Luxembourg: Commissioner Hammarberg recommends further steps to protect individual rights in migration policies and juvenile justice
12/03/2012 – “The current increase in the number of persons
seeking asylum in Luxembourg requires fair and effective procedures and
a humane response”, said the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human
Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, at the end of a two-day visit to the country.
In 2011, almost 2 200 persons applied for asylum in Luxembourg, compared
with just over 500 in 2009. Persons from the Western Balkans,
particularly Roma, account for much of this difference. Following
difficulties in ensuring adequate accommodation for the newcomers, the
authorities have now improved the material conditions of the reception
facilities. “However, further steps could be taken” said the
Commissioner, “including to improve the respect of the privacy of
families and access to psychological support, especially for vulnerable
Noting the current plans to reduce the monthly cash allowance for asylum
seekers, the Commissioner called on the authorities to avoid a
regression of living conditions and continue to ensure decent standards.
Furthermore, the Commissioner expressed his hope that “the extremely
difficult situation that many Roma experience in their countries of
origin, notably as a result of pervasive discrimination, will be taken
into account when their applications are considered”.
The Commissioner visited the newly built detention centre for irregular
migrants, which opened in the Summer of 2011. The material conditions in
this institution are good. However, in some cases persons have been
detained although there were no realistic prospects for their removal.
“In such cases, there is no justification for depriving people of their
liberty” stated the Commissioner.
Another problem which the Commissioner identified was that irregular
migrants who had served a sentence in prison were moved to this
detention centre and only then were formal procedures for removal
initiated. Such formalities could have been initiated at an earlier
stage, thereby avoiding unnecessary periods of detention.
As for juvenile justice, the construction of a dedicated facility for
the detention of minors, which had been pending for a long time, has now
started; a security unit at Dreiborn socio-educational centre should
open at the beginning of 2013. The Commissioner notes that the ongoing
reform of the penitentiary administration introduces the principle that
no minor is to be put in an adult prison unless they are over 16 and
have committed a serious offence. In this connection, the Commissioner
recalls that the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child provides that
the detention of a child shall be used only as a measure of last resort
and for the shortest appropriate period of time.
The Commissioner also recommends that Luxembourg ratify the Framework
Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the Revised
Social Charter and that it accept the procedure allowing organisations
to submit collective complaints under the Charter. Finally, the
Commissioner considers that a strengthening of the powers of the Centre
for Equal Treatment would be desirable.
Press contact in the Commissioner’s Office:
Stefano Montanari, +33 (0)6 61 14 70 37;
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