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Founded in 1215 as a colony of Genoa, Monaco has been ruled by the House of Grimaldi since 1297, except when under French control from 1789 to 1814. Designated as a protectorate of Sardinia from 1815 until 1860 by the Treaty of Vienna, Monaco's sovereignty was recognized by the Franco-Monegasque Treaty of 1861. The Prince of Monaco was an absolute ruler until a constitution was promulgated in 1911.

In July 1918, a treaty was signed providing for limited French protection over Monaco. The treaty, formally noted in the Treaty of Versailles, established that Monegasque policy would be aligned with French political, military, and economic interests.

Prince Rainier III, the ruler of Monaco, acceded to the throne following the death of his grandfather, Prince Louis II, in 1949. The heir apparent, Prince Albert, was born in 1958.

A new constitution, proclaimed in 1962, abolished capital punishment, provided for female suffrage, and established a Supreme Court to guarantee fundamental liberties.

In 1993, Monaco became an official member of the United Nations with full voting rights.

The Principality of Monaco is the second-smallest independent state in the world, after the Holy See (Vatican City). It is located on the Mediterranean coast, 18 kilometers (11 mi.) east of Nice, France, and is surrounded on three sides by France. Monaco is divided into four sections: Monaco-Ville, the old city on a rocky promontory extending into the Mediterranean; La Condamine, the section along the port; Monte-Carlo, the principal residential and resort area; and Fontvieille, a newly constructed area reclaimed from the sea.

The principality is noted for its beautiful natural scenery and mild, sunny climate. The average minimum temperature in January and February is 8oC (47oF); in July and August the average maximum temperature is 26oC (78oF).

In 2001, Monaco's population was estimated at 32,020, with an estimated average growth rate of 0.46%.

French is the official language; English, Italian, and Monegasque (a blend of French and Italian) also are spoken. The literacy rate is 99%. Roman Catholicism is the official religion, with freedom of other religions guaranteed by the constitution.

SOCIO-ECONOMIC SYSTEM

Monaco, located on the Mediterranean coast, has an economy primarily geared toward finance, commerce, and tourism. Low taxes have drawn many foreign companies to Monaco and account for around 50% of the 593 million annual government income (2002). Similarly, tourism accounts for close to 25% of the annual revenue, as the Principality of Monaco also has been a major center for tourism ever since its famed casino was established in 1856.

Customs, postal services, telecommunications, and banking in Monaco are governed by an economic and customs union with France. The official currency is the euro.

Though official economic statistics are not published, 1999 estimates place the national product at $870 million and the per capita income at $27,000. The unemployment rate is low, at 3.1% (1998).

Monaco is noted for its activity in the field of marine sciences. Its Oceanographic Museum, formerly directed by Jacques Cousteau, is one of the most renowned institutions of its kind in the world. Monaco imports and exports products and services from all over the world. There is no commercial agriculture in Monaco.

The legal minimum wage for full-time work is the French minimum wage, which at year's end was $7.10 (6.83 euros), plus 5 percent. The 5 percent adjustment was intended to compensate for the travel costs of the three-quarters of the workforce who commuted daily from France. The minimum wage provided a decent standard of living for a worker and family. Most workers received more than the minimum. The legal workweek was 39 hours. The Government allows companies to reduce the workweek to 35 hours if they so choose. Health and safety standards are fixed by law and government decree. These standards were enforced by health and safety committees in the workplace and by the government Labor Inspector. Workers have the right to remove themselves from dangerous work situations.

Workers in Monaco are free to form unions, but fewer than 10 percent of workers were unionized in 2003, and relatively few workers, unionized or nonunionized, resided in the Principality. Unions were independent of both the Government and political parties.

The law provides for the free exercise of union activity, and workers exercised this right in practice. Agreements on working conditions were negotiated between organizations representing employers in a given sector of the economy and the respective union. Collective bargaining is protected by law; however, it was used rarely.

The Constitution provides for the right to strike in conformity with relevant legislation; however, government workers may not strike. There were no strikes during the year.

Monaco, along with France and the other 11 members of the European Monetary Union (EMU), adopted the euro as its official currency on January 1, 2002. As in other EMU states, Euros minted in Monaco have special Monegasque features on one side of the coin.

BELIEFS

The law provides for freedom of religion, and the Government generally respected this right in practice. Roman Catholicism is the state religion.

