Liechtenstein is a Member State of the Council of Europe (COE) and of the United Nations (UN), and has human rights obligations at the regional and universal levels.
Regional: European System
As a Member of the COE, Liechtenstein has ratified the European Convention on Human Rights and is subject to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights. Liechtenstein has not ratified the European Social Charter. Its human rights policies and practices are monitored by the COE Commissioner for Human Rights, who identifies gaps in human rights protection, conducts country visits, engages in dialogue with States, and prepares thematic reports and advice.
Individuals and groups have submitted complaints of human rights violations committed by Liechtenstein to the European Court of Human Rights. For example, the Court held that Liechtenstein violated the right to a fair trial when the criminal proceedings relating to investment fraud charges against an individual lasted for nine years and ten months. See ECtHR, von Hoffen v. Liechtenstein, no. 5010/04, ECHR 2006, Judgment of 11 December 2006. Additionally, the Court may grant interim measures to protect people in urgent situations of risk in Liechtenstein.
Liechtenstein is a party to the following regional human rights treaties:
- European Convention on Human Rights and several of its protocols
- COE Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings
- European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
- Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
United Nations System
As a UN Member State, Liechtenstein is subject to the oversight of various UN human rights bodies, including the Human Rights Council and its Universal Periodic Review and thematic special procedures. As a party to specific universal human rights treaties, Liechtenstein’s policies and practices are monitored by UN treaty bodies. It has accepted the complaints procedure of four treaty bodies.
Liechtenstein has ratified the following UN human rights treaties:
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
- International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)
- Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)
- Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)
- Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
- International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)
Liechtenstein has also ratified the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR aimed at abolishing the death penalty, and optional protocols to the CRC addressing children in armed conflict and the sale of children, child prostitution, and child pornography. Liechtenstein has a duty to submit State reports to the UN treaty body associated with each UN human rights treaty Liechtenstein has ratified. These reports must be submitted on a periodic basis and describe the steps taken to implement the treaty provisions.
Liechtenstein has also ratified optional protocols and made appropriate declarations allowing individuals to submit complaints against the State alleging violations of the ICCPR, CEDAW, CAT, CRC and CERD. Additionally, certain UN treaties contain inquiry procedures, which allow the UN treaty body to consider allegations of grave or systematic human rights violations. Liechtenstein has accepted the inquiry procedures of the CAT, CRC, and CEDAW.
On January 21, 2003, Liechtenstein extended a standing invitation to UN special procedures, which means that any such mandate holders are welcome to conduct visits in Liechtenstein. For example, the Special Rapporteur on violence against women went on a mission to Liechtenstein in April 1998 and published a report on that visit in March 1999.
For more information on Liechtenstein’s engagement with UN human rights bodies, visit http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/ENACARegion/Pages/LIIndex.aspx.
Last updated: February 2020