Germany > UN Press Release Highlights Intersex Genital Mutilation

Zwischengeschlecht.org on FacebookIGM = Torture, NOT 'Discrimination' or 'Gender Identity'During its 66th Session in Geneva, the UN Committee against Torture (CAT) questioned Germany about Intersex Genital Mutilations (IGM), based on damning evidence and personal testimony provided by StopIGM.org in a NGO report and in a private meeting with the Committee.

In her (non-)answer to the question, the Head of the German Delegation basically repeated the ever same empty promises of “action as soon as we analysed the proceedings of the last expert meeting” (after wich, according to the usual pattern of more than 20 years documented in the NGO report on p. 25, inevitably no action follows, but instead yet another mutilator-friendly “expert meeting” or “study” to “further evaluate the situation”). Next, she quickly but unsurprisingly tried to reframe the issue from involuntary non-urgent surgery on healthy children a.k.a. IGM practices to “gender-affirming treatments” (i.e. consensual procedures on adult trans persons) and generally to LGBT and trans topics, repeatedly referring to “queer living” flyers and “rainbow online portals” (see full transcript in german).

This intersex Q&A was also summarised in the UN press release of Germany’s review as follows:

“Committee against Torture examines the situation in Germany”
>>> UN Press Release (30.04.2019)

Questions by the Committee Experts

CLAUDE HELLER ROUASSANT, Committee Co-Rapporteur for Germany […] Mr. Heller Rouassant raised concern about the non-consensual genital mutilation of intersex persons, as 1,700 operations had been conducted without consent and not for urgent reasons.

[…]

Responses by the Delegation

[…] The current Coalition Government included in its work programme the adoption of a statutory regulation to prevent unnecessary operations on intersex children.  Sex alignment surgery was only allowed if it was a life-saving measure.  A brochure for parents had been issued which encouraged the parents not to resort to surgery. […]

>>> Full Timeline CAT Germany 2011-2019

2019-CAT-Germany-NGO-Intersex-StopIGMIGM in Germany: 2019 CAT Report
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Reprod. Anatomy
IGM in Germany • Stats • Complicity of the State • Inhuman Treatment
>>> Download as PDF (679 kb)

See also:
“Harmful Medical Practice”: UN, COE, ACHPR, IACHR condem IGM
40 UN Reprimands for IGM – and counting …

Germany to be examined by UN Committee against Torture (CAT) – Shadow Report documents ongoing Intersex Genital Mutilation

2019-CAT-Germany-NGO-Intersex-StopIGMNext week, Germany will be examined by the UN Committee against Torture (CAT). The Committee already reprimanded Germany for IGM practices in 2011, explicitly urging the Government to, inter alia, “adopt legal provisions in order to provide redress to the victims of such treatment, including adequate compensation”.

A Thematic Intersex NGO Report by StopIGM.org / Zwischengeschlecht.org (PDF) provides solid evidence of ongoing IGM practices in Germany, and how despite repeated Government promises there are still no legal protections for intersex children at risk (p. 14-16, 21-22) and no access to redress and justice for IGM survivors (p. 22-23, 27-31), in clear contradiction of the 2011 CAT binding recommendations for Germany.

The report further documents recent developments including

  • Minister’s conference proposes “legal ban” of IGM (p. 17)
  • Inter-Ministerial Working Group on Intersexuality and Transsexuality states IGM “may constitute bodily injury”, suggests “clarifying prohibition”  (p. 18)
  • Coalition Agreement promises legal prohibition of IGM (p. 19)
  • CCPR raises “non-emergency” surgery, “obstacles in access to justice” (p. 19)
  • CESCR64: Germany promises “legislation” to prohibit IGM (p. 19)
  • Minister of Justice promises “legal provision” to “end this practice”  (p. 20)
  • Social Court: Involuntary, non-urgent Clitorectomy = “state of the art” legal medical Intervention “serv[ing] the well-being of the patient”  (p. 20)

StopIGM.org will be reporting live from Geneva, hoping for tough questions on IGM – and for yet another strong reprimand for IGM practices for Germany!

