UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

Luxembourg (CEDAW 14-03-2018)

The Committee considered the combined sixth and seventh periodic reports of Luxembourg (CEDAW/C/LUX/6-7) at its 1586th and 1587th meetings (see CEDAW/C/SR.1586 and CEDAW/C/SR.1587), held on 1 March 2018.

Concluding observations

D. Principal areas of concern and recommendations

Harmful practices

  1. The Committee takes note of the plans of the State party to adopt provisions on its extraterritorial obligations with regard to the elimination of female genital mutilation and other harmful practices, in the context of its planned ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention). It notes the following with concern:

(a) Reports of the forced medical treatment, including the sterilization of and administration of contraceptives to women with disabilities, in particular women and girls with intellectual disabilities in State institutions, without their free and informed consent;

(b) The performance of medically irreversible sex reassignment surgery on intersex persons, a practice which is defined as non-consensual, unnecessary genital surgery and includes other comparable procedures that violate the physical integrity of such individuals;

(c) The lack of support for intersex persons who have undergone involuntary and medically unnecessary disfiguring surgical procedures when they were infants or children, often with irreversible consequences, resulting in significant physical and psychological suffering.

  1. In the light of joint general recommendation No. 31 of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women/general comment No. 18 of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (2014) on harmful practices, the Committee recommends that the State party:                         

(a) Take measures to enforce the provisions of the Act of 10 December 2009 regarding respect for the opinion of the patient, stop the administration of non-consensual contraception and sterilization or medical treatment, including when consent is given by a third party, and ensure that women with disabilities have equal access to sexual and reproductive health services;                                        

(b) Specifically prohibit non-consensual sex reassignment surgery on intersex persons, develop and implement a rights-based health-care protocol for intersex children that requires medical doctors to inform intersex children about all available options and requires their involvement in decision-making about medical interventions and the full respect of their choices;                                        

(c) Adopt legal provisions to provide redress to intersex persons who are victims of surgical or other medical interventions performed without their free, prior and informed consent or that of their parents.


  1. The Committee welcomes the Girls’ Day-Boys’ Day initiative and its plan to provide educational materials free of charge at the secondary level of education. It notes the following with concern, however:

(a) The underrepresentation of women among presidents and on boards of universities;

(b) The absence of specific education on gender equality and on the rights of women in school curricula;

(c) The low enrolment rate of women, especially migrant women from non-European countries, in tertiary education;

(d) The concentration of women in traditionally female-dominated fields of study and career paths;

(e) Reports of bullying and violence towards migrant and lesbian, bisexual and transgender girls and adolescents and intersex children and adolescents in school settings.

  1. The Committee recommends that the State party:                                        

(a) Take appropriate measures to improve the representation of women in decision-making positions of academic institutions;                                        

(b) Incorporate specific education on gender equality and girls’ and women’s rights into school curricula at all levels;                                        

(c) Address structural barriers that deter girls from progressing beyond secondary education;                                        

(d) Adopt a gender-sensitive approach to career guidance, including on the basis of role models, in order to encourage girls to enrol in traditionally male-dominated fields of study, such as mathematics, information technology and science, and to pursue non‑traditional career paths, and train teachers at all levels of the educational system on ways to prevent stereotyping;                                        

(e) Enable victims to confidentially report cases of bullying and expressions of discriminatory sentiments in educational institutions, including against migrant and lesbian, bisexual and transgender girls and adolescents and intersex children and adolescents, and ensure that those responsible receive adequate sanctions.

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