The Principality of Andorra is a constitutional, parliamentary democracy. Two co-princes, the president of France and the Spanish bishop of Urgell, serve with joint authority as heads of state. In 2019 the country held free and fair multiparty elections for the 28 seats in parliament (the General Council of the Valleys), which selects the head of government. Having won a majority in parliament, the Democrats for Andorra formed a coalition with Liberals of Andorra and Committed Citizens, and elected Xavier Espot Zamora from the Democrats for Andorra head of government.
The country’s only security forces are the police, prison officers, traffic police, and forestry officials. The national police maintained internal and external security. The Ministry of Justice and Interior maintained effective civilian control over the security forces. There were no reports that members of the security forces committed abuses.
There were no reports of significant human rights abuses.
The government had mechanisms in place to identify and punish officials who may commit human rights abuses or engage in corruption.
Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person
a. Arbitrary Deprivation of Life and Other Unlawful or Politically Motivated Killings
There were no reports that the government or its agents committed arbitrary or unlawful killings.
There were no reports of disappearances by or on behalf of government authorities.
c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and Other Related Abuses
The constitution and law prohibit such practices, and there were no credible reports that government officials employed them.
Prison and Detention Center Conditions
There were no significant reports regarding prison or detention center conditions that raised human rights concerns.
Administration: Authorities conducted proper investigations of credible allegations of mistreatment.
Independent Monitoring: The government permitted visits by independent human rights observers.
d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention
The constitution and law prohibit arbitrary arrest and detention and provide for the right of any person to challenge the lawfulness of his or her arrest or detention in court. The government generally observed these requirements.
Arrest Procedures and Treatment of Detainees
The law requires a warrant for arrest. Police may legally detain persons for 48 hours without a hearing, and police generally observed this time limit. A judge has up to 24 hours to charge or release a detainee. Police promptly informed detainees of charges against them. A bail system exists. The law provides detainees the right to legal counsel from the moment of arrest. Persons charged with a crime may choose their own lawyers or accept one designated by the government. Authorities generally respected these rights.
Pretrial Detention: The law provides that the duration of provisional detention may not exceed four months. A judge may, by means of a reasoned decision, extend its duration for the same amount of time. The duration of the provisional detention may not exceed half the maximum penalty prescribed by the criminal code for the offenses for which it has been ordered. According to the law, once a case has been sent to court, the duration of the pretrial detention cannot exceed six months (minor offenses) or 12 months (serious offenses). As of December, prisoners were in pretrial detention on average for 498 days, or approximately 16 months. The slow pace of the justice system and lack of human resources often resulted in lengthy detentions beyond the period stipulated by law.
e. Denial of Fair Public Trial
The constitution and law provide for an independent judiciary, and the government generally respected judicial independence and impartiality.
The constitution and law provide for the right to a fair and public trial, and an independent judiciary generally enforced this right.
Political Prisoners and Detainees
There were no reports of political prisoners or detainees.
Civil Judicial Procedures and Remedies
Plaintiffs may bring lawsuits seeking damages for, or cessation of, a human rights violation. Individuals and organizations may appeal adverse domestic decisions to the European Court of Human Rights. The national ombudsman also serves to protect and defend basic rights and public freedom on behalf of citizens.
f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence
The constitution and law prohibit such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.
Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties
a. Freedom of Expression, Including for Members of the Press and Other Media
The constitution and law provide for freedom of expression, including for members of the press and other media, and the government generally respected this right. An independent media, an effective judiciary, and a functioning democratic political system combined to promote freedom of expression, including for members of the media.
The government did not restrict or disrupt access to the internet or censor online content, and there were no credible reports that the government monitored private online communications without appropriate legal authority.
b. Freedoms of Peaceful Assembly and Association
The constitution and law provide for the freedoms of peaceful assembly and association, and the government generally respected these rights.
c. Freedom of Religion
See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report athttps://www.state.gov/religiousfreedomreport/.
d. Freedom of Movement and the Right to Leave the Country
The law provides for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, and repatriation, and the government generally respected these related rights.
e. Protection of Refugees
The government cooperated with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and other humanitarian organizations in providing protection and assistance to refugees, returning refugees, asylum seekers, stateless persons, and other persons of concern.
Access to Asylum: The law does not provide for the granting of asylum or refugee status, and the government has not established a system for providing protection to refugees, preferring to deal with refugees on an ad hoc basis. The law, however, provides for the temporary and transitional protection of asylum seekers for humanitarian reasons and allows their entry, stay, and right to work for a two-year period, renewable for six additional months.
The law establishes a cap on refugee admissions; 20 in the case of refugees arriving from Syria, and 285 for those coming from Ukraine.
