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The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg has a constitutional monarchy and a democratic parliamentary form of government with a popularly elected unicameral parliament called the Chamber of Deputies. The prime minister is the leader of the dominant party or party coalition in parliament. In 2018 the country held parliamentary elections that observers considered free and fair.

The Grand Ducal Police maintain internal security and report to the Ministry of Internal Security. Civilian authorities maintained effective 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.

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.

b. Disappearance

There were no reports of disappearances by or on behalf of government authorities.

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

The law prohibits such practices, and there were no 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.

Physical Conditions: There were no major concerns in prisons and detention centers regarding physical conditions or inmate abuse.

According to a representative of “In, Out … and Now?,” a nongovernmental organization (NGO) that promotes inmates’ rights, the increased isolation resulting from the COVID-19 measures represented the greatest problem for inmates. The organization expressed its concern about restrictions on visitation rights at the Schrassig Prison. The association stressed that not only was the number of visiting hours “drastically reduced” due to the pandemic, but unmonitored visits were suspended entirely. The nonprofit feared that this situation could have an “enormous impact” on the prisoners’ mental health as well as on their families.

Administration: Authorities conducted investigations of credible allegations of mistreatment at prisons.

Independent Monitoring: The government permitted monitoring by independent human rights observers, including by the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and the country’s ombudsman, who monitors and supervises the country’s detention centers.

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 detention in court. The government generally observed these requirements.

Arrest Procedures and Treatment of Detainees

Warrants issued by a duly authorized official are required for arrests in most cases. Police must inform detainees of the charges against them within 24 hours of their arrest and bring detainees before a judge for a determination of the detention’s legality. There is a functioning bail system, which judges regularly employed. According to the law, detainees must be provided access to an attorney prior to their initial interrogation. In cases of indigent detainees, the government pays for the attorney. These rights were respected.

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial

The constitution and law provide for an independent judiciary, and the government generally respected judicial independence and impartiality.

Trial Procedures

The constitution provides for an independent judiciary, and the government generally respected judicial independence and impartiality.

Defendants have the right to a presumption of innocence and the right to be informed promptly and in detail of the charges. Defendants have the right to a fair trial without undue delay. Trials are public, except for those involving sexual or child abuse cases. Defendants have the right to be present and to consult in a timely manner with an attorney of their choice or to have one provided at public expense. Defendants and their attorneys have adequate time and facilities to prepare a defense. Persons who do not speak or understand the language of the proceedings are entitled to the free assistance of an interpreter as soon as they are questioned as a suspect, in the course of an investigation, during a preliminary investigation, or in criminal proceedings if charged. Defendants may confront witnesses against them and present witnesses and evidence on their own behalf. They may not be compelled to testify or confess guilt. Defendants have the right of appeal.

Political Prisoners and Detainees

There were no reports of political prisoners or detainees.

Civil Judicial Procedures and Remedies

Magistrate courts serve as an independent and impartial judiciary in civil and commercial matters and are available to individuals who wish to bring lawsuits seeking damages for, or cessation of, a human rights violation. After exhausting all routes for appeal in the country’s judicial system, citizens may appeal cases involving alleged violations of the European Convention on Human Rights by the state to the European Court of Human Rights.

Property Seizure and Restitution

On January 27, Prime Minister Xavier Bettel signed an agreement on Holocaust restitution and remembrance with the World Jewish Restitution Organization, the country’s Jewish community, and the Luxembourg Foundation for the Memory of the Shoah. The agreement settles all communal and heirless property claims. Under the agreement, the government committed to compensation in the amount of 1 million euros ($1.2 million) to Holocaust survivors who live or lived in the country during World War II; an annual payment of 120,000 euros ($146,000) over 30 years to the Luxembourg Foundation for the Remembrance of the Shoah, including to further Holocaust remembrance; the acquisition and transformation of a former Nazi detention camp at the Cinqfontaines monastery into an education and commemoration center; and the development of a national strategy to combat anti-Semitism. The agreement also empowers three working groups to research, identify, and restitute dormant bank accounts, art, and unpaid Holocaust-era insurance claims.

The Department of State’s Justice for Uncompensated Survivors Today (JUST) Act report to Congress, released publicly on July 29, 2020, can be found on the Department’s website:

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 press, an effective judiciary, and a functioning democratic political system combined to promote freedom of expression, including for members of the media.

