Principality of Liechtenstein
Joined United Nations: 18 September 1990
Human Rights as assured by their constitution
Updated 13 February 2013
36,713 (July 2012 est.)
Dr. Klaus Tschuetscher
Prime Minster since 25 March 2009
The monarch is hereditary; on 15 August 2004, Hans Adam
transferred the official duties of the ruling prince to Alois, but Hans
Adam retains status of chief of state
Next scheduled election: None
HEAD OF GOVERNMENT
Following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party in
the Landtag is usually appointed the head of government by the
monarch and the leader of the largest minority party in the
Landtag is usually appointed the deputy head of government by
the monarch if there is a coalition government; elections last held
1 February and 3 February 2013
Next scheduled election: 2017
|DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Liechtensteiner 65.6%, other 34.4% (2000 census)
Roman Catholic 76.2%, Protestant 7%, unknown 10.6%, other 6.2% (June 2002)
Constitutional monarchy with 11 communes (Gemeinden, singular - Gemeinde); Legal system is comprised of local civil and penal
codes based on civil law system; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations
Executive: Monarch is hereditary; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party in the Landtag is usually appointed
the head of government by the monarch and the leader of the largest minority party in the Landtag is usually appointed the deputy
head of government by the monarch if there is a coalition government
Legislative: Unicameral Parliament or Landtag (25 seats; members are elected by popular vote under proportional representation
to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 1 February and 3 February 2013 (next to be held by 2017)
Judicial: Supreme Court or Oberster Gerichtshof; Court of Appeal or Obergericht
German (official), Alemannic dialect
A Roman road crossed the region from south to north, traversing the Alps by the Splügen Pass and following the right bank of the
Rhine at the edge of the floodplain, for long uninhabited because of periodic flooding. Roman villas have been excavated in
Schaanwald and Nendeln. The late Roman influx of the Alemanni from the north is memorialized by the remains of a Roman fort at
Schaan. The area, part of Rhaetia, was incorporated into the Carolingian empire, and divided into countships, which became
subdivided over the generations. Because the duchy of Swabia lost its duke in 1268 and was never restored, all vassals of the
duchy became immediate vassals of the Imperial Throne (as has happened in much of Westphalia when the duchy of Saxons was
divided and partially dissolved in aftermath of the defeat of Henry the Lion). The medieval county of Vaduz was formed in 1342 as
a small subdivision of the Werdenberg county of the dynasty of Montfort of Vorarlberg. The 15th century brought three wars and
some devastation, but the 17th century was a lowpoint, with some plague, some skirmishing from the struggles of the Thirty Years'
War but most of all from a witch hunt, in which more than 100 persons were persecuted and executed. The Liechtenstein dynasty,
from which the Principality takes its name (rather than vice-versa) from Castle Liechtenstein in faraway Lower Austria, which it
owned from at least 1140 until the 13th century and from 1807 onwards. Over the centuries, it acquired vast swathes of land,
mostly in Moravia, Lower Austria and Styria, but all these expansive and rich territories were held in fief under other more senior
feudal lords, particularly under various lines of the Habsburg family, to which many Liechtensteins were close advisors. Thus, and
without any territory held directly under the Imperial throne, the Liechtenstein dynasty was unable to meet a primary requirement to
qualify for a seat in the Imperial diet, the Reichstag, although they were elevated to princely rank in late 17th century. Prince Johann
Adam Andreas of Liechtenstein bought the domain of Schellenberg in 1699 and the county of Vaduz in 1712. This Prince
Liechtenstein had wide landholdings in Austria, Bohemia and Moravia, but none of the lands were held directly from the Emperor.