No missionaries operated in the principality and proselytizing was strongly discouraged; however, there is no law against proselytizing by religious organizations formally registered by the Ministry of State.

INCIDENCE OF CRIME

The crime rate in Monaco is low compared to other developed countries. An analysis was done using INTERPOL data for Monaco. For purpose of comparison, data were drawn for the seven offenses used to compute the United States FBI's index of crime. Index offenses include murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft. The combined total of these offenses constitutes the Index used for trend calculation purposes.

Monaco will be compared with Japan (country with a low crime rate) and USA (country with a high crime rate). According to the INTERPOL data, for murder, the rate in 2001 was 3.33 per 100,000 population for Monaco, 1.05 for Japan, and 5.61 for USA. For rape, the rate in 2001 was 0.0 for Monaco, compared with 1.75 for Japan and 31.77 for USA. For robbery, the rate in 2001 was 0.0 for Monaco, 5.02 for Japan, and 148.50 for USA. For aggravated assault, the rate in 2001 was 46.67 for Monaco, 26.68 for Japan, and 318.55 for USA. For burglary, the rate in 2001 was 180.00 for Monaco, 238.59 for Japan, and 740.80 for USA. The rate of larceny for 2001 was 863.33 for Monaco, 1550.41 for Japan, and 2484.64 for USA. The rate for motor vehicle theft in 2001 was 73.33 for Monaco, compared with 49.71 for Japan and 430.64 for USA. The rate for all index offenses combined was 1166.76 for Monaco, compared with 1873.21 for Japan and 4160.51 for USA.

TRENDS IN CRIME

Between 1996 and 2001, according to INTERPOL data, the rate of murder increased from 0.00 to 3.33 per 100,000 population (a negligible increase since the difference was only one person in a country of 30,000 inhabitants). There was no change in the rate for rape which was 0.00 both years. The rate of robbery decreased from 3.33 to 0.0, a decrease of 100%. The rate for aggravated assault decreased from 63.33 to 46.67, a decrease of 26.3%. The rate for burglary decreased from 420.00 to 180.00, a decrease of 57.1%. The rate of larceny decreased from 1273.33 to 863.33, a decrease of 32.2%. The rate of motor vehicle theft increased from 56.67 to 73.33, an increase of 29.4%. The rate of total index offenses decreased from 1816.86 to 1166.76, a decrease of 35.8%.

LEGAL SYSTEM


Monaco has been governed as a constitutional monarchy since 1911, with the Prince as chief of state. The executive branch consists of a Minister of State (head of government), who presides over a four-member Council of Government (cabinet). The Minister of State, who is a French citizen appointed by the Prince for a 3-year term from among several senior French civil servants proposed by the French Government, is responsible for foreign relations. As the Prince's representative, the Minister of State also directs the executive services, commands the police, and presides (with voting powers) over the Council of Government. The three other members of the Council are responsible for financial and economic affairs, internal affairs, and public works and social affairs, respectively.

Under the 1962 constitution, the Prince shares his power with the unicameral National Council. The 24 members of this legislative body are elected from lists by universal suffrage for 5-year terms. If the Prince dissolves the National Council, new elections must be held within 3 months. Usually meeting twice annually, the Council votes on the budget and endorses laws proposed by the Prince.

Ordinances passed by the National Council are debated in the Council of Government, as are the ministerial decrees signed by the Minister of State. Once approved, the ordinances must be submitted to the Prince within 80 days for his signature, which makes them legally enforceable. If he does not express opposition within 10 days of submission, they become valid.

Judicial power is invested in the Prince, who delegates judicial procedures to the various courts, which dispense justice in his name. The independence of the judges is guaranteed by the constitution. The Supreme Court is composed of five chief members and two assistant judges named by the Prince on the basis of nominations by the National Council and other government bodies. The Supreme Court is the highest court for judicial appeals and also interprets the constitution when necessary. Monaco's legal system, closely related to that of France, is patterned after the Napoleonic Code.

The principality's local affairs (the administration of the four quarters of Monaco-Ville, La Condamine, Monte Carlo, and Fontvieille) are directed by the Communal Council, which consists of 15 elected members and is presided over by the Mayor.

The Constitution provides for three consultative bodies. The seven-member Crown Council, composed exclusively of Monegasque nationals, must be consulted by the Prince on certain questions of national importance. He may choose to consult it on other matters as well. The President and three members of the Crown Council are chosen directly by the Prince for 3-year terms. The three other members are proposed by the National Council, also for 3-year terms; the Prince then ratifies their selection.