Freedom of Expression: The law prohibits hate speech in any medium, including online forums, and provides for prison sentences of between eight days and two years and fines for violations. Victims of hate speech on the internet as well as third-party observers can access a website to report hateful remarks and seek help and advice. The public prosecutor’s office and the courts enforced the laws on hate speech.

The trial of lawyer Gaston Vogel and two journalists for hate speech began on October 4 and continued as of December. In an open letter written in 2015, Vogel called Romani beggars in Luxembourg City “scum” and other insults. The letter was published on the website of the media outlet RTL Luxembourg. Several human rights organizations as well as the Romanian Embassy condemned the letter.

Libel/Slander Laws: The law prohibits “libel, slander, and defamation” and provides for prison sentences of between eight days and two years and fines for violations. During the year the government or individual public figures did not use these laws to restrict public discussion or retaliate against journalists or political opponents.

Internet Freedom

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.

Academic Freedom and Cultural Events

There were no government restrictions on academic freedom or cultural events.

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.

Freedom of Peaceful Assembly

Between November 2020 and April 7, in a national effort to limit the spread of COVID-19, the government imposed restrictions on public gatherings, ordered the closure of restaurants and bars, and mandated the cancellation of public events. Violating the ban was punishable by a fine. The government did not enforce the ban on protests. After April 7, the government authorized public gatherings, provided that participants were seated and wore a mask or maintained a distance of 6.5 feet from one another.

c. Freedom of Religion

See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report at

d. Freedom of Movement and the Right to Leave the Country

The constitution and law provide for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, and repatriation, and the government generally respected these rights.

In-country Movement: From October 2020 until June 12 the government established a midnight to 6 a.m. curfew in a national effort to limit the spread of COVID-19, with certain exceptions for professional, health, family, transit, and emergency reasons. Violating the curfew was punishable by a fine. The Consultative Commission for Human Rights noted in its October 2020 review of the bill the “seriousness of this measure, which in particular presents a significant restriction on freedom of movement.”

e. Status and Treatment of Internally Displaced Persons

Not applicable.

f. 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 provides for the granting of asylum or refugee status, and the government has established a system for providing protection to refugees.

Safe Country of Origin/Transit: The country generally denied asylum to asylum seekers who arrived from a safe country of origin or transit, pursuant to the EU’s Dublin III Regulation. The government considered 13 countries to be “safe countries of origin” for purposes of asylum. Countries considered “safe” are Albania, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cabo Verde, Croatia, Georgia, Ghana (only for male applicants), Kosovo, Montenegro, Senegal, Serbia, and Ukraine.

Durable Solutions: Through the EU, the country accepted refugees for resettlement, offered naturalization to refugees residing in the country, and assisted refugees in voluntary return to their homelands.

Temporary Protection: The government provided subsidiary protection to individuals who may not qualify as refugees but who could not return to their country of origin due to a risk of serious harm and provided it to approximately 62 persons as of August 31. In 2020 the government provided subsidiary protection to 31 persons.

Section 3. Freedom to Participate in the Political Process

The constitution and 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: In 2018 the country held parliamentary elections that observers considered free and fair.

Participation of Women and Members of Minority Groups: No laws limit the participation of women and members of minority groups in the political process, and they did participate. The law requires that 40 percent of the party candidate lists submitted for national elections be from “the underrepresented gender.” If a party fails to meet the quota, the law provides a graduated scheme of reducing its yearly financial subsidy from the government, based on the extent of failure to meet the criteria. The country’s five major parties all met the 40 percent criterion in their candidate lists for the parliamentary elections.

Section 4. Corruption and Lack of Transparency in Government

The law provides criminal penalties for corruption by officials, and the government generally implemented the laws effectively. 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 number of domestic and international human rights groups operated without government restriction, investigating and publishing their findings on human rights cases. Government officials often were cooperative and responsive to their views.

Government Human Rights Bodies: The government bodies dealing with human rights are the Ombudsman, Consultative Commission for Human Rights, the Ombudsman Committee for the Rights of Children, the Interministerial Committee on Human Rights, and the Center for Equal Treatment, which monitors issues related to discrimination based on race or ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, religion or beliefs, disability, and age. All of these organizations are government-funded and are composed of government appointees, but they act independently of the government and of one another. The government provided resources for the continuous and unrestricted operation of the committees. As consultative bodies in the legislative process, the committees commented on the government’s bills and amendments to laws concerning human rights. They were also active in outreach efforts, informing the public about human rights and publishing annual reports on their activities.