Thus the prince was barred from admittance to the Council of Princes and the prestige and influence that would entail. By acquiring
these Lordships, which were directly subordinate to the Holy Empire because there was no duke of Swabia any longer, the Prince
of Liechtenstein obtained his end by having this small patch of mountain villages. The territory took the name of the family that now
ruled the county. On January 23, 1719, emperor Karl VI decreed that the counties of Vaduz and Schellenberg be promoted to a
principality with the name Liechtenstein for his servant Anton Florian of Liechtenstein whereby they became Heiliger Römischer
Reichsfürst. Liechtenstein became a sovereign state in 1806 when it joined Napoleon's Confederation of the Rhine upon the
dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire. The French under Napoleon occupied the country for a few years, but Liechtenstein
retained its independence in 1815. Soon afterward, Liechtenstein joined the German Confederation (20 June 1815 – 24 August
1866, which was presided over by the Emperor of Austria). Then, in 1818, Johann I granted a constitution, although it was limited
in its nature. 1818 also saw the first visit of a member of the house of Liechtenstein, Prince Alois, however, the first visit by a
sovereign prince would not occur until 1842. In 1862, new Constitution was promulgated, which provided for a Diet representative
of the people. In 1868, after the German Confederation dissolved, Liechtenstein disbanded its army of 80 men and declared its
permanent neutrality, which was respected during both World Wars. Until the end of World War I, it was closely tied to Austria,
but the economic devastation caused by that conflict forced the country to conclude a customs and monetary union with
Switzerland. In 1919 Liechtenstein and Switzerland signed a treaty under which Switzerland assumes the representation of
Liechtenstein interests at the diplomatic and consular level in countries where it maintains a representation and Liechtenstein does
not. In the spring of 1938, just after the annexation of Austria into Greater Germany, eighty-four year-old Prince Franz I abdicated,
naming his thirty-one year-old third cousin, Prince Franz Joseph II, as his successor. While Prince Franz I claimed that old age was
his reason for abdicating, it is believed that he had no desire to be on the throne if Germany gobbled up its new neighbor,
Liechtenstein. His wife, whom he married in 1929, was a wealthy Jewish woman from Vienna, and local Liechtenstein Nazis had
already singled her out as their anti-Semitic "problem". Although Liechtenstein had no official Nazi party, a Nazi sympathy
movement had been simmering for years within its National Union party. Prince Franz Josef II became the first Prince of
Liechtenstein to take up permanent residence in Liechtenstein. During World War II, Liechtenstein remained neutral, while family
treasures within the war zone were brought to Liechtenstein (and London) for safekeeping. At the close of the conflict,
Czechoslovakia and Poland, acting to seize what they considered to be German possessions, expropriated the entirety of the
Liechtenstein dynasty's hereditary lands and possessions in Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia — the princes of Liechtenstein lived in
Vienna until the Anschluss of 1938. The expropriations (subject to modern legal dispute at the World Court) included over 1,600
square kilometres (600 mi.²) of agricultural and forest land, also including several family castles and palaces. Citizens of
Liechtenstein were also forbidden from entering Czechoslovakia during the Cold War. Liechtenstein gave asylum to approximately
five hundred soldiers of the First Russian National Army (a collaborationist Russian force within the German Wehrmacht) at the
close of World War II; this is commemorated by a monument at the border town of Hinterschellenberg which is marked on the
country's tourist map. The act of granting asylum was no small matter as the country was poor and had difficulty feeding and caring
for such a large group of refugees. Eventually, Argentina agreed to permanently resettle the asylum seekers. In contrast, the British
repatriated the Russians who fought on the side of Germany to the USSR. In dire financial straits following the war, the
Liechtenstein dynasty often resorted to selling family artistic treasures, including for instance the priceless portrait "Ginevra de'
Benci" by Leonardo da Vinci, which was purchased by the National Gallery of Art of the United States in 1967. Liechtenstein
prospered, however, during the decades following, as its economy modernized with the advantage of low corporate tax rates which
drew many companies to the country. Liechtenstein became increasingly important as a financial center. In 1989, Prince Hans-
Adam II succeeded his father to the throne, and in 1996, Russia returned the Liechtenstein family's archives, ending a long-running
dispute between the two countries. In 1978, Liechtenstein became member of the Council of Europe, and then joined the United
Nations in 1990, the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in 1991, and both the European Economic Area (EEA) and World
Trade Organization in 1995. In a referendum on March 16, 2003, Prince Hans-Adam, who had threatened to leave the country if
he lost, won a large majority (64.3%) in favour of overhauling the constitution to effectively give him more powers than any other
European monarch. The new constitution gave the prince the right to dismiss governments and approve judicial nominees and
allowed him to veto laws simply by refusing to sign them within a six-month period. On August 15, 2003, Hans-Adam announced
he would step down in one year and hand over the reins to his son Alois. On July 1, 2007, the Liechtenstein Ruling Prince, H.S.H
Hans-Adam II, and Liechtenstein Prime Minister, Otmar Hasler, appointed Dr. Bruce S. Allen and Mr. Leodis C. Matthews,
ESQ., both in the United States of America, as the first two Honorary Consuls in history for the Principality of Liechtenstein.