As a result of the 2018 Syrian refugee crisis, the government and the Community of Sant’Egidio maintained a humanitarian corridor from French and Spanish airports for refugees to enter the country. Since the start of the corridor in 2018, 12 Syrian refugees have received legal, medical, psychological, social, and educational assistance.
Access to Basic Services: The law provides for housing, as well as access to social services, health care, transportation, and education for refugees. Additionally, the government provides optional Catalan language courses to promote the integration of refugees into the country. The government provided these benefits to incoming refugees with the support of the Andorran Red Cross, Caritas, and the Association Open-Open Them (Associacio Obrim, Obrim-les).
Temporary Protection: The law provides for the temporary protection of asylum seekers for humanitarian reasons and allows their entry, stay, and right to work for a two-year period, renewable for six additional months. After this period, the beneficiary can either return to the country of origin, go to a third country, or stay in Andorra if the individual complies with all immigration requirements.
Section 3. Freedom to Participate in the Political Process
The constitution and the law provide citizens the ability to choose their government in free and fair periodic elections held by secret ballot and based on universal and equal suffrage.
Elections and Political Participation
Recent Elections:Observers considered parliamentary elections held in 2019 to be free and fair.
Participation of Women and Members of Minority Groups: No laws limit the participation of women or members of minority groups in the political process, and they did participate. Citizens were mostly ethnically and linguistically homogeneous but, as of the end of the year, represented only 48.3 percent of the country’s total population. Most of the population consisted of immigrants, largely from Spain, Portugal, and France. The law requires 20 years of residency for naturalization. Because only citizens have the right to hold official positions, there were no members of minority groups in government.
Section 4. Corruption and Lack of Transparency in Government
The law provides criminal penalties for corruption by officials, and the government generally implemented the law effectively. Officials infrequently engaged in corrupt practices. There were no reports of government corruption during the year.
Section 5. Governmental Posture Towards International and Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Abuses of Human Rights
A variety of domestic and international human rights groups generally operated without government restriction, investigating and publishing their findings on human rights cases. Government officials were cooperative and responsive to their views.
Government Human Rights Bodies: The ombudsman’s main function is to defend and oversee the fulfillment and application of the rights and liberties included in the constitution and to ensure the public sector adheres to constitutional principles. The Ombudsman’s Office also covers all cases of discrimination in the private sector as well as in the protection of the rights of minors and persons with disabilities and protection against racist, xenophobic, antisemitic, and intolerant attitudes. The Ombudsman’s Office is independent from other institutions and provides its functions free of charge to interested persons.
The ombudsman enjoyed the government’s cooperation, operated without government interference, had adequate resources, published an annual report to parliament with recommendations, and was considered effective.
Section 6. Discrimination and Societal Abuses
Rape and Domestic Violence:The law prohibits rape regardless of gender, including spousal rape, punishable by up to 15 years’ imprisonment. It penalizes domestic physical or psychological violence with a prison sentence of up to three years. Authorities enforced the law effectively.
Sexual Harassment:The law prohibits sexual harassment under the provisions for other sexual aggressions, punishable by three months’ to three years’ imprisonment. As of December, no cases were reported to authorities. According to nongovernmental organization (NGO) sources, survivors were reluctant to file a complaint due to fear of reprisal.
Reproductive Rights: There were no reports of coerced abortion or involuntary sterilization on the part of governmental authorities. The government provided access to sexual and reproductive health services for survivors of sexual violence. Emergency contraception was available as part of clinical management of rape. Individuals were informed and had access to safe, effective, and affordable methods of family planning. The government’s Comprehensive Care Service for Women and the hospital provided free emergency contraception. Access to emergency health care, including services for the management of complications arising from abortion, was available.
Discrimination:The law provides for the same legal status and rights for women as for men. The law also prohibits discrimination privately or professionally. The government enforced the law effectively. On March 31, parliament approved the country’s first gender equality law. The law provides for coeducation in the education system, improved representation of women in governing bodies, and the modification of the penal code to punish the lack of consent in sexual crimes.
Systemic Racial or Ethnic Violence and Discrimination
The constitution prohibits discrimination based on sex, race, place of origin, political opinions, color, or creed. There were no reports of governmental or societal violence or discrimination against members of racial, ethnic, or national minorities during the year.
Birth Registration:According to the law, citizenship is acquired when a child is born in the country to an Andorran parent or born abroad to an Andorran parent born in the country; a child is born in the country and either parent was born in the country and is living there at the time of birth; or a child is born in the country and both parents are stateless or of unknown identity. A child of foreign parents may acquire Andorran nationality by birth in the country if at the time of birth one of the parents completed 10 years in the country. Otherwise, the child may become a citizen before attaining the age of adulthood or a year after reaching the age of adulthood if his or her parents have been permanently resident in the country for 10 years or if the person can prove that he or she has lived in the country permanently and continuously for the previous five years. In the meantime, the child has a provisional passport.