The independent, government-wide Ombudsman (which is different from the Ombudsman Committee for the Rights of Children) handles human rights complaints against government institutions but only mediates between citizens and the public sector. It cannot receive complaints against the private sector, although many assistance institutions are private or run by not-for-profit organizations that often received government support. The Center for Equal Treatment can receive complaints against the private sector but cannot take cases to court on behalf of victims.

The Interministerial Committee on Human Rights seeks to improve interministerial cooperation and coordination on human rights issues and to strengthen the country’s internal and external human rights policies. It monitors the implementation of the country’s human rights obligations in consultation with national human rights institutions and civil society. Every ministry has a seat on the committee, which is coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and chaired by the ambassador-at-large for human rights.

Section 6. Discrimination and Societal Abuses


Rape and Domestic Violence: The law prohibits rape of both women and men, including spousal rape, and the government enforced the law effectively. Penalties for violations range from five to 10 years’ imprisonment. The law prohibits domestic violence, and the government effectively enforced the law. The law is gender-neutral and provides for the removal of abusers from their residences for a 14-day period that can be extended once for an additional three months upon request of the victim. Penalties may include fines and imprisonment. Police are required to investigate if an NGO reports having been approached by an individual for assistance in cases involving domestic abuse.

According to the most recent report published during the year, authorities investigated 144 accusations of indecent assault and 116 cases of rape in 2020, representing modest increases over the previous year. For example a man was taken to court on September 28 for allegedly having raped five women. The case remained open as of October.

Police also intervened 943 times in domestic violence situations, and prosecutors authorized 278 evictions of the abuser from the domestic home as a result of these incidents, which represent an increase of 11.1 percent and 12.8 percent, respectively, over the same period in the previous year. For example, after being presented a restraining order prohibiting entry to his domicile in Diekirch, due to charges of domestic violence, a man violated the restraining order to confront his spouse. On December 17, 2020, the man was detained, and the case is under judicial review.

The government funded organizations that provided shelter, counseling, psychosocial assistance, and hotlines. The government provided financial assistance to victims of domestic violence.

The Ministry of Equality between Women and Men operated a prevention website to raise awareness against the different types of violence against women, including psychological, sexual, and domestic violence, and provided victims with telephone numbers available for assistance services as well as contact information for police.

Sexual Harassment: The law prohibits gender-based sexual harassment and requires employers to protect employees from such harassment. Disciplinary measures against offenders included dismissal. The law considers an employer’s failure to take measures to protect employees from sexual harassment a breach of contract, and an affected employee is entitled to paid leave until the situation is rectified. In 2020 the Labor Inspection Court received no cases of sexual harassment in the workplace.

In its 2020 report to parliament and the government, the Center for Equal Treatment (CET) again noted that the law does not give the Court for Inspection of Labor and Mines (ITM) the means to punish perpetrators of sexual harassment, even though the court is responsible for applying provisions against sexual harassment in the workplace.

Reproductive Rights: There were no reports of coerced abortion or involuntary sterilization on the part of government authorities. Vulnerable populations such as individuals with disabilities and minorities must provide informed consent to medical treatment affecting reproductive health.

The government provided access to sexual and reproductive health services for survivors of sexual violence. Emergency contraception is available as part of clinical management of rape.

Discrimination: The law provides for the same legal status and rights for women as for men. The government enforced the law effectively. In 2020 the CET reported handling 39 cases of potential gender-based discrimination.

Systemic Racial or Ethnic Violence and Discrimination

The law provides for equal treatment and prohibits any form of discrimination, direct or indirect, based on religion, disability, age, sexual orientation, race, or ethnicity. The scope of the law covers places of work, school, and the public sphere.

The CET recorded 44 cases of alleged discrimination involving race or ethnicity in its 2020 report.


Birth Registration: Citizenship is governed by the principle of descent, according to which a father or mother who is a citizen automatically conveys citizenship to offspring at birth. The law allows for citizenship via naturalization and allows dual citizenship. Citizenship for minor children is automatically conveyed when a parent naturalizes. During the year, there were no birth registrations denied on a discriminatory basis.

Child Abuse: The law prohibits child abuse. Authorities enforced the law. Penalties for child abuse range from one to five years’ imprisonment and fines. Three separate hotlines were available to assist children who were victims of domestic abuse.

Child, Early, and Forced Marriage: The minimum legal age for marriage is 18 but can be waived by a guardianship judge. In its 2017 report to parliament, the country’s Ombudsman Committee for the Rights of Children noted that forced marriage had become a problem as a result of immigration, but no official data on it was available.