Parliamentary elections were held in Liechtenstein on 1 February and 3 February 2013, using a proportional representation system.
This is the first election in Liechtenstein in which four different political groups have won seats in the Landtag. The success of The
Independents was considered by observers to be a result of protest votes against austerity measures in the country. It was also
postulated that greater diversity in the Landtag was a result of a decreased partisanship of voters. Patriotic Union members
expressed their disappointment at the result. The VU suffered a large defeat, losing more than a third of its seats. Although the
Progressive Citizens' Party also lost one seat, it is likely that Adrian Hasler, a member of this party, will become Liechtenstein's next
Source: Wikipedia: History of Liechtenstein
Despite its small size and limited natural resources, Liechtenstein has developed into a prosperous, highly industrialized,
free-enterprise economy with a vital financial service sector and likely the second highest per capita income in the world. The
Liechtenstein economy is widely diversified with a large number of small businesses. Low business taxes - the maximum tax rate is
20% - and easy incorporation rules have induced many holding companies to establish nominal offices in Liechtenstein providing
30% of state revenues. The country participates in a customs union with Switzerland and uses the Swiss franc as its national
currency. It imports more than 90% of its energy requirements. Liechtenstein has been a member of the European Economic Area
(an organization serving as a bridge between the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the EU) since May 1995. The
government is working to harmonize its economic policies with those of an integrated Europe. Since 2008, Liechtenstein has faced
renewed international pressure - particularly from Germany - to improve transparency in its banking and tax systems. In December
2008, Liechtenstein signed a Tax Information Exchange Agreement with the US. Upon Liechtenstein's conclusion of 12 bilateral
information-sharing agreements, the OECD in October 2009 removed the principality from its "grey list" of countries that had yet to
implement the organization's Model Tax Convention. By the end of 2010, Liechtenstein had signed 25 Tax Information Exchange
Agreements or Double Tax Agreements. In 2011 Liechtenstein joined the Schengen area, which allows passport-free travel across
26 European countries.
Source: CIA World Factbook (select Liechtenstein)
The monarch is hereditary. Following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party in the Diet is usually appointed the head of
government by the monarch and the leader of the largest minority party in the Diet is usually appointed the deputy head of
government by the monarch. According to the constitution of Liechtenstein, the government is a collegiate body and consists of the
head of government and four governmental councilors. The head of government as well as the ministers are appointed by the Prince
following the proposals of the Parliament.
The Prince's involvement in legislation consists in a right to take initiatives in the form of government bills and in the right to veto
parliamentary proposals. The Prince has the power to enact princely decrees. Emergency princely decrees are possible when the
security and welfare of the country is at stake. A countersignature by the head of government is, nevertheless, required. The Prince
has the right to convene and adjourn parliament and, for serious reasons, to adjourn it for 3 months or to dissolve it.
Moreover the people of Liechtenstein have very strong direct democratic rights. At least 1000 citizens can initiate a referendum on
any law. At least 1500 can suspend the parliament or change the constitution.
The political parties are in practice politically decisive and are the moving forces with regard to the composition of the government.
For the 2001-05 legislature period of office one Councilor and three deputies are women.
