United Nations


Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

Distr.: General

17 November 2017

Original: English

Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women

Sixty-eighth session

Summary record of the 1556th meeting

Held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, on Thursday, 9 November 2017, at 10 a.m.

Chair:Ms. Leinarte


Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention (continued)

Combined initial and second and third periodic reports of Monaco

The meeting was called to order at 10 a.m.

Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention (continued)

Combined initial and second and third periodic reports of Monaco (CEDAW/C/MCO/1-3; CEDAW/C/MCO/Q/1-3 and CEDAW/C/MCO/Q/1-3/Add.1)

At the invitation of the Chair, the delegation of Monaco took places at the Committee table.

Ms. Lanteri (Monaco), introducing the combined initial and second and third periodic reports of Monaco, said that equality between women and men was enshrined in article 11 of the Constitution. Women accounted for 20.8 per cent of the members of the National Council and 40 per cent of the members of the Communal Council. Women held senior positions in the civil service and the private sector and formed the majority of the diplomatic service. There was a very active commission for the rights of women and the family in the National Council. Women made a vital contribution to the economic life of the Principality of Monaco.

Recent legislation included Act No. 1.382 of 20 July 2011 on the Prevention and Punishment of Specific Forms of Violence, which provided for more severe penalties depending on the vulnerability of the victims. Training in that Act had been provided to judges and others who worked with victims. Under Act No. 1.440 amending certain provisions of the Civil Code relating to the name and establishing pre-birth recognition of the child, women were permitted to pass on their name to their children. The passage of the Act had allowed the Principality to withdraw its reservation to article 16 (1) (g) of the Convention. Act No. 1.450 on shared residence set forth the conditions for shared childcare in the event of divorce.

The High Commissioner for the Protection of Rights and Liberties and Mediation was the national human rights institution and the focal point for the protection of all rights. The current incumbent was a woman. Any persons who considered that their rights had been violated by a public authority or that they were the victim of discrimination could apply to the High Commissioner. The High Commissioner could issue opinions and carry out studies on any question relating to the rights and freedoms of citizens. The Principality had ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention in 2016 and had recently declared its acceptance of article 20 (1) of the Convention.

Articles 1 and 2

Mr. Bergby said that the State party, in its replies to the Committee’s list of issues, had stated that certain of its reservations to the Convention, in particular the reservation regarding the succession to the throne, could not be withdrawn. Yet constitutions could be changed and it was a matter for concern that male descendants should have priority over female descendants. A change in the Constitution of Monaco could send a strong message with regard to the implementation of the Convention. He would like to know whether the State party was considering such an amendment.

Article 17 of the Constitution provided that all citizens were equal before the law, yet contained no explicit definition or prohibition of direct or indirect discrimination. Noting that the Convention had never been invoked in court, he asked whether there were any plans to amend the Constitution or the law to include a definition of discrimination in accordance with article 1 of the Convention. He also wondered whether there were any special mechanisms providing remedies to women victims of discrimination.

The 2015-2016 report of the High Commissioner for the Protection of Rights and Liberties and Mediation referred to nine complaints of discrimination on various grounds but not on grounds of gender or sex. He would like to know whether women were aware of the existence of the High Commissioner. The High Commissioner had not yet received accreditation from the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI). Did the State party plan to seek such accreditation to ensure compliance with the Paris Principles? Initial and in-service training for bodies such as the police, the judiciary and the civil service covered human rights and ensured that victims of specific forms of violence were given access to relevant qualified experts. However, relevant stakeholders received no specific training on the Convention, and he wondered whether the Convention and the Committee’s general recommendations could be covered in the training given to all branches of government, the National Council and the judiciary. Would it be possible for a communications strategy to be put in place to disseminate knowledge of the Convention, for example through the Government’s website?

Ms. Lanteri (Monaco) said that the High Commissioner for the Protection of Rights and Liberties and Mediation had been established as a body independent from the Government. The Government could not, therefore, ask that office to seek accreditation from GANHRI; it would be a decision for the High Commissioner.

