority of parliamentary seats but chose to govern again in 
coalition with its former Fortschrittliche Burgerliche Partei 
partners  Mario Frick was installed as Prime Minister on 
December 15.

The electorate regularly makes use of its right to participate 
in initiatives and referendum.  Women gained the right to vote 
in national elections in 1984 and have exercised this right.  
The Landtag presently has two female members.  The Executive 
Council of Five contains two women, one of whom participated 
also in the previous government.  All major parties have 
committees to address the concerns of women.

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

The only known human rights group based in Liechtenstein, 
Justitia, is an informal group of several persons who monitor 
prison conditions and assist foreign workers with immigration 
matters.  Justitia was founded by church members to address the 
needs of Liechtenstein's marginalized persons and operates 
without government restriction.

There have been no requests for the investigation of human 
rights violations.

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

There is no legal discrimination on the basis of race, 
language, or social status.  There were no reported incidents 
of abuse of minorities.  Of the resident foreigners, 87 percent 
are from Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and Italy.  The 
remainder is composed of citizens of Turkey, Spain, Greece, and 
the former Yugoslavia.  It is possible for foreigners who have 
been resident in Liechtenstein for 5 years to become citizens 
through an acceptance vote of the local community.  The process 
is expedited for wives and children of citizens.

     Women

A 1992 constitutional amendment guaranteed women equality under 
the law.  All relevant statutes concerning citizenship and 
residency rights, social security and unemployment insurance, 
education, taxation, and conditions in the workplace are to be 
revised to conform to this equal rights amendment and must be 
presented to Parliament before 1996.  Revisions of the law 
became linked to Liechtenstein's entry into the EEA, which was 
projected to take place in mid-1994.  For instance, legislation 
to give women equal pay for equal work is to enter into force 
with Liechtenstein's entry into the EEA.

Several groups monitor and promote women's rights.  They report 
that the Government is cooperative with respect to their 
concerns and in some cases provides financial support.  The 
social and traditional discrimination that still persists 
hinders opportunities for women in fields that have been 
traditionally dominated by men, and at present there are no 
legal means to redress discrimination.  Wife beating is 
prohibited by law and is prosecuted in practice.  Liechtenstein 
has facilities through which women who are victims of violence 
may obtain help and counseling.  In 1993, 536 women were 
sheltered overnight because of violence or threat of violence 
from a spouse or partner.

     Children

There is no pattern of societal abuse against children.  The 
Government supports programs intended to protect the rights of 
children and matches contributions made to the four 
nongovernmental organizations involved in children's rights 
concerns.

     People with Disabilities

Liechtenstein has not legislated accessibility for the 
disabled.  Government programs to provide supplemental 
financial support for disabled persons are being revised.  An 
organization dedicated to promoting the interests and rights of 
the disabled works together with international disabled rights 
organizations.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

Labor-management relations in Liechtenstein are conducted 
according to the Swiss Code of Obligations.  All workers, 
including foreign workers in Liechtenstein, have the freedom to 
associate, join the unions of their choice, and select their 
union representatives.  The existing social peace, in part due 
to the high standard of living, has resulted in a low demand 
for organized worker representation.  The one trade union 
comprises 13 percent of the work force but looks after the 
interest of nonmembers as well.  It is a member of the World 
Confederation of Labor, although it is represented at meetings 
by the Swiss National Christian Trade Union.

Workers have the right to strike except in certain work 
categories, as outlined in work contracts and agreed to by the 
employees concerned.  Labor unrest is virtually nonexistent.  
No strikes are known to have taken place in the last 25 years.  

Liechtenstein's law does not have specific protections for 
strikers.  Employers may dismiss employees for "refusal to 
work."  Such dismissals may be contested.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

The law provides workers the right to organize and bargain 
collectively.  This right is recognized for all professions.  
Because of Liechtenstein's reliance on Swiss practice, 
collective bargaining agreements are, as a practical matter, 
generally adapted from similar agreements already negotiated by 
Swiss industry.  Agreements so adopted have not been contested 
in the past 25 years.  The last such agreement came into force 
in January 1989 in the metals industry.

There are no export processing zones.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

Forced or compulsory labor is prohibited by law and does not 
exist in practice.


     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

The employment of children under the age of 15 is prohibited.  
Children are required to remain in school for 9 years.  Child 
labor laws are enforced by the Government, and adolescent 
workers are provided special protection by law.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

There is no national minimum wage; wages are high.  The law 
sets the maximum workweek at 45 hours for white collar workers 
and employees of industrial firms.  The maximum in other areas 
is 50 hours.  In practice, the average workweek is 40 to 43 
hours.  Workers under the age of 20 receive a minimum of 5 
weeks of vacation.  After they are 20 they receive a minimum of 
4 weeks.

Occupational health and safety standards are set by law and 
protect the worker in the workplace.  A safe working 
environment is enforced by the Department for Worker Safety.  
The trade union also monitors working conditions.  There were 
no allegations of worker rights abuses, other than disputes 
over contractual obligations.


[end of document]

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