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Title:  Liechtenstein Human Rights Practices, 1995
Author:  U.S. Department of State
Date:  March 1996


The Principality of Liechtenstein is a constitutional monarchy and 
parliamentary democracy.  The reigning Prince is the Head of State; all 
legislation enacted by the popularly elected Parliament (Landtag) must 
have his concurrence.  The Landtag elects and the Prince appoints the 
members of the Government and of the functionally independent judiciary.  
The Constitution authorizes the Prince to alter criminal sentences or 
pardon offenders; however, if the offender is a member of the Government 
and is sentenced for violating an official duty, the Prince can take 
such action only if the Landtag requests it.

The Interior Ministry effectively oversees the regular and auxiliary 
police forces.  There is no standing military force.  

Despite its small size and limited natural resources, Liechtenstein has 
developed during recent decades from an agrarian society into a 
prosperous, highly industrialized, free-enterprise economy with a vital 
service sector.  It participates in a customs union with Switzerland and 
uses the Swiss franc as its national currency.  As a result of complex 
negotiations held with member states of the European Economic Area and 
Switzerland, and a national referendum held in April, Liechtenstein is 
simultaneously a member of the European Economic Area.  Citizens enjoy a 
very high standard of living.  Unemployment was only 0.9 percent in 

The Government fully respects the human rights of its citizens provided 
for in the Constitution, and the law and judiciary provide effective 
means of dealing with instances of individual abuse.  Domestic violence 
against women is not a problem; existing societal discrimination against 
women is being eliminated in accordance with government policy.


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

  a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

There were no reports of political or other extrajudicial killings.  

  b.  Disappearance

There were no reports of disappearances.

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

The law prohibits torture and cruel punishment, and there were no 
reports of the use of such methods.

Prison conditions meet minimum international standards, and the 
Government permits visits by human rights monitors.

  d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

The law provides for freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention, and 
the authorities honor these provisions.  Within 24 hours of arrest, the 
police must bring the suspect before an examining magistrate, who must 
either press formal charges or order release.  The law grants suspects 
the right to legal counsel of their own choosing, at no cost if the 
suspect is indigent.  Release on personal recognizance or bail is 
granted unless the examining magistrate has reason to believe the person 
is a danger to society or will not appear for trial.

There is no provision for exile, and it does not occur.

  e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

The judiciary is independent of the executive and legislative branches.  
It has three tiers: lower court, high court, and Supreme Court.  In 
addition, an Administrative Court hears appeals against government 
decisions.  Also, a State Court 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.

The Constitution provides for public trials and judicial appeal, and the 
authorities respect these provisions.

There were no reports of political prisoners.

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

The Constitution provides for personal liberty, and for inviolability of 
the home, of postal correspondence, and of telephone conversations.  No 
violations were reported.  Police need a judicial warrant to search 
private property.  

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

  a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

An independent press, an effective judiciary, and a democratic political 
system combine to ensure freedom of speech and the press.  Two daily 
newspapers are published, each representing the interests of one of the 
two major political parties, and one weekly news magazine.  There is a 
state-owned television station and a private radio station, but 
residents freely receive radio and television broadcasts from abroad.

The Government respects academic freedom.

  b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The Constitution provides for freedom of assembly and association, and 
the authorities do not interfere with these rights in practice.  

  c.  Freedom of Religion

The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the Government 
does not hamper the teaching or practice of any faith.  The finances of 
the Roman Catholic Church are integrated directly into the budgets of 
the national and local governments.  Churches also receive financial 
contributions from their members on a voluntary basis.  Roman Catholic 
or Protestant religious education is compulsory in all schools, but the 
authorities routinely grant exemptions for children whose parents so 

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

Citizens have unrestricted freedom to travel in or outside the country, 
to emigrate, and to return.  The country's lack of an airport or 
international train station precludes it from being a country of first 
asylum.  An asylum law is in preparation; Parliament decides case by 
case on each application.  In late 1994, it granted preliminary work 
permits, valid through 1996, to a group of 18 Tibetans who arrived in 
October 1993.  Their status remains subject to further determination.  
In addition, 295 refugees from the former Yugoslavia (corresponding to 1 
percent of the population) received permission to stay until April 1996, 
also subject to annual extensions.  An additional 40 Yugoslav refugees 
and 2 Algerians whose status was not yet formalized by year's end were 
also admitted.  Those entering to cross the Austrian frontier without 
permission are sent to Austrian authorities in accordance with a 
bilateral agreement.  Those entering from a third country through 
Switzerland are dealt with on a case by case basis.  A solution is 
sought which would avoid forcing people to return to a country where 
they would be subject to persecution on political, religious, or racial 