From 1938 to 1997 Liechtenstein had a coalition government. Until a few years ago there were only two parties in Parliament, the
Fatherland Union and the Progressive Citizens' Party. Liechtenstein's distinctive form of coalition government came to an end in
April 1997. The Fatherland Union took sole responsibility for the government during the 1997 to 2001 Parliament, with its members
filling all the positions on the government committee. Parliamentary elections were held in Liechtenstein on 8 February 2009. While
polls and pundits predicted few changes, the national conservative Progressive Citizens' Party in Liechtenstein lost many votes, as
did the green social-liberal Free List; the national liberal Patriotic Union won a lot of votes, and even gained an outright majority in
the Landtag. Parliamentary elections were held in Liechtenstein on 1 February and 3 February 2013, using a proportional
representation system. This is the first election in Liechtenstein in which four different political groups have won seats in the Landtag.
The success of The Independents was considered by observers to be a result of protest votes against austerity measures in the
country. It was also postulated that greater diversity in the Landtag was a result of a decreased partisanship of voters. Patriotic
Union members expressed their disappointment at the result. The VU suffered a large defeat, losing more than a third of its seats.
Although the Progressive Citizens' Party also lost one seat, it is likely that Adrian Hasler, a member of this party, will become
Liechtenstein's next Prime Minister.
Source: Wikipedia: Politics of Liechtenstein
Has strengthened money laundering controls, but money laundering remains a concern due to Liechtenstein's sophisticated
offshore financial services sector
|HUMAN RIGHTS STATEMENTS, ANALYSIS AND CRITIQUES
|2011 Human Rights Report: Liechtenstein
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
2011 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
May 25, 2012
The Principality of Liechtenstein is a multiparty constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary government. The unicameral Landtag
(parliament) nominates, and the monarch appoints, the members of the government. A two-party coalition government was formed
following free and fair parliamentary elections in 2009. Security forces reported to civilian authorities.
There were no reports of widespread or systemic human rights abuses.
The country’s main human rights problems consisted of isolated instances of violence against women, including spousal abuse, and child
abuse and societal discrimination against minorities.
The government took steps to prosecute officials who committed abuses
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31 August 2012
Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
6 – 31 August 2012
Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 9 of the convention
Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
2. The Committee welcomes the submission of the combined fourth to sixth periodic reports of the State party, in line with the
Committee’s reporting guidelines (CERD/C/2007/1). The Committee also welcomes the submission of the common core document by
the State party.
3. The Committee commends the State party for its oral presentation and the open, constructive and focused dialogue with the multi-
B. Positive aspects
4. The Committee notes the State party’s ongoing efforts to revise its legislation in areas of relevance to the Convention, including:
a) Entry into force on 1 January 2010 of the Law on the Free Movement of Persons and associated ordinance, applicable to EEA and
b) Entry into force on 1 January 2009 of the new Foreigners Act and associated ordinance, applicable to persons who are not citizens of
EEA and Switzerland;
C. Concerns and recommendations
National legislation against racial discrimination
8. While the Committee takes note of the State party’s monist system whereby an international treaty becomes part of national law upon
ratification and entry into force without the need for special implementing legislation, it is concerned at the absence of comprehensive
legislation against racial discrimination. (art. 1)
Recalling its general recommendation 14 (1993) on article 1 (1), the Committee recommends that the State party consider enacting
specific legislation that explicitly prohibits racial discrimination.
Criminalization of racial discrimination
9. While noting that article 283(1)(7) of the Criminal Code provides for criminalization of membership in organizations that promote or
incite racial discrimination, the Committee remains concerned at the lack of legislation that specifically prohibits racist organizations. (art.
The Committee recalls its general recommendation 15 (1993) on article 4, and recommends that the State party adopt legislation that
specifically prohibits organizations promoting racial discrimination, in accordance with the full scope of article 4 of the Convention.
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Freedom In The World 2012 Report
Political Rights Score: 1
Civil Liberties Score: 1
Following two successive referenda in 2011, Liechtenstein rejected full legalization of abortion, which remains a criminal act, and
rebuffed a same-sex registered-partnership bill passed by Parliament in March.
In the February 2009 parliamentary elections, the VU won 13 seats and the FBP captured 11, while a small third party, the social-
democrat Free List, took the remaining seat. The VU’s Klaus Tschütscher, who replaced Hasler as prime minister in March, maintained
the coalition government with the FBP.
