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Title:  Luxembourg Human Rights Practices, 1995 
Author:  U.S. Department of State  
Date:  March 1996  
 
 
 
 
                               LUXEMBOURG 
 
 
Luxembourg is a constitutional monarchy with a democratic parliamentary 
form of government.  The role of the Grand Duke is mainly ceremonial and 
administrative.  The Prime Minister is the leader of the dominant party 
in the popularly elected Parliament.  The Council of State, whose 
members are appointed by the Grand Duke, serves as an advisory body to 
the Parliament.  The judiciary is an independent branch.   
 
The Government effectively controls the security apparatus, which 
consists of police and gendarmerie.  
 
Luxembourg has a prosperous market economy with active industrial and 
service sectors.  The standard of living and level of social benefits 
are high. 
 
The Constitution and laws provide for the full range of human rights, 
and the Government respects these rights in practice.   
 
RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 
 
Section 1   Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom 
from: 
 
   a.   Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing 
 
There were no reports of political or other extrajudicial killings.  
 
   b.   Disappearance 
 
There were no reports of politically motivated disappearances. 
 
   c.   Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or 
Punishment 
 
The law prohibits such practices, and there were no reports that 
officials employed them.  Prison conditions meet minimum international 
standards, and the Government permits visits by human rights monitors.  
 
   d.   Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 
 
The Constitution prohibits arbitrary arrest, detention, or exile, and 
the Government observes this prohibition. 
 
The law stipulates that judicial warrants are required for arrests 
except in cases of hot pursuit.  Within 24 hours of arrest the police 
must lodge charges and bring the suspect before a judge.  Suspects are 
not held incommunicado.  They are given immediate access to an attorney, 
at government expense for indigents.  The presiding judge may order 
release on bail.  
 
Exile is never imposed. 
 
   e.   Denial of Fair Public Trial 
 
The Constitution provides for an independent judiciary, and the 
Government respects this provision in practice.  The judiciary provides 
citizens with a fair and efficient judicial process.  The independent 
judiciary is headed by the Supreme Court, whose members are appointed by 
the Grand Duke.  Defendants are presumed innocent.  They have the right 
to public trial, and are free to cross-examine witnesses and to present 
evidence.  Either the defendant or the prosecutor can appeal a ruling; 
appeal results in a completely new judicial procedure, with the 
possibility that a sentence may be increased or decreased.  
 
There were no reports of political prisoners. 
 
   f.   Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 
 
The Constitution prohibits such practices, government authorities 
generally respect these prohibitions, and violations are subject to 
effective legal sanction. 
 
Section 2   Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 
 
   a.   Freedom of Speech and Press 
 
The law provides for freedom of speech and press, and the Government 
respects these rights in practice.  Print media are privately owned.  
The privately owned national radio and television company has exclusive 
television broadcasting rights within the country.  A new permit system 
allows establishment of other private radio stations.  Radio and 
television broadcasts from neighboring countries are freely available. 
 
Academic freedom is fully respected. 
 
   b.   Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 
 
The law provides for these rights, and the Government respects them in 
practice. 
 
   c.   Freedom of Religion 
 
The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the Government 
respects this right in practice.  There is no state religion, but the 
State pays the salaries of Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish 
clergy, and several local governments maintain sectarian religious 
facilities. 
 
    d.   Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign Travel, 
Emigration, and Repatriation 
 
The law provides for these rights and the Government respects them in 
practice. 
 
The Government cooperates with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees 
and other humanitarian organizations in assisting refugees and does not 
expel those having a valid claim to refugee status.  It has also allowed 
more than 1,800 persons from the former Yugoslavia who do not qualify 
for refugee status to remain in a temporary protected status.  
 
Section 3   Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens to 
Change Their Government 
 
Luxembourg is a multiparty democracy.  Suffrage is universal for 
citizens aged 18 and above, and balloting is secret.  National 
parliamentary elections are held every 5 years.  
 
Women are active in political life.  Ten of 60 Members of Parliament and 
3 members of the Cabinet are women.  The mayors of several major 
municipalities, including the capital, are women. 
 
Section 4   Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human Rights 
 
Human rights groups operate without government restriction.  Government 
officials are cooperative and responsive to their views. 
 
Section 5   Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, Disability, 
Language, or Social Status 
 
The law prohibits racial, sexual, or social discrimination, and the 
Government enforces these provisions.  Blatant societal discrimination 
occurs only rarely. 
 
   Women 
 
Neither society nor the Government is tolerant of violence against 
women, and the government prosecutes persons accused of such.  The 
organization that assists women in distress reports an average of 300 
calls, 160 walk-ins, and 38 residential admissions per year in recent 
years.  In addition, there are 150-200 cases of sexual abuse in an 
average year.   
 
Women enjoy the same property rights as men.  In the absence of a 
prenuptial agreement, property is divided equally upon dissolution of a 
marriage. 
 
The law mandates equal pay for equal work.  To date there have been no 
work-related discrimination suits.  Working women constitute 36.2 
percent of the work force (1994 data).  Since 1988 the average annual 
increase in employment for women has been 4.6 percent, compared to an 
increase of 3.1 percent per year for males, but the rate is not stable 
across age groups.  In January 1995, the Government created a new 
Ministry for the Promotion of Women in order to encourage a climate of 
equal treatment and opportunity in fact as well as law. 
 