Mr. Pardo (Monaco) said that the fact that the prohibition on discrimination contained in article 17 of the Convention was a general provision did not mean that there were no specific measures against discrimination in the legislation. The civil and political rights established in the Constitution were developed in the Principality’s legislation on areas such as access to the labour market, education and choice of occupation; the law also made provision for positive measures for women.

The training for law-enforcement and judicial officials covered all international treaties. Amendment of the Constitution in respect of the succession to the throne was not being considered by the Principality.

Ms. Couma (Monaco) said that international treaties were directly applicable in Monaco following their incorporation into the legal order by sovereign ordinance and could be invoked in the courts. In fact, the Convention had been cited in a case that had originated in the Labour Court in 2011.

In respect of training for the judiciary, she said that the High Council of the Judiciary had of late become concerned with the question of combating discrimination against women and a directive on training in that area was in preparation. The Department of Justice organized lectures for all judicial personnel and, in light of the forthcoming report of the Council of Europe Group of Experts on Action against Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (GREVIO) and of the Committee’s concluding observations, the subject was likely to remain on the agenda for those sessions.

Ms. Capaccioni (Monaco) said that discrimination was addressed in ethics modules in police initial and in-service training, depending on units’ specialisms.

Ms. Guazzone (Monaco) said that teachers ran awareness-raising sessions and special events in schools to encourage children to think about such issues as discrimination. In secondary schools, health and civic education committees run by students with adult supervision organized events around such issues, sometimes in response to specific incidents that might arise within the school community.

Ms. Lanteri (Monaco) said that Monaco was a tiny State and it was difficult to maintain a specific mechanism to monitor each human right. Civil society organizations were very active in raising awareness and supporting women victims of violence, for example, but the High Commissioner still had an extremely broad mandate and covered many different subjects. The Office of the High Commissioner was the highest human rights authority and monitored both the functioning of the various mechanisms and the observance of human rights.

Article 3

Ms. Haidar said that it was important to bear in mind the global approach adopted by the drafters of article 3, which stipulated that all appropriate measures should be taken in all fields to ensure the full development and advancement of women. That language ensured that the Convention would cover any new forms of discrimination and that it would remain a living tool for women’s advancement. The Committee noted that the State party had various mechanisms in place to ensure compliance with its international obligations but that it had no specific national body to monitor implementation of the Convention. The National Council’s commission for the rights of women and the family was responsible for gender and equality issues; she wished to note that only 5 of its 23 members were women.

It would be interesting to hear how the Government’s 2017 action programme would incorporate gender mainstreaming and address intersectional discrimination. With so many bodies involved in overseeing human rights issues in the State party, it was unclear how the Government would ensure that women’s rights did not fall between the cracks. She would welcome details of how the human rights mechanisms interacted with the Office of the High Commissioner for the Protection of Rights and Liberties and for Mediation.

Noting that the demographic data collected by authorities pertained only to nationals of the State party, she would be interested to learn whether there were any plans to expand data collection to include all persons living and working there. The Committee would appreciate the delegation’s comments on how the gender equality targets of the Sustainable Development Goals were integrated into the State party’s humanitarian and development commitments.

Ms. Lanteri (Monaco) said that the Government was examining ways to adapt its international cooperation activities to align with the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals. Monaco adopted a comprehensive approach in that field and regularly contributed to initiatives providing microcredit to women in the least developed countries. The results of the population census for 2016 had become available in the previous few days and included data on all persons present in Monaco.

Mr. Pardo (Monaco) said that, while women’s rights and family issues were closely linked, the Government was working to promote women’s rights in other areas, including employment and the political and decision-making spheres. The Office of the High Commissioner was fully independent, in line with the Paris Principles, and the Government intended to give careful consideration to the recommendations it issued.

Ms. Guazzone (Monaco) said that, based on past cases examined by the Office of the High Commissioner, the authorities had produced guidance on good practices for schools on how to help children whose parents were separating.

Ms. Haidar said that it was unclear whether a specific institution was tasked with auditing the mechanism that was responsible for implementing the provisions of the Convention in order to ensure its accountability.

Mr. Bergby noted that it was important for governments to provide adequate human and financial resources to national human rights institutions to enable them to effectively fulfil their mandate.