Liechtenstein, a leading offshore tax haven, has traditionally maintained tight bank secrecy laws. However, in 2009, the principality
signed agreements with several countries and agreed to comply with transparency and tax information-sharing standards, as outlined by
the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Following a 2009 agreement with the United Kingdom,
Liechtenstein passed laws in July 2010 which will oblige those holding offshore accounts in the country to declare their assets to tax
authorities and pay as much as 10 percent in taxes evaded over the past 10 years.
Liechtenstein is an electoral democracy. However, the unelected monarch is the most politically powerful in Europe. The prince, as the
hereditary head of state, appoints the prime minister on the recommendation of Parliament and possesses the power to veto legislation
and dismiss the government. At the same time, freely elected representatives determine the policies of the government, and the
unicameral Parliament (Landtag) consists of 25 deputies chosen by proportional representation every four years. Voting is compulsory.
Political parties are able to freely organize. The VU and the FBP have dominated politics over the last half-century.
Liechtenstein’s politics and society are largely free of corruption, and the country continues to work to build sufficient mechanisms to
fight money laundering in its banking system. Due to recent commitments, the OECD removed Liechtenstein from its list of
uncooperative tax havens in 2009. Government officials are not legally obligated to disclose their financial assets.
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Suggested recommendations to States considered in the 15th round of the Universal Periodic Review, 21 January – 1 February
19 November 2012
Recommendations to the government of Liechtenstein
Independent national human rights institution:
To establish a genuinely independent national human rights institution in accordance with the Paris Principles;
To ensure that the national human rights institution is mandated to receive and take action on individual complaints, monitor the
general human rights situation, coordinate with thematic mechanisms, and participate with government and other authorities on the
drafting, enactment and execution of human rights legislation;
To ensure that the national human rights institution has the necessary financial and human resources to carry out its mandate
To ensure that members are have adequate knowledge and expertise in the field of human rights and are appointed independently of
Ratification of international human rights treaties
To ratify the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and opt-in to the inquiry and
To ratify promptly the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, signed on 6 February
2007, making upon ratification the declarations set out in Articles 31 and 32 (recognition of the competence of the Committee on
Enforced Disappearances to receive and consider communications from or on behalf of victims and from other states parties), and to
implement it into national law;
To accede promptly to the Convention on the non-applicability of statutory limitations to war crimes and crimes against humanity,
without making any reservation and to implement it into national law.
International Criminal Court
To implement Liechtenstein’s obligations under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court;
To accede to the Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the International Criminal Court and to implement it in national law.
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Liechtenstein: Say ‘Yes’ to Same-Sex Partnerships
People Should Endorse Legalization in Upcoming Referendum
May 25, 2011
(New York) - The people of Liechtenstein should vote "yes" in the June 2011 referendum on whether their parliament should proceed to
legalize same-sex partnerships, Human Rights Watch said today.
"The parliament has already taken the right steps to ensure that everyone in Liechtenstein, regardless of sexual orientation, is entitled to
the protection of the law," said Boris Dittrich, advocacy director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Rights
Program at Human Rights Watch. "Now the citizens of Liechtenstein have an opportunity to endorse this move against discrimination."
If the majority of voters say "yes" in the referendum scheduled to take place on June 17 through 19, lesbian and gay couples will be
entitled by law to most of the same rights as married heterosexual couples, except in a few areas, such as second-parent adoption,
artificial insemination, and surrogacy. A "no" vote will leave same-sex partnerships outside of the protection of the law.
"A ‘yes' vote not only recognizes the reality that there is absolutely no reason that lesbians and gay men should not be entitled to
protection of the law for their intimate relationships, but is also consistent with European efforts to modernize family law," Dittrich said.
A registered partnership bill was unanimously adopted by the Liechtenstein Parliament (Landtag) on March 16. The bill was due to
become law on September 1.
However, under Liechtenstein law a bill can be prevented from becoming law if the people block it through a referendum, which must be
held within three months of the adoption of the bill. Such a referendum requires a petition signed by a minimum of 1,000 registered
voters. On April 21 a group called "Vox Populi" presented 1,208 signatures to the government, effectively demanding a referendum. The
government announced the referendum dates on April 26. The result will be binding.