   Children 
 
The Government demonstrates in strong commitment to children's rights 
and welfare through its well-funded systems of public education and 
medical care.  The Ministry of Youth and the Ministry of Family oversee 
implementation of the Government's programs for children.  Child abuse 
does not appear to be widespread, and laws against child abuse are 
enforced.  The Association for the Prevention of Child Abuse, a 
government organization created in 1984, estimates there may be some 300 
cases a year.  The Association works closely with other social service 
organizations and maintains a hot line for victims or witnesses. 
 
   People with Disabilities 
 
There is no discrimination against disabled persons in employment, 
education, or in the provision of other state services.  The law does 
not directly mandate accessibility for the disabled, but the Government 
pays subsidies to builders to construct "disabled-friendly" structures.  
Despite government incentives, only a modest proportion of buildings and 
public transportation have been modified to accommodate people with 
disabilities. 
 
The Government helps disabled persons obtain employment and professional 
education.  By law, businesses and enterprises with at least 25 
employees must fill a quota for hiring disabled workers and must pay 
them prevailing wages.  The quota is fixed according to the total number 
of employees, and employers who do not fulfill them are subject to 
sizable monthly fines.  There have been no known complaints of 
noncompliance. 
 
   National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities 
 
Although foreigners constitute over 30 percent of the total population, 
antiforeigner incidents remain infrequent.  Local and national councils 
for foreigners were elected to promote the integration of foreigners 
under a 1993 law and to advise on issues concerning foreigners. 
 
 Section 6   Worker Rights 
 
   a.   The Right of Association 
 
All workers have the right to associate freely and choose their 
representatives.  About 65 percent of the labor force is unionized.  
Membership is not mandatory.  Unions operate free of governmental 
interference.  The two largest labor federations are linked to, but 
organized independently of, major political parties.  The law prohibits 
discrimination against strikes and strike leaders, and a labor tribunal 
deals with complaints on these matters. 
 
The Constitution provides all workers with the right to strike except 
for government workers providing essential services such as police, 
armed forces, and hospital personnel.  Legal strikes may occur only 
after a lengthy conciliation procedure between the parties; the 
Government's National Conciliation Office must certify that conciliation 
efforts have ended for a strike to be legal.  A legal 4-week strike by 
tilers over collective contract disputes was ended following personal 
mediation by the Prime Minister, averting a general strike by 
construction workers.  This was the first legal labor strike in over 2 
years.  There have been no illegal strikes since 1979. 
 
Unions maintain unrestricted contact with international bodies.  
 
   b.   The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively 
 
The law provides for and protects collective bargaining, which is 
conducted in periodic negotiations between centralized organizations of 
unions and employers.  Enterprises having 15 or more employees must have 
worker representatives to conduct collective bargaining.  Enterprises 
with over 150 employees must form joint works councils composed of equal 
numbers of management and employee representatives.  In enterprises with 
more than 1,000 employees, one-third of the membership of the 
supervisory boards of directors must be employees' representatives. 
 
The law provides for adjudication of employment-related complaints, and 
it authorizes labor tribunals to deal with them.  A tribunal can impose 
a fine on an employer found guilty of antiunion discrimination, but it 
cannot require the employer to reinstate a worker fired for union 
activities.  
 
There are no export processing zones. 
 
   c.   Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor 
 
The law prohibits forced or compulsory labor, and neither occurs. 
 
    d.   Minimum Age for Employment of Children 
 
The law prohibits employment of children under age 15 and requires 
children to remain in school until age 16.  Apprentices who are 15 or 16 
years old must attend school in addition to their job training.  
Adolescent workers under age 18 receive additional legal protection, 
including limits on overtime and the number of hours that can be worked 
continuously.  The Ministries of Labor and Education effectively monitor 
the enforcement of national child-labor and education laws. 
 
   e.   Acceptable Conditions of Work 
 
The law provides for minimum wage rates at levels that vary according to 
the worker's age and number of dependents.  The minimum for a single 
worker over age 18 is approximately $8.22 per hour (Lux F 246.69).  
Supporting a family is difficult on the minimum wage, but most employees 
earn more than the minimum. 
 
National legislation mandates a workweek of 40 hours.  Premium pay is 
required for overtime or unusual hours.  Employment on Sunday is 
permitted in continuous-process industries (steel, glass, and 
chemicals), and for certain maintenance and security personnel; other 
industries have requested permission for Sunday work, which the 
Government has granted on a case by case basis.  Work on Sunday, allowed 
for some retail employees, must be entirely voluntary and compensated at 
double the normal wage; and employees must be given compensatory time 
off on another day, equal to the number of hours worked on Sunday.  The 
law requires rest breaks for shift workers and limits all workers to a 
maximum of 10 hours per day including overtime.  All workers receive at 
least 5 weeks of paid vacation yearly, in addition to paid holidays. 
 
The law mandates a safe working environment.  An inspection system 
provides severe penalties for infractions.  The Labor Inspectorate of 
the Ministry of Labor, and the Accident Insurance Agency of the Social 
Security Ministry, carry out their inspections effectively.  
 
No laws or regulations specifically guarantee workers the right to 
remove themselves from dangerous work situations without jeopardy to 
continued employment, but every worker has the right to ask the Labor 
Inspectorate to make a determination, and the Inspectorate usually does 
so expeditiously. 

(###)

[end of document]

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