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31 May 2021 – Monaco

Corridor in Monaco's Prison, (Monaco Hebdo, N. Gehin,
Corridor in Monaco's Prison, (Monaco Hebdo, N. Gehin, "La Prison à l'Epreuve du Coronavirus," 20 April 2020,

The Principality of Monaco, located on the French Riviera, is the second-smallest independent state in the world and has a population of approximately 38,000 people. The country introduced several measures in March 2020 to combat the spread of the virus, including imposing a lockdown and curfew. As of 31 May 2021, the country had recorded 2,504 COVID-19 cases and 32 related deaths.

The GDP has been unable to establish the extent to which migration-related detention measures are used in Monaco as part of immigration enforcement procedures. There is also no publicly available information concerning COVID-19 related measures taken to safeguard people in immigration or police custody, or people in international protection situations.

The country’s prison system adopted preventive measures to avoid the spread of COVID-19. In April 2020, temperature checks were implemented for some staff, protective masks were provided to the prison staff, and new prisoners were placed in isolation. According to the World Prison Brief, there were 8 prisoners in the country on 15 April 2020 and all prisoners were foreign nationals.

According to the UNHCR, there were 25 refugees and no asylum-seekers in the country as of 2020. The country has ratified several international human rights treaties including the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. During its review for the third cycle of the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in 2018, Monaco received several migration- and refugee-related recommendations, including: “consider ratifying the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (Philippines) (para. 78.3)” and “consider adopting a procedure for granting asylum or refugee status while continuing its support for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ work in protecting refugees (United States of America) (para. 76.72)”.

The UN Committee against Torture (CAT), in its concluding observations from its 2017 review of Monaco, noted that while the “Monegasque authorities provide for the administrative and legal protection of refugees residing in the Principality of Monaco and that the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA) examines cases and issues of advisory opinions, the Committee remains concerned about the lack of clarity regarding the legal grounds for the procedures that are applicable to asylum seekers, the conduct of such procedures, and the safeguards provided.” In consequence, the Committee recommended that the State party “ensure that the procedures applicable to asylum seekers and the procedure for cooperation with OFPRA are made clearer and accessible to all. In addition, the Committee would like to receive data on the number of applications submitted to and examined by OFPRA and the number of cases in which the Monegasque authorities have accepted or rejected the opinions of OFPRA and the reasons for doing so. The Committee would also like to know how many expulsion orders have been appealed since 2011 and whether these appeals have had a suspensive effect during the deliberations of the Supreme Court.”

Following the CAT’s concluding observations, Monaco submitted a follow-up report in December 2017 in which the country explained that “decisions rejecting applications for asylum are individual administrative acts issued by the Ministry of State. … Applications for reconsideration may be lodged with the regulatory or dispute authority, while appeals concerning abuse of power are heard by the Supreme Court. These appeals do not have suspensive effect. They may, however, be combined with a motion to stay. … The number of cases in which the Monegasque authorities have not followed the recommendations of OFPRA is as follows: 2 opinions not followed; 1 opinion followed… Concerning the data on the number of expulsion orders appealed since 2011, 13 appeals were lodged before the Supreme Court against measures of refoulement from the Monegasque territory, one of which was combined with a request for a stay of execution.”