Luxembourg: Conditions for unaccompanied minors are worrisome

During its 76th session, on April 26th and 27th, 2023, the CAT considered Luxembourg’s 8th periodic report. The country rapporteurs were Mr. Sébastien Touzé and Ms. Maeda Naoko.

The country's delegation was led by Ms. Anne Goedert, Roaming Ambassador for Human Rights at the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, and Mr. Luc Dockendorf, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg to the United Nations in Geneva.

The experts congratulated the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg for its regularity in submitting reports within the prescribed time frames, the quality of the reports that address all the questions asked by the committee, and the effective implementation of the Committee's recommendations by the country.

Main issues discussed:

The Committee was concerned about the large number of people in pretrial detention. While the European average of people in remand detention is 28% of the total prison population, this rate is 43% in Luxembourg. The Committee experts warned about the "presumption of flight" provided for in the Criminal Procedure Code, which could result in the preventive detention of a person without demonstrating a real justification based on the personality of the suspect and facts of the case. The Committee further regretted the absence of a time limit for pretrial detention in the national legislation. Experts also called for a stricter legal framework regarding intimate body searches and for less intrusive means, such as using scanners.

Addressing the situation of asylum seekers, experts expressed their concern about the use of taking photos of the genitals of unaccompanied minors to determine their age when they do not posses identity documents. Experts recall that special attention must be paid to unaccompanied minors who have oftentimes lived through traumatising events by identifying and documenting victims of torture in order to provide the right treatment.

With regards to gender-based violence, the Committee expressed alarm by the abnormally short statute of limitations for the crime of rape, which is ten years under the Luxembourgish Code of Criminal Procedure. Experts were further concerned about the lack of data on femicide and sexual harassment.

Please find the CAT’s recommendations here.

Follow-up Recommendations:

The State party should provide information by 12 May 2024, on the implementation of recommendations regarding:

  • Rigorous monitoring of body search procedures and ensuring that these searches are not degrading
  • Thorough investigations into cases of gender-based violence, including domestic violence
  • Continuing efforts to end the practice of irreversible medical procedures, particularly surgical operations on intersex children

Watch here (part one) and here (part two) the dialogue with the CAT