The 12-member Council of State, which is not restricted to Monegasque citizens, advises the Prince on proposed legislation and regulations. The Council of State is presided over by the Director of Judicial Services, usually a French citizen. The Director and other members are nominated by the Minister of State; their nominations are ratified by the Prince.

The Government generally respects the human rights of its citizens, and the law and the judiciary provide effective means of dealing with individual instances of abuse. Authority to change the Government and initiate laws rests with the Prince. The Penal Code prohibits public denunciations of the ruling family. The Constitution distinguishes between those rights that are provided for all residents and those that apply only to the approximately 7,000 residents who hold Monegasque nationality. Some remnants of legal discrimination against women persisted, particularly with regard to the transmission of citizenship. Monaco was invited by the Community of Democracies' (CD) Convening Group to attend the November 2002 second CD Ministerial Meeting in Seoul, Republic of Korea, as a participant.

Residents moved freely within the country and across its open borders with France. Nationals enjoyed the rights of emigration and repatriation; however, they can be deprived of their nationality for specified acts, including naturalization in a foreign country. Only the Prince can grant or restore nationality, but he is obliged by the Constitution to consult the Crown Council on each case before deciding.

In light of its bilateral arrangements with France, the Government does not grant political asylum or refugee status unless the request also meets French criteria for such cases. The number of such cases was very small.

The law provides for the granting of asylum and refugee status in accordance with the 1951 U.N. Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol. The Government cooperated with the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other humanitarian organizations in assisting refugees.

There were no reports of the forced return of persons to a country where they feared persecution.

POLICE

In addition to the national police force, the "Carabiniers du Prince" carry out security functions. Government officials effectively control both forces.

There were no reports in 2003 of the arbitrary or unlawful deprivation of life by the Government or its agents.

DETENTION

The Constitution prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention, and the Government generally observed these prohibitions. Arrest warrants are required, except when a suspect is arrested while committing an offense. The police must bring detainees before a judge within 24 hours to be informed of the charges against them and of their rights under the law. Most detainees are released without bail, but the investigating magistrate may order detention on grounds that the suspect either might flee or interfere with the investigation of the case. The magistrate may extend the initial 2-month detention for additional 2-month periods indefinitely. The magistrate may permit family members to see detainees.

The Penal Code prohibits forced exile, and the Government did not employ it.

COURTS

Under the Constitution, the Prince delegates his judicial powers to the judiciary. The law provides for a fair, public trial, and the independent judiciary generally respected these provisions in practice. The defendant has the right to be present and the right to counsel, at public expense if necessary. As under French law, a three-judge tribunal considers the evidence collected by the investigating magistrate and hears the arguments made by the prosecuting and defense attorneys. The defendant enjoys a presumption of innocence and the right of appeal.

There were no reports of political prisoners.

CORRECTIONS

Prison conditions generally met international standards. Women were held separately from men, and juveniles were held separately from adults. The Government permits visits by human rights observers; however, there were no such visits during the year. After prisoners receive definitive sentences, they are transferred to a French prison to serve out their prison term.

WOMEN

Women were active in public service. The Mayor of Monaco, one member of the Crown Council, five members of the National Council, and four members of the Economic Council were women.

Reported instances of violence against women were rare. Marital violence is prohibited strictly, and any wife who is a victim may bring criminal charges against her husband.

Women were represented fairly well in the professions; however, they were represented less well in business. Women received equal pay for equal work, and there were no reports of sexual harassment.

The law governing transmission of citizenship provides for equality of treatment between men and women who are nationals by birth; however, women who acquire Monegasque citizenship by naturalization could not transmit it to their children, whereas naturalized male citizens could.

CHILDREN

The Government was committed fully to the protection of children's rights and welfare and has well-funded public education and health care programs. The Government provided compulsory, free, and universal education for children up to the age of 16.

The Constitution prohibits forced or bonded labor including by children, and there were no reports that such practices occurred.

There was no societal pattern of abuse of children.

The minimum age for employment is 16 years; those employing children under that age can be punished under criminal law. Special restrictions apply to the hiring, work times, and other conditions of workers 16 to 18 years old.

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS

The law does not prohibit trafficking in persons; however, there were no reports that persons were trafficked to, from, or within the country.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Internet research assisted by Iran Garcia

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San Diego State University