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NEW YORK, 29 SEPTEMBER 2012
UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 67TH SESSION
STATEMENT BY H.E. MS. AURELIA FRICK
FOREIGN MINISTER OF THE PRINCIPALITY OF LIECHTENSTEIN
We are convening in this Assembly at a time when we are witnessing a worrisome phenomenon: senseless violence spreading through an
entire region as a result of senseless offense to religious feelings. More than any other organization, the United Nations stands for the
ideals of tolerance, understanding and mutual respect. A strong message should therefore come out of this debate: The hateful slander of
people on the basis of their culture or religion is unacceptable. It is an abuse of the right to freedom of expression. But just as clearly we
must emphasize that violence cannot be justified by insults – no matter how understandable the outrage may be. These ongoing events
also tell us that we must reach many more people in our effort to promote the values of the United Nations around the globe.
Let me conclude with some remarks about an issue that is particularly dear to my heart. Ever since becoming Foreign Minister, I have
tried to make use of the relevant international platforms to promote the advancement of women. I also hope to bring Liechtenstein’s
expertise and passion for women’s issues to the Commission on the Status of Women during the term 2015 – 2019.
I am grateful to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for his strong leadership in this area. UN Women, headed so charismatically by Michelle
Bachelet, has given a much-needed additional boost to our efforts.
If we continue our path, then the United Nations can be the decisive driving force for gender equality worldwide.
Until then, we can and must do much more, in particular in the area of women, peace and security. Stronger protection of women, both
legal and otherwise, in situations where they are particularly prone to becoming victims, is a key component. The UN with its very
strong field presence all over the world can make a unique contribution to this end. But most importantly, the UN must lead by example
when it comes to gender equality and the advancement of women. We must make the best use of their talents, skills and experiences as
peace-makers, as agents for sustainable development and as advocates for human rights and the rule of law.
Only with women fully included will we, the United Nations, be successful in pursuing our goals.
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Social housing and education for Roma promote
Liechtenstein is supporting a project of the International Refugee and Migration Assistance (IFMH) under IHCD around CHF 280,000.
The Immigration and Passport Office, which manages the funds IFMH will monitor and assess the implementation and.
This is a continuation of an already supported with funds from the budget last year project to promote the social housing for members of
the Roma ethnic group in Bosnia-Herzegovina. A large part of the estimated 100,000 Roma live in small settlements in the country, where
they are better protected from discrimination by the majority population, but suffer from some precarious hygienic conditions have.
Together with the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Caritas Switzerland is involved in so many years of promotion of social
housing. The application for this upcoming guidelines for minimum standards of construction seen in light of the difficult social situation
of Roma families from a thoroughly turnkey construction. For the selection of beneficiaries, the guidelines indicate that the community
and its social center as well as local representatives of the Roma community are represented in the selection committee.
In total, the money from Liechtenstein to clean up or to re-build 37 residential units in three communities.
Another goal of the project is the integration of the individual families in Liechtenstein also funded agricultural program of Caritas
Switzerland. This offers economically bad off families or families without a regular income in the form of a small loan of seedlings, tools
and fertilizers for the cultivation of raspberries or blackberries. The small producers receive counseling and the decrease of the berries is
contractually guaranteed. Even with a small piece of land of 0.2 hectares can be your average monthly income Bosnian equivalent of
around CHF 300 are generated.
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Support for human rights NGOs ISHR and WWSF
The government has decided contributions to the international human rights NGOs active "Women's World Summit Foundation
(WWSF)" and "International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)." The ISHR which training for human rights defenders from around the
world performing and analysis in the international human rights policy is supported by 20,000 francs. The WWSF receives 10,000 to
support its global campaign against child abuse and violence against children. The application for the protection of human rights is a
thematic focus of multilateral development cooperation Liechtenstein. Civil society plays in the protection of human rights a central role,
which is why using Liechtenstein for their strengthening.
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Hans Adam II
President since 13 November 1989
Heir Apparent and Ruling Prince
since 15 August 2004
Dr. Martin Meyer
Deputy Prime Minister since 25 March 2009