Mr. Pardo (Monaco) said that the small size of the Government in Monaco facilitated accountability and swift decision-making at all levels.

Article 4

Ms. Manalo said that it would be useful to have an account of the temporary special measures in place to accelerate de facto equality between men and women in the State party.

Ms. Pallanca (Monaco) said that legislation was in place that prohibited discrimination on the grounds of sex in the area of employment, including with regard to remuneration and leave entitlements. Any woman who felt that her rights had been infringed had recourse to the courts.

Ms. Lanteri (Monaco) said that, rather than instituting temporary special measures, the Government’s preferred course of action was to enact legislation directly.

Mr. Pardo (Monaco) said that temporary special measures were not necessary in Monaco because discrimination in the area of employment was already prohibited by existing legislation.

Ms. Schulz said that she would welcome clarification of whether the principle of equal pay for equal work was applied on the basis of posts at the same level or in terms of the value of the work being done.

Mr. Bergby said that it was unclear whether the State party’s legislation allowed for the application of temporary special measures.

Ms. Pallanca (Monaco) said that the principle of equal pay was applied in respect of the specifications of a post and the qualifications required for it.

Ms. Lanteri (Monaco) said that, in the public sector, predetermined job titles and grades corresponded to particular career profiles. A person meeting the necessary criteria for a post would receive the relevant salary regardless of their sex.

Mr. Pardo (Monaco) said that temporary special measures were permitted but were not deemed necessary given that regulations could be amended swiftly and easily if the need arose.

Ms. Lanteri (Monaco) said that, as a small country, Monaco could enact legislation very quickly. If necessary, a sovereign order could also be issued.

Article 5

Ms. Haidar said that it would be helpful to receive a fuller account of the Government’s efforts to eliminate stereotypes of women, particularly in relation to the division of family responsibilities between men and women, including whether the Government intended to adopt a comprehensive strategy in that regard.

She would welcome the delegation’s comments on any plans to develop more opportunities for women in sport, which was very much dominated by men’s competitions. She would also be grateful for an update on whether the presence of promotional models (so-called grid girls) would be discontinued at future editions of the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Monaco.

She would also like to hear the delegation’s response to the issues highlighted in the Baseline Evaluation Report of GREVIO, including the absence of the element of consent in the definition of rape, the weaknesses identified in addressing intersectional discrimination against foreign women and asylum seekers who were victims of violence, the continued application of corporal punishments in schools and the lack of a 24-hour helpline for victims of domestic violence.

Ms. Lanteri (Monaco) said that the image of women portrayed at the Grand Prix meetings was an issue the Committee should take up with the International Automobile Federation. For her part, she hoped that, in time, such objectification of women would become obsolete in all contexts, including the Grand Prix. Several women had tried to break into that sport but had come up against many obstacles. That said, there were many female spectators, and, in general, there were many women involved in the automobile racing industry.

Currently, victims of violence against women and domestic violence called the social services or one of the civil society organizations that had helplines that were staffed during the day, and, at night, they called the emergency services. The Government recognized the need for a 24/7 helpline and was considering how to organize it.

Ms. Guazzone (Monaco) said that there were over a hundred amateur sports clubs and federations in Monaco, which were run under the auspices of the Department of Education, Youth and Sport. Many of them had female presidents and many of their members were women and girls. Monaco had women’s teams in many sports, including basketball, football and rugby. There was no sexual discrimination in amateur sport in her country.

Ms. Segui-Charlot (Monaco) said that all victims of domestic violence, whatever their nationality, were provided with shelter and assistance by the authorities and the multiple civil society associations in the country. The shelters were well equipped and all victims were provided with food, financial assistance, if needed, and counselling.

Ms. Lanteri (Monaco) added that, with persons from over 140 nationalities living in Monaco, the associations that provided assistance to victims of domestic violence and other vulnerable groups had no difficulty in finding interpreters.

Ms. Couma (Monaco) said that the adoption of Act No. 1.382 had significantly strengthened the legal framework for the prevention of violence against women and domestic violence. Article 262 of the Criminal Code containing the definition of rape had been amended by Act No. 1.382. It now defined rape as any act of sexual penetration by force, regardless of the nature of the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator, thus taking a clear position on the issue of consent.