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

The monarchy is hereditary in the male line.  The 25-member unicameral 
legislature is elected every 4 years.  Suffrage is universal for adults 
over age 20, and balloting is secret.  A two-party coalition has formed 
the Government since 1938.  Other parties operate freely; one currently 
has a seat in 

Parliament.  The Government regularly puts initiatives and referendums 
to popular vote.

Since women gained the right to vote in 1984, a growing number have been 
active in politics.  Two women are Members of Parliament, and two--one 
the Foreign Minister--are among the five members of the Cabinet.  Women 
serve on the executive committees in the major parties.

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

The sole local human rights organization, Justitia Et Pax, is an 
informal group of about 10 persons who monitor prison conditions and 
assist foreign workers with immigration matters.

There have been no requests from any source for investigation of human 
rights violations.

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

The law prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, language, or 
social status, and the authorities respect these provisions.  


The 1994 report provided an inaccurate description of the level of 
domestic violence against women.  Domestic violence is not a societal 
problem.  The total number of victims of domestic violence in 1994 was 
21 rather than 670.  (The latter figure actually represented the total 
number of nights spent in Liechtenstein's shelter, not the number of 
victims.)  Of the 21 women involved, 18 were from adjoining areas of 
neighboring countries.  In 1995, 30 women sought shelter and were given 
assistance due to violence or threats from a spouse or male partner.  Of 
the 30 victims, 21 were from adjoining areas of neighboring countries, 6 
were foreign nationals residing in Liechtenstein, and 3 were 
Liechtenstein nationals.  The law prohibits wife beating, and the 
Government prosecutes abusers.

Societal discrimination still limits opportunities for women in fields 
traditionally dominated by men.  However, a 1992 constitutional 
amendment provided for equality for women under the law and requires the 
Parliament to revise, by the end of 1996, all laws relevant to this 
provision.  Accordingly, Parliamentary committees have been working on 
revision of the statutes concerning citizenship, education, employment 
conditions, taxation, and other matters.  Liechtenstein ratified the 
U.N. Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination 
against Women in 1995.


The Government supports programs to protect the rights of children and 
matches contributions made to the four nongovernmental organizations 
monitoring children's rights.  There is no pattern of societal abuse 
against children.  Liechtenstein ratified the U.N. Convention on the 
Rights of the Child and deposited the instruments of ratification in 

  People with Disabilities

Although the law does not expressly prohibit discrimination against 
people with disabilities, complaints of such discrimination may be 
pursued in the courts.

The Government has required that buildings or government services be 
made accessible for people with disabilities.  

Section 6  Worker Rights

  a.  The Right of Association

All workers, including foreigners, are free to associate, join unions of 
their choice, and select their own union representatives.  The sole 
trade union represents 13 percent of the work force, but it looks after 
the interests of nonmembers as well.  It is a member of the World 
Confederation of Labor but is represented on an ad hoc basis by a Swiss 

Workers have the right to strike except in certain essential services.  
No strikes are known to have taken place in the last 26 years.  The law 
does not provide specific protection 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 for the right of workers to organize and bargain 
collectively.  However, collective bargaining agreements are generally 
adapted from ones negotiated by Swiss employers and unions.

There are no export processing zones.

  c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

The law prohibits forced or compulsory labor, and there were no reports 
of violations.  

  d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

The law generally prohibits employment of children under age 16; 
however, exceptions may be made, under certain 

circumstances, for some employment of youths older than age 13 and for 
those leaving school after age 14.

  e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

There is no national minimum wage, but even the lowest actual wages 
afford a decent living for workers and their families.  The law sets the 
maximum workweek at 45 hours for white-collar workers and employees of 
industrial firms and sales personnel, and 50 hours for all other 
workers.  The actual workweek is usually 40 to 43 hours.  With few 
exceptions, Sunday work is not allowed.  Workers over age 20 receive at 
least 4 weeks of vacation; younger ones, at least 5 weeks.

The law sets occupational health and safety standards, and the 
Department for Worker Safety of the Office of the National Economy 
effectively enforces these provisions.


[end of document]


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