CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER
ARTICLES 16 AND 17 OF THE COVENANT
Concluding Observations of the Committee on
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
1. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights considered the third periodic report of Luxembourg on the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (E/1994/104/Add.24) at its fifth and sixth meetings, held on 7 May 2003 (E/C.12/2003/SR.5&6), and adopted, at its twenty-ninth meeting held on 23 May 2003, the following concluding observations.
2. The Committee welcomes the third periodic report of the State party, which was in general prepared in conformity with the Committee's guidelines although the information provided was not sufficient for the Committee to assess developments in the status of implementation of some of the Covenant's provisions. In particular, the Committee regrets the lack of comparative and disaggregated statistical data.
3. The Committee notes with appreciation the comprehensive
written replies given by the State party. It regrets, however, that the
replies were not submitted prior to the session and were only available
4. The Committee welcomes the open and constructive dialogue with the delegation of the State party. The Committee regrets, however, that the delegation did not include more experts which would have allowed for a constructive dialogue in all fields covered by the Covenant.
B. POSITIVE ASPECTS
5. The Committee notes with appreciation the State party's
continuing efforts to comply with its obligations under the Covenant and
the overall high level of protection afforded to economic, social and cultural
rights in Luxembourg.
6. The Committee notes with satisfaction that Luxembourg allocates
more than 0.7 per cent of its gross domestic product to Official Development
Assistance (ODA) and is thus one of the few countries to have gone beyond
the United Nations target for development aid. The Committee also welcomes
the goal set by the Government to gradually increase its ODA contribution
to one per cent of its gross domestic product by 2005.
7. The Committee welcomes the establishment in 2000 of the
Consultative Commission on Human Rights, charged with advising the Government
on all questions concerning human rights, including economic, social and
8. The Committee notes with satisfaction that the unemployment
rate in the State party remains low.
9. The Committee notes with satisfaction the State party's
ratification of ILO Convention No. 111 concerning discrimination in respect
of employment and occupation, in accordance with the Committee's previous
10. The Committee welcomes the measures taken by the State
party to promote equality between women and men at the work place, including
the law of 28 June 2001 reversing the burden of proof in cases of gender-based
11. The Committee notes with appreciation the recent amendment
to the law governing the joint enterprise committees, by which foreign workers
who are not citizens of the European Union but have a one-year work permit
are allowed to serve on joint enterprise committees.
12. The Committee welcomes the measures undertaken by the
State party to combat trafficking in persons, child pornography and sexual
exploitation of women and children. In particular, the Committee welcomes
the extra-territorial application of certain provisions of the criminal
code, allowing for the criminal prosecution of persons, both nationals and
non-nationals, for sexual crimes committed abroad.
13. The Committee notes with appreciation the increase in the support and subsidies given by the State party to cultural associations and artists.
C. FACTORS AND DIFFICULTIES IMPEDING THE IMPLEMENTATION
OF THE COVENANT
14. The Committee notes the absence of any significant factors or difficulties impeding the effective implementation of the Covenant in Luxembourg.
D. PRINCIPAL SUBJECTS OF CONCERN
15. While taking note of the information provided by the State
party that international treaties take precedence over national laws, the
Committee regrets that the Covenant's rights have not been invoked before
16. While acknowledging that economic, social and cultural
rights of asylum seekers are generally protected in the State party, the
Committee is concerned about the considerable length of time taken to process
applications for asylum.
17. The Committee notes that the State party still has not
revised the Constitution in order to include the principle of equality between
women and men.
18. While noting the measures taken by the State party to
integrate persons with disabilities into the labour market, the Committee
is concerned that the draft law (no. 4827), introduced on 27 July 2001 regarding
the integration of persons with disabilities into the labour market, has
still not been adopted.
19. The Committee notes with concern that, despite the good
overall employment situation, there has been a recent increase in unemployment,
which seems to mainly affect young people.
20. The Committee is concerned about the situation of prisoners
who work for private enterprises and recalls that under ILO Convention No.
29 when a private enterprise is involved with work carried out by a prisoner,
the latter must consent to such work and the conditions of work (including
wages, social security) must be close to those of a free employment relationship.
21. The Committee notes with concern that the State party has not ratified a number of ILO conventions in the area of labour rights and social security, including Conventions Nos. 117, 118 and 122.
