Luxembourg’s detailed report praised by the Committee, but reservations to the ICCPR remain

Published on 20 Jul 2022, 04:24 PM

Human Rights Committee considers the fourth periodic report of Luxembourg

Luxembourg reviewed by the Human Rights Committee in its 135th session

On June 29 and 30, 2022, the Human Rights Committee considered the fourth periodic report of Luxembourg during its 135th session. The Chair and the members repeatedly congratulated the delegation of Luxembourg for their thorough and substantive report. During the dialogue, the most salient issues included the remaining reservations of the State to the ICCPR, the constitutional review currently underway in Luxembourg, the draft legislation on gender equality, counterterrorism measures, and discrimination against LGBTI and persons with disabilities. Moreover, Luxembourg’s courses on Life and Society as an alternative to religious subjects in school centers were also praised by Committee members.

National legislation and international treaties

The remaining reservations of Luxembourg to the ICCPR were discussed, including their reservation on art. 10.3 on juvenile offenders. Luxembourg explained that the reservation depends on the legislation on criminal justice for minors, which was repealed. For the moment, they are developing a new draft bill that will replace detention centers with penitentiary establishments specialized in minors, and bring significant advances for children’s rights. The purpose is delegalising penalties of minors and prioritizing alternative non-punitive measures. Once the bill is adopted, they will consider repealing the reservation.

As for the constitutional procedures to include international treaties in domestic law, the delegation clarified that their legal order recognizes the priority of international law over their Constitution. As such, In the event of any contradiction between the two, the Constitution would have to be changed. As for the adoption of new treaties, the decision is made by the executive branch, and then a law approving the treaty is ratified by the Great Duchy and added as national legislation.

Sexual and reproductive rights and LGBTI+ persons

Committee members also questioned the delegation about the issue of female genital mutilation (FGM) and any measures taken to combat it. Luxembourg mentioned that, out of girls in Luxembourg who had lived in a country where this was practiced, 17% were at risk of FGM. To combat this, a national strategy was adopted, which included the offering of training to workers in contact with women seeking international protection, to identify or combat potential cases, and awareness raising campaigns.

The dialogue also considered the rights of LGTBI+ persons, with a particular focus on the right of intersex persons and the prohibition of non-consensual and irreversible medical procedures. Luxembourg has been drafting a bill for the protection of intersex persons for four years, though they said the process was still ongoing. The drafting was prolonged due to, among other issues, the pandemic. Luxembourg also highlighted the drafting of a law that will guarantee the self-determination of minors and might include a third gender option on the civil registry, and another law on the modification of gender and pronouns regardless of individuals’ names and civil statuses. According to them, once approved this will reinforce the rights of intersex and gender-diverse individuals.

Watch again the dialogue with the Committee here.

Recommendations of the Human Rights Committee

Concluding Observations on Luxembourg’s fourth periodic report were released on 27 July 2022. The State party is requested to provide, by 28 July 2025, information on the implementation of the following  recommendations:

Sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex persons

The State party should strengthen measures to stop irreversible medical procedures, in particular surgical operations, being performed on intersex children who are not yet able to give free and informed consent, except when such interventions are absolutely necessary from a medical point of view. In this regard, the State party should expedite the adoption of a law to this effect, as foreseen in the above-mentioned Plan of Action. The State Party should also accelerate the establishment of a centralized system for the collection of relevant statistics, including on measures taken in the area of rehabilitation and compensation.

Female Genital Mutilation

The State party should:

  • a) Accelerate the adoption of a dedicated national strategy.
  • b) Continue its efforts to raise awareness among communities at risk, including on the possibilities of assistance and remedies for victims of female genital mutilation;
  • c) Improve the data collection system in order to assess the scope of the phenomenon. Beyond the number of cases identified, the data collection system should also include the number of complaints and investigations initiated, the number of prosecutions and convictions, and information on assistance, compensation, and rehabilitation measures provided to victims;

Right to peaceful assembly

The State party should take the necessary legislative measures to lift the ban on demonstrations that have not been notified in advance, with reference to the Committee's general comment No. 37 (2020) on the right to peaceful assembly (paras. 70-71). The State party should also provide clear guidance to local authorities and police officers on the State party's obligations under the provisions of article 21 of the Covenant.

Here you can find all the recommendations given by the Committee in the Concluding Observations.

The follow-up report of Luxembourg on the implementation of the recommendations is due in 2025. The next list of issues will be adopted in 2028, and the next periodic report is due in 2029. 

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