Children are registered at birth.
Child Abuse:The law prohibits child abuse and punishes perpetrators with three months’ to six years’ imprisonment. The government’s Specialized Child Protection Team, consisting of three social workers, five psychologists, and three social educators, intervened in situations where children and young persons were at risk or lacked protection, and it collected data on cases of child abuse.
Child, Early, and Forced Marriage:The minimum legal age of marriage is 16 for girls and boys and as young as 14 with judicial authorization.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: The penalty for statutory rape is 15 years’ imprisonment, the same as for rape in general. The law bans slavery and servitude with a maximum of 12 years’ imprisonment. It also prohibits trafficking in persons for the purpose of slavery and servitude with a maximum of six years’ imprisonment.
The law punishes anyone who manages or finances premises used for prostitution; who aids, abets, or fosters prostitution; or who incites through violence, intimidation, or exploitation another person to engage in prostitution.
Child pornography is illegal and carries a prison sentence of up to four years. The minimum age of sexual consent is 14 years. Authorities enforced the law.
Unofficial estimates placed the size of the Jewish community at 100 persons. There were no reports of antisemitic acts.
Trafficking in Persons
There were no confirmed reports during the year that traffickers exploited domestic or foreign victims in the country or that traffickers exploited victims from the country abroad.
Acts of Violence, Criminalization, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity or Expression, or Sex Characteristics
Criminalization: No law criminalizes consensual same-sex sexual conduct between adults or so-called cross-dressing, including de facto discrimination, such as laws covering “debauchery.” There were no reports of authorities applying laws disproportionally to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or intersex (LGBTQI+) persons.
Violence against LGBTQI+ Persons: The law considers sexual orientation an aggravating circumstance for crimes motivated by hate or bias. There were few cases of violence based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or sex characteristics.
Discrimination: The law prohibits discrimination by state and nonstate actors based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics and recognizes LGBTQI+ individuals, couples, and their families. The government enforced the law.
The Ministry of Social Affairs, Youth, and Equality received requests for psychological, social, and legal assistance from individuals based on their gender identity or expression.
NGOs called for appropriate training on transgender matters, especially for professionals working with children, including medical professionals, teachers, and civil servants. Complaints on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity may be brought before the civil and administrative courts. Civil society saw a need for the government to improve its sensitivity to problems of the LGBTQI+ community.
Availability of Legal Gender Recognition: In July parliament passed a reform of the family code allowing transgender individuals to change their name and gender through the judiciary without a medical examination. Adults, emancipated minors, and young persons ages 12 or above with the consent of their parents or legal representatives may request changes to the registration entry of their sex if it does not correspond to their gender identity and if they can prove they have been presenting themselves publicly for two or more years and have been known with this identity among their close family, professional, or social contacts. The accreditation of gender identity does not require an individual to have undergone sex reassignment surgery or to have been treated medically to accommodate their physical characteristics to their gender identity. The government added hormonal or surgical treatment for cases of gender dysphoria to the free health care system.
Involuntary or Coercive Medical or Psychological Practices Specifically Targeting LGBTQI+ Individuals: There were no reports of such practices.
Restrictions of Freedom of Expression, Association, or Peaceful Assembly: There were no reports of such restrictions. To celebrate the International Day against Homophobia, Lesbophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the Ministry of Social Affairs, Youth, and Equality with the NGO DIVERSAND launched an awareness campaign to promote diversity, equality, and nondiscrimination.
Persons with Disabilities
Although parliament approved in October 2020 a reform to the education law reaffirming the inclusion of students with disabilities in the public school system at all grade levels, NGOs continued to call for effective implementation of an inclusive educational system.
According to civil society representatives, the most significant challenge for persons with disabilities remained the entry into the workforce. The Ministry of Social Affairs, Youth, and Equality promoted the hiring of persons with disabilities through the Network of Inclusive Businesses, which provides participating companies fiscal and social incentives for participating.
National civil society organizations also identified among the primary concerns for persons with disabilities access to private and public spaces. Associations requested the government provide more resources to reduce the increasing gap among persons with disabilities to acquire adequate equipment.
The Service for Personal Autonomy within the Ministry of Social Affairs, Youth, and Equality received requests for psychological, social, and legal assistance from persons with disabilities and their families. The government provided such services.