22. The Committee notes with concern that women are still underrepresented in the work force. While taking note that the disparities between wages of men and women have been reduced, the Committee also notes with concern that the current level of wage difference (women receiving 15 per cent lower wages than men) remains a matter of concern.
23. The Committee remains concerned about the terminological
distinction between "legitimate" and "natural" children
in the civil code. While the distinction does not imply a difference in
protection of rights, the Committee expresses its concern about the terminology's
24. The Committee reiterates its concern about adolescent
health problems, owing in particular to drug abuse and high rates of alcohol
and tobacco consumption.
25. The Committee is concerned about the high incidence of suicide in the State party, especially among young people.
E. SUGGESTIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
26. The Committee recommends that effective measures be taken
by the State party to ensure that legal and judicial training takes full
account of the justiciability of Covenant rights and promotes the use of
the Covenant as a source of law in domestic courts. In this respect, the
Committee draws the attention of the State party to its General Comment
No. 9 on the domestic application of the Covenant.
27. The Committee invites the State party to submit, in its
next periodic report, its views and comments on the proposal for an optional
protocol to the Covenant to be examined by the Open-ended Working Group
established by the Commission on Human Rights in 2003.
28. The Committee recommends that the State party takes effective
measures to expedite the processing of applications for asylum so that the
persons concerned may enjoy all the rights that the asylum status confers
29. The Committee recommends that the State party approves
the constitutional reform which will guarantee the principle of equality
between women and men.
30. The Committee recommends that the State party accelerates
the adoption of draft law no. 4827 regarding the integration of persons
with disabilities into the labour market.
31. The Committee recommends that the State party intensifies
its efforts to reduce the unemployment rate among young people.
32. The Committee recommends that the State party ensures
that a prisoner may only perform work for a private enterprise when such
work has been consented to and the labour conditions are close to those
of a free working relationship as regards wages and social security.
33. The Committee encourages the State party to ratify ILO
Conventions Nos. 117, 118 and 122.
34. The Committee calls upon the State party to effectively implement the measures outlined in the National Plan of Action for Employment aimed at increasing the level of participation of women in the labour market and to ensure equal treatment between women and men, including equal remuneration for work of equal value.
35. The Committee recommends the State party to provide information
in its fourth periodic report on how it monitors social services provided
by private organisations that use public funds, so as to ensure that they
conform with the requirements of the Covenant.
36. The Committee recommends to the State party that the draft law on domestic violence introduced in May 2001, by which a violent spouse may be forced to leave the family home, be enacted as soon as possible.
37. The Committee recommends that the reference to "legitimate"
and "natural" children in the civil code be replaced by that of
"children born in wedlock" and "children born out of wedlock"
38. The Committee recommends that the State party strengthens
its efforts to prevent and combat drug abuse, especially among young people,
and to step up its campaign against alcohol and tobacco abuse.
39. The Committee recommends the State party to take measures to address the high incidence of suicide, especially among young people.
40. The Committee requests the State party to provide disaggregated
figures on the incidence of occupational diseases, showing changes during
the reporting period, and refers the State party in this regard to the Committee's
General Comment No. 14, in particular paragraphs 43 and 44 regarding core
41. The Committee requests the State party to provide in its
next report information on the implementation of the pilot project on early
childhood education, currently carried out in a number of communes with
a view to providing an opportunity for working parents to reconcile professional
and family responsibilities.
42. The Committee notes the imminent establishment of a national
university (Université de Luxembourg) and recommends that education
at the University be free from the outset, or that tuition fees be kept
at a minimum level with a view to introducing progressively free higher
education, as required by article 13 (2)(c) of the Covenant.
43. The Committee recommends that the State party continues
and strengthens its efforts to support and subsidize cultural associations,
including those of migrants.
44. The Committee encourages the State party to provide human
rights education in schools at all levels and to raise awareness about human
rights, in particular economic, social and cultural rights, among state
officials and the judiciary.
45. The Committee requests the State party to disseminate
its concluding observations widely among all levels of society, including
among State officials and the judiciary, and to inform the Committee on
all steps taken to implement them in its next periodic report. It also encourages
the State party to continue to consult with non-governmental organizations
and other members of civil society in the preparation of its fourth periodic
46. The Committee requests the State party to submit its fourth periodic report by 30 June 2008.