Ms. Capaccioni (Monaco) said that the police acted in accordance with strict regulations whenever they were called to intervene in cases involving victims of violence. Their aim was to ensure that all victims received appropriate treatment and were provided with the help and support they needed as quickly as possible. To date, the police had not dealt with any cases of vulnerable migrant women. They had been required to intervene in cases involving vulnerable migrant children, and in those cases, they had contacted the child protection services to ensure that those children received the medical and social assistance they needed. Turning to the issue of corporal punishment, she added that, when the perpetrator of an act of violence was a parent or grandparent of the victim or a person with authority over him or her, that relationship was considered an aggravating circumstance under article 264 of the Criminal Code.

Mr. Pardo (Monaco) said that, under the Criminal Code, corporal punishment was punishable by a prison sentence of up to 20 years or a fine, depending on the gravity of the crime. Deprivation of food and health care were included in the definition of corporal punishment of a child.

Ms. Haidar said that she would welcome the delegation’s comments on the fact that the definition of domestic violence, which required that the victim be somehow related to the perpetrator, was rather narrow in scope. Acts of violence against foreign women seemed to be underreported in the State party. She asked whether some foreign women workers were afraid to report acts of violence against them for fear of losing their job. She wondered whether the situation was exacerbated by the fact that hate crimes were not criminalized in the State party. The priority given to keeping the family unit intact in cases of domestic violence was a matter of concern to the Committee. While the relevant legislation had only recently been introduced, she would welcome information on how the State party planned to raise awareness of it among the people it aimed to protect.

Ms. Schulz said that she was surprised that, on the State party’s delegation list, all the senior positions occupied by women were written in the masculine form, whereas the feminine form had been employed for a post that would appear to be somewhat lower in rank. She drew attention to linguistic research that had demonstrated that women were often discouraged from applying for posts when the job advertisement used the masculine form of the role only. She would be interested to learn whether there had been any discussion in the State party on the issue of non-sexist language.

Ms. Lanteri said that she was often asked about gender-specific language, as her official title was the masculine form of the word “ambassador”. In her view, that was acceptable, as it referred to her function, not to her as a person. Moreover, she believed that the work she accomplished in her role as ambassador was more important than her job title. She recognized that the use of the masculine form was somewhat old-fashioned and harked back to the days when all ambassadors had been men. However, if she introduced herself in Monaco as the ambassador using the female form of the word, people would inevitably think that she was the wife of an ambassador. There was currently no legislation on that issue or plans to introduce any. The use of the female form on the delegation list would appear to be a typographical error.

Ms. Segui-Charlot (Monaco) said that, whenever the authorities were alerted to a situation in which women or children might be in danger in the home, they took urgent action to investigate and remove anyone found to be at risk. In some cases, children were taken into care on their own; in other cases, the mother and her children were taken into care together. While the optimum outcome was that a family could be together, if there was a danger of domestic violence, that was clearly not an adequate solution.

Ms. Couma (Monaco) said that, since Monaco had ratified the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention) in late 2014, it did not yet have data on the number of Monegasque and foreign women who reported such violence. Data was currently being gathered and would be disaggregated by country of origin and status in Monaco. Foreign and migrant women did not face any barriers in access to justice. The amount of compensation granted to victims of violence was left to the discretion of the judge in each case. That said, the judiciary was aware of the need to reassess the level of compensation that had been granted in some cases.

Mr. Pardo (Monaco) said that the definition of domestic violence in the Criminal Code was not at all narrow in scope. It considered domestic violence to be any act of violence committed by a person who lived in the same household as the victim, or who had lived in the same household in the past. There was no requirement that the persons involved be in any way related to each other. He added that the Code of Criminal Procedure provided explicitly for magistrates to take measures to protect victims of domestic violence, such as by removing them from the family home, providing them with emergency shelter and imposing restraining orders on suspected perpetrators. Priority was given to protecting each individual rather than keeping the family unit intact.

Ms. Lanteri said that several measures were being taken to raise awareness of the rights that were protected under the Istanbul Convention, starting with integrating education on those rights in the school curriculum, beginning at the primary level.

