The United States warmly welcomes H.E. Nicolas Schmit, Minister of Labour, Employment and Immigration,and the Luxembourg delegation.
We commend Luxembourg’s continued commitment to promoting human rights, including the protection of religious freedom and in the area of children’s rights.
We applaud the government for funding organizations that provide shelter for domestic violence victims, as well as counseling and hotlines, and we encourage continued government financial assistance to these activities.
We appreciate Luxembourg’s development of a retention center for rejected and undocumented asylum seekers. Although it has contributed to an easing of crowded prison conditions, we are concerned that both Schrassig prison and the State Socio-Educational Center for Juveniles at Dreiborn operate continuously at or near full capacity.
We commend the Ministry for Equal Opportunities for its new campaign to promote the equality of men and women in both the personal and professional spheres. However, we note that although Luxembourg law mandates equal pay for equal work, government reports indicate women were paid 14 to 16 percent less than men for performing the same work.
Finally, we remain concerned that although the government prosecuted and convicted five trafficking offenders during the year, courts held only one trafficking offender accountable with actual jail time in 2011. The government sustained its efforts to protect trafficking victims, but has yet to address a long-standing deficiency by formalizing and implementing comprehensive protections for such victims.
Bearing in mind these concerns, the United States makes the following recommendations:
1. Increase available prison facilities to reduce overcrowding and ensure adequate capacity to enforce prison sentences;
2. Ensure that existing statutes prohibiting gender discrimination are properly implemented and enforced, and augment, through effective implementation and enforcement, efforts to decrease the existing wage gap between women and men.
3. Vigorously prosecute and pursue jail sentences for convicted trafficking offenders and support prosecution efforts by finalizing the March 2009 protection law.