European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)

Fifth report on Luxembourg [en] - [fr]

Press Release – 28.02.2017


Luxembourg: Xenophobia on the internet, a weak equality body and lack of a new action plan on integration are issues of high concern says Council of Europe’s Anti-racism Commission

Strasbourg. 28.02.2017. – The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) today publishes its fifth report on Luxembourg, in which it analyses recent developments and makes recommendations to the authorities.

On the positive side, ECRI highlighted a process of creating a House of Human Rights, the fact that politicians and the media do, in general, not resort to hate speech, a firm response of the judiciary to hate speech, free pre-school education, major efforts for good-quality reception of refugees and low rates of racist and homophobic/transphobic violence.   

A positive trend can also be observed in attitudes towards LGBT persons. Since 2015 marriage has been open to same-sex couples and all married couples can adopt children on an equal footing. In February 2016, a progressive bill on name changes and gender recognition for transgender persons was submitted.

At the same time, ECRI noted that the Constitution establishes a right to equality for Luxembourgers only and that the penal code does not make racist or homophobic/transphobic motivation an aggravating circumstance. The Centre for Equal Treatment cannot receive complaints of discrimination and there is no procedure enabling victims to assert their rights in an easy way.

Latent xenophobia shows through on the internet, which is used to spread hatred towards refugees, Muslims and foreigners in general; the media and internet access providers do not sufficiently prevent the dissemination of such hate speech. The authorities have not taken up central recommendations from the evaluation of their integration policies, they have not adopted a new action plan on integration and there is no system of indicators in place to measure the impact of their integration policies.

Children with migration backgrounds encounter significant difficulties in the school system and have results well below the average. Among migrants with a low level of education, unemployment and poverty rates are relatively high and social housing is not sufficiently developed. The issue of sexual diversity is not systematically addressed in schools and it remains difficult for transgender persons to change their first name and gender in public records and official documents.

In this report, ECRI requests that the authorities take action in a number of areas; in this context, it makes two priority recommendations:

- ECRI recommends that the Luxembourg authorities quickly adopt a new national integration action plan and provide it with an appropriate budget.

- ECRI recommends that the Luxembourg authorities adopt, as soon as possible, a law on name changes and gender recognition for transgender persons.

A process of interim follow-up of these two recommendations will be carried out by ECRI no later than two years after publication of this report.

The report includes the government observations and was prepared following ECRI’s visit to Luxembourg in March 2016. It takes account of developments up to 30 June 2016.

ECRI is a human rights body of the Council of Europe, composed of independent experts, which monitors problems of racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, intolerance and discrimination on grounds such as “race”, national/ethnic origin, colour, citizenship, religion and language (racial discrimination); it prepares reports and issues recommendations to member States.

For more information on ECRI:

Giuseppe Zaffuto, Spokesperson/Press officer, Tel. +33 (0)3 90 21 56 04
Stefano Valenti, External Relations Officer, ECRI, Tel.: +33 (0)3 90 21 43 28