Article 6

Ms. Nadaraia asked whether there was any data available in the State party that demonstrated that women working in prostitution could report violence against them without fearing repercussions. It would be useful to know whether those women had access to health care and social benefits and whether there were any programmes in place for women who wished to leave prostitution. She enquired whether the State party planned to conduct any research into the situation of women who travelled there from abroad on a temporary basis to work as prostitutes. She wished to know whether the State party planned to grant special protection, including temporary residence permits, to victims of trafficking even when they were unwilling or unable to cooperate with the prosecutorial authorities.

Ms. Capaccioni (Monaco) said that a special police unit informed women engaged in prostitution of their rights and referred them to providers of social and health services. The unit also worked to ensure their safety, in particular in connection with the dangers associated with their occupation, such as trafficking and exploitation. Even if they were not residents of Monaco, women engaged in prostitution who were victims of a crime committed in Monaco could turn to the Monegasque authorities, including the courts, for protection.

Ms. Couma (Monaco) said that procuring or solicitation would be prosecuted and punished in accordance with the law. There had been no recent convictions for solicitation, but charges of procuring had led to a number of convictions, including as recently as January 2017.

Mr. Pardo (Monaco) said that police officers’ thorough knowledge of the situation of those engaged in prostitution in Monaco made it possible to prevent sexual exploitation. Officers patrolled at night, carrying out identity checks, and women engaged in prostitution who wished to check into a hotel were required to show identification. Circumstances that aggravated a charge of procuring included the exploitation of a minor and exploitation committed by a parent or grandparent. Monaco had ratified the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, under which States parties could be required to issue renewable residence permits to victims of trafficking, only in late 2015. It had not yet submitted its initial report on its efforts to implement that Convention or considered the possibility of issuing such permits to victims of trafficking.

Ms. Lanteri (Monaco) said that Monaco was nestled almost entirely in French territory. The border was nearly virtual, and population movements were substantial. Every day, some 45,000 persons travelled into Monaco, mostly from France and Italy. Monaco had agreements in respect of prosecution, information-sharing and social services with its neighbours, France in particular. Cross-border cooperation was constant.

The Chair, speaking in her capacity as an expert, said that she wondered whether the Monegasque authorities had ever studied or considered studying the possible links between prostitution, which was semi-legal in the State party, and trafficking in persons for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation.

Ms. Couma (Monaco) said that although the authorities were aware of the possible links, they had not produced such a study.

Mr. Pardo (Monaco) said that the authorities’ awareness of such links was reflected in the Criminal Code, under which penalties for the exploitation of persons engaged in prostitution were aggravated when such exploitation was the work of persons operating as part of an organized gang.

Articles 7 and 8

Ms. Ameline, commending the State party for the gender balance of its diplomatic corps, where women were in the majority, said that it would be interesting to know how that fairly unusual feat had been achieved, in particular as women were not as well represented in all other areas of the State party’s political and public life. In addition, the State party did not appear to have access to the disaggregated data that would enable it to develop strategies or policies on increasing the representation of women in all spheres of its public life. In the same connection, she wondered what specific steps could be taken to mobilize women’s networks in advance of the 2018 legislative elections.

The delegation might indicate how the State party intended to combat prejudice and stereotypes, which impeded women’s access to leadership positions. It was not clear whether the civil service was required to work towards gender parity in hiring and promotion, including in law enforcement and public safety agencies. In addition, she wondered whether Monaco had plans to make increasing women’s representation in all areas of political and public life an integral part of its strategic efforts to achieve the sustainable development goals.

Ms. Lanteri (Monaco) said that women had increasingly occupied positions of leadership not because there had been an official policy on promoting them to such positions but simply because they had been qualified or because they had been in the right place at the time. Appointments to diplomatic posts were made by the Prince.

Mr. Pardo (Monaco) said that women in Monaco, as his fellow delegation members would attest, were well represented in public life, including in high-level positions. It was thus not clear that there was any need for a regulatory or other legislative framework in that regard.

