The International Human Rights Framework on the Right of Peaceful Assembly

Luxembourg is a state party to the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 21 governs the right of peaceful assembly, providing that:

The right of peaceful assembly shall be recognized. No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of this right other than those imposed in conformity with the law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order (ordre public), the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

Luxembourg is also a state party to the First Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, which allows individuals to petition the Human Rights Committee if they believe the state has violated their human rights as protected under the Covenant.

At regional level, Luxembourg is a state party to the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights. Article 11 governs freedom of assembly and association:

1. Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

2. No restrictions shall be placed on the exercise of these rights other than such as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. This Article shall not prevent the imposition of lawful restrictions on the exercise of these rights by members of the armed forces, of the police or of the administration of the State.

The Domestic Legal Framework on the Right of Peaceful Assembly

Constitutional Provisions

Article 25 of the Constitution of Luxembourg (as amended through 2016) guarantees

the right to assemble peacefully and unarmed in compliance with the laws that govern the exercise of this right, without having to be submitted to a prior authorization. 

The provision "is not applicable to open-air political, religious or other meetings; these meetings remain entirely submitted to the laws and regulations of [the] police." 

National Legislation

There is no separate, dedicated national legislation governing the right of peaceful assembly in Luxembourg.

The Legal Framework on Use of Force During Assemblies

The Use of Force

International Legal Rules

Under international law, the duty on the state and its law enforcement agencies is to facilitate the enjoyment of the right of peaceful assembly. According to the 1990 United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials:

In the dispersal of assemblies that are unlawful but non-violent, law enforcement officials shall avoid the use of force or, where that is not practicable, shall restrict such force to the minimum extent necessary.

All force used by police and other law enforcement agencies must be necessary for a legitimate law enforcement purpose and proportionate to that purpose.

National Legislation

The 1973 Act on Regulating the Use of Force regulates police use of weapons, requiring compliance with the principles of necessity, proportionality, reasonableness, and moderation.

The Use of Firearms

International Legal Rules

According to the 1990 United Nations Basic Principles, in the dispersal of violent assemblies, a law enforcement official may only use a firearm against a specific individual where this is necessary to confront an imminent threat of death or serious injury or a grave and proximate threat to life. 

National Legislation

National law does not specifically regulate the use of firearms during demonstrations.

State Compliance with its Legal Obligations

Views and Concluding Observations of United Nations Treaty Bodies

Luxembourg has not come before the Human Rights Committee in recent years. Its 2018 Universal Periodic Review under the UN Human Rights Council did not address the right of peaceful assembly.

Regional Jurisprudence

There has been no finding of a violation of the right of peaceful assembly in Luxembourg by the European Court of Human Rights.

Downloads

2009 Constitution of Luxembourg (English translation) - Download (173 KB)