Sexual Exploitation of Children: The law prohibits the commercial sexual exploitation of children, the sale of children, the offering or procuring of a child for commercial sexual exploitation, and practices related to child pornography. Authorities enforced the law, and cases were rare. Penalties for trafficking, including sex trafficking, of children range from 10 to 15 years’ imprisonment and fines. The law provides that a client that committed a commercial sex act with a minor can be sentenced to one to five years of imprisonment, five to 10 years if the minor was younger than age 16, and 10 to 15 years if the minor was younger than age 11, plus fines.

The minimum legal age for consensual sex is 16.

Displaced Children: In 2020 the Immigration Directorate noted 47 asylum requests for unaccompanied children, a slight increase compared to 2019. In 2020 the government accepted 21 unaccompanied minors from Afghanistan, seven from Syria, and 19 from other countries. Three specialized housing shelters specifically designated for unaccompanied children, and two other shelters also accepted unaccompanied children; the government placed unaccompanied children in these shelters whenever feasible.

International Child Abductions: The country is a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. See the Department of State’s Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction at


The Jewish community numbered approximately 1,500 persons. There were isolated cases of anti-Semitic content on the internet.

The law provides for punishment of anti-Semitic statements and Holocaust denial; the government generally enforced the law when notified. Jewish groups reported anti-Semitic statements and attitudes online, especially in association with statements related to the government of Israel and the Holocaust.

On June 12, the NGO Research and Information on Anti-Semitism in Luxembourg (RIAL) published its report for 2020. The report described 64 incidents of anti-Semitism in the country; most incidents occurred on social media. Persons spreading disinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic also promoted conspiracy theories regarding anti-Semitism. The report emphasized that social media posts often revolved around Judeo/Masonic conspiracy theories.

Trafficking in Persons

See the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at

Persons with Disabilities

The law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, or mental disabilities. The government largely enforced these provisions. The law requires all new government-owned buildings and buildings undergoing renovation to be accessible to persons with disabilities. Private facilities and services as well as existing government-owned buildings are not subject to the law. The accessibility of public transportation outside the capital was limited. The law recognizes German sign language, allowing deaf and hard-of-hearing persons to use both the language and a state-paid interpreter in their communications with government.

In its 2020 report, the CET wrote that it handled 49 cases of potential discrimination related to disability. Most of the cases concerned access to the job market and housing.

The education system allows children with disabilities to attend their local schools with their peers without disabilities. Parents, however, can decide to place their children in segregated classes. According to a representative of InfoHandicap, most children with disabilities attended segregated classes due to the lack of trained teachers to respond to the children’s needs in mainstream schools. The representative further noted that attending school in a segregated classroom affects a child’s chances of employment or pursuing higher education, because segregated classes do not issue diplomas. A representative of the Ministry of Education noted that the ministry increased financial resources and trained personnel to allow a maximum number of children with disabilities to attend their local schools with their peers without disabilities.

The government provided paid family support leave that allowed one parent (either self-employed or working in the private sector) to take care of a disabled or older person whose care facility structure ceased its activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Several organizations, including the Luxembourg Assistance to Persons Suffering from Neuromuscular and Rare Diseases and InfoHandicap, criticized the government for not allowing both parents to stay home at the same time, as affected children often needed attention from more than one caregiver. According to the government, making such an exception to the law would have discriminated against families with children without disabilities.

The law permits persons with mental disabilities to be placed under legal guardianship. Persons under guardianship lose the right to vote. Several associations, including InfoHandicap, called the law excessively restrictive.

Acts of Violence, Criminalization, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

The law prohibits all forms of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity and the government generally enforced the law.

The CET’s 2020 report stated that it handled 12 cases of potential discrimination linked to sexual orientation.

The president of Rosa Letzebuerg, a local prolesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTQI+) association, noted that gay and bisexual men are not prohibited from blood donation, but are required to abstain from sexual activity for 12 months before being eligible to donate blood.

Section 7. Worker Rights

a. Freedom of Association and the Right to Collective Bargaining

The law provides for the rights of workers, including foreign workers and workers in the informal sector, to form and join independent unions of their choice, to bargain collectively, and to conduct legal strikes. The law allows unions to conduct their activities without interference. Workers exercised these rights freely, and the government protected these rights. The law prohibits antiunion discrimination and requires reinstatement of workers fired for union activity.