Section 7. Worker Rights
a. Freedom of Association and the Right to Collective Bargaining
The constitution and law provide for workers to form and join independent trade unions. The law also regulates the relations between trade unions and employer associations as well as mechanisms of collective conflict. The law provides for the rights to bargain collectively and to strike. Alternate dispute resolution mechanisms such as mediation and arbitration exist. The law neither prohibits antiunion discrimination nor requires the reinstatement of workers fired for union activity.
While the government effectively enforced the law, the country’s main union, Unio Sindical d’Andorra (USdA), continued to allege the law does not effectively protect workers, especially those with short-term contracts. Penalties for violations were commensurate with those for other laws involving the denial of civil liberties.
The government and employers respected freedom of association. Collective bargaining did not occur during the year. There were no official reports of or investigations into antiunion discrimination. Workers continued to be reluctant to admit to union membership due to fear of retaliation by their employers and arbitrary dismissal.
On May 1 (Labor Day), labor unions organized the first protest since 2011, in which approximately 500 workers conducted a peaceful demonstration calling on the government to increase wages, reform the pension system and provide access to affordable housing. Protests continued December 9 with more than 300 persons denouncing low wages, cost of living increases and lack of access to housing, especially for migrant workers.
b. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor
The law prohibits all forms of forced or compulsory labor. The government effectively enforced applicable laws.
c. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment
The law prohibits children younger than age 14 from working and prohibits all the worst forms of child labor. Children ages 14 or 15 may work up to two months per year during school holidays following strict regulations contained in the law. The law limits work by children who are ages 14 or 15 to no more than six hours per day, limits work by children ages 16 or 17 to eight hours per day, provides for safety restrictions, restricts the types of work children may perform, and outlines other conditions. According to the law, children may not work overtime, work overnight, or work in dangerous occupations, especially in the construction sector. The law provides for protection of children from exploitation in the workplace. Penalties were commensurate with those for other similar crimes. The government effectively enforced the law. There were no confirmed reports during the year of the worst forms of child labor.
d. Discrimination with Respect to Employment and Occupation
The law prohibits discrimination with respect to employment and occupation, and the government effectively enforced the law. Penalties were commensurate with other laws related to civil rights. Penalties were regularly applied against violators. Some cases of discrimination against persons with disabilities, persons based on sexual orientation, and women occurred with respect to employment or occupation. Discrimination against persons with disabilities existed in the form of social and cultural barriers, as well as disadvantages in the labor market. The Ministry of Social Affairs favored the hiring of persons with disabilities and promoted the Network of Inclusive Businesses. Member companies received fiscal and social incentives for participating.
Women represented 48.6 percent of the workforce. The law requires equal pay for equal work. No cases were filed during the year, but the ADA and trade union representatives from the USdA reported cases of gender discrimination, especially relating to unequal salaries for the same work and workplace bullying. Victims were reluctant to file a complaint due to fear of reprisal from employers. The government’s Department of Statistics estimated that women earned on average 22 percent less than men for comparable work. In the financial sector, this increased to 44 percent. A study conducted by the Reig Foundation and the Andorran Center for Sociological Research showed that the wage gap increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The government tried to combat pay discrimination in general and applied pay equality within the government.
The new gender equality law approved in March requests companies with more than 50 workers to implement gender equality plans.
e. Acceptable Conditions of Work
Wage and Hour Laws: The national minimum wage was above the poverty level but not sufficient to provide a decent standard of living for a worker and family.
The government generally enforced minimum wage laws.
Workers may work up to two overtime hours per day or 15 hours per week, 50 hours per month, and 426 hours per year. Penalties for wage and overtime violations were commensurate with those for similar crimes. The Labor Inspection Office, within the Ministry of Presidency and Economy, has the authority to levy sanctions and fines against companies violating standards and enforced compliance. The office had enough inspectors and resources to enforce compliance. Inspectors had the authority to conduct unannounced inspections.
Occupational Safety and Health: Under the law, occupational safety and health (OSH) experts, rather than workers, are responsible for identifying unsafe situations. The law covers agricultural, domestic, and migrant workers.
As of the end of July, the Labor Inspection Office had received 45 occupational safety- and health-related complaints. As of September, the Andorran Social Security Fund had registered 2,788 workplace accidents, which led to 1.292 persons on sick leave from their workplace for an average of 43 days. One death was registered.
Wage, Hour, and OSH Enforcement: The government effectively enforced occupational safety and health laws, and the penalties for violations were commensurate with those for crimes such as negligence.
The Labor Inspection Office has the authority to levy sanctions and fines against companies violating standards and enforced compliance. The office had enough inspectors and resources to enforce compliance. Inspectors had the authority to conduct unannounced inspections. Inspections for occupational safety and health were conducted by the same inspectors under the same authorities as wage and hours.