Liechtenstein: The Commissioner for Human Rights recommends further
measures to strengthen the protection against discrimination
Strasbourg, 28/2/2012 –
“The establishment of an Ombudsman Office in Liechtenstein would
strengthen the protection against all forms of discrimination,” stated
the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg,
after his visit to the country on 23-24 February. “The present mechanisms
to receive and act upon complaints from the public are not fully
independent or lack sufficient resources”.
The Commissioner was informed about the ongoing discussion on a reform
to broaden the coverage of the existing national human rights protection
structures. He recommended the institution of an ombudsman office with a
broad mandate which would address the rights of children, women, persons
with disabilities, and the elderly, as well as refugees and other
foreigners. The Commissioner also recommended the introduction of
comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation.
A part-time Ombudsman for Children and Young People has already been in
place for two years. Pending the reform of the overall human rights
system, this office should be properly resourced so as to be able to
fulfill its important functions for children’s rights protection.
Violence against women remains a problem in the Liechtenstein society.
The Commissioner recommends prompt ratification and implementation of
the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence
against Women and Domestic Violence. Particular attention needs to be
devoted to the situation of migrant women who may hesitate to report
about abuses because of fear of losing their residence status.
Persons with disabilities lack sufficient employment possibilities, in
spite of several constructive measures, such as subsidies for making
adjustments to the workplace to improve accessibility and for paying a
part of the salary of disabled employees. Further measures should be
explored to promote integration of people with disabilities into the job
market in both the public and private sector. A prompt ratification of
the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
would demonstrate that the Liechtenstein authorities are determined to
do their utmost to protect the human rights of persons with
Liechtenstein has a well-developed system of assisting elderly people in
care institutions as well as in their homes. A concern expressed to the
Commissioner related to the growing number of persons who would prefer
to continue their working life after having reached the retirement age –
a situation calling for more flexibility in employment regulations. The
Commissioner recalls that the revised European Social Charter contains
provisions for the protection of the rights of the elderly and
recommends ratification of this important international instrument.
Following Liechtenstein’s accession to EU regulations on asylum,
including the Dublin II Regulation, the number of asylum applications to
be assessed on their merits will be reduced to a minimum. However, it
must be borne in mind that the possibility to send back asylum seekers
to the country of first entry within the EU or Schengen area cannot be
automatic as there is a need to ensure that no one will be returned to a
country where they may be at risk of persecution or torture. In
addition, having regard to the declining numbers of asylum cases, the
Commissioner calls upon the authorities to consider accepting more
refugees who are recognised by UNHCR as having protection needs.
The authorities in Liechtenstein have taken steps to facilitate the
integration of immigrants. However, the Commissioner considers that the
requirements for obtaining citizenship are excessively restrictive and
recommends a review of these in line with the principles of the European
Convention on Nationality. Further steps are also recommended to make
the process of applying for family reunification less cumbersome.
Press contact in the Commissioner’s Office:
Stefano Montanari, +33 (0)6 61 14 70 37;
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