The right to strike excludes government workers who provide essential services. Legal strikes may occur only after a lengthy conciliation procedure between the parties. For a strike to be legal, the government’s national conciliation office must certify that conciliation efforts have ended.

b. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

The law prohibits all forms of forced or compulsory labor. The government pursued suspected cases and effectively enforced the law. Although NGOs reported it to be understaffed, the Labor Inspectorate increased recruitment efforts during the year to allow it to conduct timely inspections to enforce compliance. Penalties for violations included imprisonment under criminal law and were commensurate with those for similar crimes.

There were reports that foreign men and women were engaged in forced labor, chiefly in the construction and restaurant sectors. Some children were engaged in forced begging (see section 7.c.).

Also see the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at

c. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment

The law prohibits the worst forms of child labor and the employment of children younger than 16. Trainees younger than 16 must attend school in addition to their job training. The law also prohibits the employment of workers younger than 18 in hazardous work environments, on Sundays and official holidays, and for nighttime work. The Ministries of Labor and Education effectively enforced the child labor laws.

Romani children from neighboring countries were sometimes brought into the country during the day and trafficked for the purpose of forced begging (see section 7.b.).

By law persons who employ children younger than 16 may be subject to a fine and prison sentence. The penalties were commensurate with those for other serious crimes.

d. Discrimination with Respect to Employment and Occupation

The law prohibits discrimination with respect to employment and occupation based on race, color, national extraction, social origin, religion, political opinion, sex, disability, language, sexual orientation or gender identity, HIV-positive status or other communicable diseases, or refugee or social status. The government effectively enforced these laws and regulations and penalties for violations were commensurate with those for other crimes related to civil rights, such as election interference.

Employers occasionally discriminated against persons with disabilities in employment (see section 6, Persons with Disabilities). The law establishes quotas that require businesses employing more than 25 persons to hire certain percentages of workers with disabilities and to pay them prevailing wages. InfoHandicap noted that the government failed to enforce this law consistently.

The law provides for the same legal status and rights for women as for men, including rights under labor law and in the judicial system. The law mandates equal pay for equal work. According to information provided by the Ministry of Equality between Women and Men, during the year employers paid women 5.5 percent less on average than men for comparable work.

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work

Wage and Hour Laws: The law sets a national minimum wage for a worker older than age 18. Collective bargaining agreements established eight hours as a standard workday, with a 40-hour week and provision for 26 days leave and overtime.

The health and safety inspection agency ITM, the Social Security Ministry, and the Superior Court of Justice are responsible for enforcing laws governing maximum hours of work and mandatory holidays. The labor inspection ITM was understaffed but was making efforts to recruit more individuals in order to come into compliance. ITM inspectors have the authority to make unannounced inspections and initiate sanctions. The majority of alleged violations occurred in the construction sector. The agencies effectively enforced the law, when notified. Penalties for violations are commensurate with those for other similar crimes. In 2020 the ITM carried out 7,419 inspections and levied almost 8.945 million euros ($10.57 million) in fines.

According to the latest ITM report, the labor inspection organization carried out 2,102 health security checks in the country’s private sector to curb the spread of COVID-19. Between March 18, 2020 (start of the COVID-19 pandemic) and December 31, 2020, ITM issued 13 administrative fines for not respecting health regulations.

Occupational Safety and Health: The law mandates a safe working environment and occupational safety and health standards are current and appropriate. Authorities effectively protected employees in this situation. Penalties were commensurate with similar violations.

The ITM and the accident insurance agency of the Social Security Ministry are responsible for inspecting workplaces. Although NGOs reported the Labor Inspectorate to be understaffed, the Labor Inspectorate increased recruitment efforts in 2020 to enforce compliance sufficiently. Inspectors have the authority to make unannounced inspections, except in private homes, and to order emergency measures for the regularization or cessation of labor law violations. They can seek assistance from the police should they meet opposition to the fulfillment of their duties. Inspectors can issue fines and establish reports documenting the infringements of the laws, which are forwarded by the director to the prosecutor’s office for further action if needed. Workers have the right to ask the Labor Inspectorate to make a determination regarding workplace safety. Penalties for violations were commensurate with other similar crimes. Accidents occurred most frequently in the construction, commerce, industry, and catering sectors. In 2020 the ITM recorded 581 accidents (versus 466 accidents in 2019), including four fatalities.

Informal Sector: Workers in the informal sector are covered by wage, hour, and OSH laws as well as inspections. The country’s informal sector was not large.

2021 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Luxembourg
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