Ms. Guazzone (Monaco) said that in her department, the Department of National Education, Youth and Sports, women had traditionally been a majority. The head of the Department was a woman, as was her deputy. The principals of five of the six public primary schools were women, as were about two thirds of all teachers.

Ms. Segui-Charlot (Monaco) said that women accounted for the large majority of the personnel working for the Department of Social Welfare and Social Services. In fact, the Department would like to have more male personnel, but they tended not to reply to the vacancy announcements it posted. The Department head and her deputy were both women.

Mr. Bordero (Monaco) said that women held leadership positions in the Principality’s Department of Health Affairs. The environment in its hospitals, however, could be described as still somewhat sexist, as Monaco, which did not have a medical school, recruited its chief physicians, most of whom were men, from France.

As a former member of the National Council, the Principality’s law-making body, he had taken part in the drafting of lists of candidates. It had not been easy to recruit women for parliamentary elections. In 2018, for the first time, a woman’s name would appear at the top of a party list. In the past, Monaco had had a female mayor for some twenty years. Lastly, it should be kept in mind that the small size of the National Council — it had only 24 members — magnified the statistical effects of minor changes in its gender breakdown, such as the departure of two or three women.

Ms. Pallanca (Monaco) said that her deputy in the Department of Employment was a woman. The heads of the Department’s Employment Office and Labour Inspectorate were both women. In hiring and promotion, what mattered was a candidate’s qualifications, not his or her gender.

Ms. Capaccioni (Monaco) said that, although the Police Department had traditionally been a male-dominated institution, it had in recent years been attracting more and more women. The physical requirements that had to be met as part of the competitive examination to become a police officer were different for female candidates than they were for male candidates. Female police officers were somewhat less well represented among street patrols than they were at police stations or headquarters, where they worked as investigators or provided victim support.

Ms. Couma (Monaco) said that women accounted for more than 60 per cent of the members of the judiciary. The Presidents of both the Court of First Instance and the Court of Appeal were women. In June 2017, in what had been a first for Monaco, a woman had also assumed the presidency of the Supreme Court. Women had been moving into positions of leadership in the judiciary in increasing numbers in recent years, and the trend showed no signs of letting up.

Ms. Magail (Monaco) said that the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation was a man but that the other positions of leadership in the Ministry were occupied by nearly equal numbers of men and women. As had been noted, Monaco had nine female and seven male ambassadors. As gender parity had been achieved in the Ministry, it was not necessary for its hiring or promotion decisions to be informed by anything other than the applicant’s qualifications. In addition, job titles in the Ministry were not feminized. Women ambassadors were referred to as “ambassadeurs”, not “ambassadrices”.

Ms. Ameline said that, although a form of gender parity had been achieved in the public sector, the private sector appeared to be another matter altogether. Statistical information regarding women’s access to senior leadership posts in private companies operating in Monaco would therefore be welcome. Lastly, women’s unwillingness to run for seats on the National Council should not be used as an excuse for the small number of female lawmakers in the State party. If they were unwilling to stand for election, it was likely that they were facing obstacles that required the authorities’ attention.

Ms. Lanteri (Monaco) said that, as Monaco was small, it did not necessarily have the human resources to produce the masses of statistical information a larger country might. Nonetheless, the statistics published by the Monegasque Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies were broken down by an increasing number of categories, including in respect of private sector wages. It was not entirely clear why Monegasque women were reluctant to run for office. It was not, however, that they were prevented from doing so.

Article 9

Ms. Manalo said that she wished to know how, precisely, the amendments made to the Nationality Act under Act No. 1.387 had been a significant step towards the achievement of gender equality in the transmission of nationality in the State party, as was stated in paragraph 12 of the periodic report. She also wondered whether male foreign nationals who married Monegasque women could apply for citizenship of Monaco on equal terms with female foreign nationals who married Monegasque men. Lastly, in view of the law stating that divorced persons who became Monegasque nationals through marriage could not transmit Monegasque nationality to their children who were born after the divorce, she asked what happened to the child of a divorced woman who was unable to pass her original nationality on to her child. What would happen to the child if he or she had been conceived during the marriage but born after the divorce?

The meeting rose at 1 p.m.