Credit: ECRI

A new report, published by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (part of the Council of Europe), has raised concerns over hate speech and discrimination in Luxembourg.

According to Council of Europe experts, whilst Luxembourg has made significant progress in tackling racism and intolerance, some issues give rise to concern. These include a sharp rise in hate speech, ongoing discrimination against people with an immigrant background and the lack of legislation expressly prohibiting non-vital surgical interventions on intersex children.

These were among the main findings of the sixth monitoring report on Luxembourg published on Tuesday 19 September 2023 by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI).

The report noted a number of important developments since 2018, including the adoption of a new National Integration Plan, the development of Luxembourg's first National LGBTI Action Plan and several positive initiatives in the field of education.

Although most politicians in Luxembourg do not use hate speech, according to ECRI, the problem of hate speech (especially online) has grown considerably in recent years. The experts found that racist or LGBTI-phobic incidents were not effectively recorded or monitored, statistical data remains sparse and under-reporting remained a problem in the Grand Duchy.

The report also found that victims of hate speech were not effectively supported by the authorities and efforts made by regulatory bodies to combat hate speech were fragmented.

ECRI also noted ongoing discrimination against people with an immigrant background (particularly those of African descent and Portuguese nationals) in the areas of employment, education and housing. The professional integration of asylum seekers and refugees remains a major challenge, said ECRI, and there are shortcomings in the provision of language courses for migrants.

The report welcomed the fact that the Centre for Equal Treatment (CET) has been attached to the Chamber of Deputies (Luxembourg's parliament), further consolidating its independence. However, the legal status of the CET remains unclear and its mandate and competences should be reinforced as a priority, according to ECRI.

The report added that the authorities should prioritise the necessary measures to protect the right of intersex children to physical integrity and bodily autonomy.

This report - which covers the period up until 30 March 2023 and includes comments from the government - sets out a number of further recommendations to the authorities. It can be viewed in full here.