>>> Full Timeline CAT Germany 2013-2019

>>> Intersex: How to Distinguish Medical Crimes from Health Care

See also:
“Harmful Medical Practice”: UN, COE, ACHPR, IACHR condem IGM
40 UN Reprimands for IGM – and counting …
UN Committee for the Rights of the Child (CRC): IGM = Harmful Practice + Violence
UN Committee against Torture (CAT) 2015: IGM = Inhuman Treatment or Torture
UN Women’s Rights Committee (CEDAW): IGM = Harmful Practice
UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD): Violation of Integrity
UN Human Rights Committee (HRCttee) condemns IGM Practices

Intersex Genital Mutilations • 17 Most Common Forms
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Sex Anatomy
IGM – Historical Overview • What is Intersex? • How Common is IGM?
>>> Download PDF (3.65 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

IGM as a Harmful Practice: 2015 UN-CRC Briefing
• IGM: A Survivor’s Perspective • Intersex Movement History
• What are Variations of Sex Anatomy?  • What are IGM Practices?
• IGM and Human Rights  • Conclusion: IGM is a Harmful Practice
>>> Download PDF (3.14 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

Eliminating IGM practices by holding the perpetrators accountable via well-established applicable human rights frameworks, including Inhuman Treatment and Harmful Practices – Presentation @ UN expert meeting on Intersex Human Rights
>>> Download PDF (831kb)

UK > UN Press Release Highlights Intersex Genital Mutilation

Zwischengeschlecht.org on FacebookIGM = CRIME, Not 'Health Care' or 'Therapy'!During its 72nd Session in Geneva, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) questioned the UK over Intersex Genital Mutilations (IGM), with the Head of Delegation basically repeating the same (non-)answer no less than 3 times (this blog reported).

The first intersex Q&A was also summarised in the UN press release of the UK’s review:

“Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women reviews the situation of women’s rights in the United Kingdom”
>>> UN Press Release (26.02.2019)

Questions by the Committee Experts

[…] The delegation was asked whether it would adopt legislation prohibiting irreversible surgery on intersex children and remove barriers to access to justice, including by lifting the statute of limitations.

[…]

Responses by the Delegation

Responding, the delegation said that England had issued a call for evidence in order to increase its understanding of the issues facing intersex persons and especially victims of intersex genital mutilation. […]

>>> IGM in the UK, 2019: CEDAW Intersex Briefing Update (PDF, 2 pages)
>>>
Full Report: UK questioned on IGM by UN-CEDAW, 26.02.2019
>>>
Why UK intersex advocate Dawn Vago can’t testify at the UN in Geneva
>>>
UK > NHS Doctor admits to performing Intersex Genital Mutilation
>>> Timeline CEDAW UK 2018-19

2018-CEDAW-PSWG-UK-NGO-Coalition-Intersex-IGMIGM in the UK: 2018 CEDAW Report
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Reprod. Anatomy
IGM in the UK • Statistics • Complicity of the State • Harmful Practice
>>> Download as PDF (679 kb)

2019-CEDAW-UK-NGO-Coalition-Intersex-IGMIGM in the UK: 2019 Follow-Up Report (for Session)
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Reprod. Anatomy
Impunity • International IGM Networks in the UK • Testimonies
>>> Download as PDF (430 kb)

See also:
“Harmful Medical Practice”: UN, COE, ACHPR, IACHR condem IGM
40 UN Reprimands for IGM – and counting …

CEDAW72 > UK questioned about Intersex Genital Mutilation by UN

>>> Why UK intersex advocate Dawn Vago can’t testify at the UN in Geneva
>>>
UK > NHS Doctor admits to performing Intersex Genital Mutilation


CEDAW 72nd Session @ Palais des Nations, Geneva 26.02.2019, 09:57h: Getting ready

Zwischengeschlecht.org on FacebookStopIGM.org together with UK intersex NGOs IntersexUK (iUK) and UK Intersex Association (UKIA)  submitted 2 comprehensive NGO Reports on the situation of intersex people in the UK to CEDAW, which demonstrate that intersex genital mutilation continues in in all 4 devolved nations, and during the Lunchtime meeting of CEDAW with UK NGOs on 25.02.2019 further briefed the Committee with a Joint Intersex Briefing Update (PDF).

>>> Full CEDAW Timeline UK 2018-2019

During the 72nd Session of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the Committee is examining the human rights record of the UK on Tuesday 26 February 2019, 10-13h CET + 15-17h CET (= 9am-noon UK time + 2pm-4pm UK time), with both Session being transmitted LIVE on webtv.un.org. StopIGM.org was reporting LIVE from Geneva, hoping the Committee will ask tough questions on IGM practices in UK!

Session 1, Tue 26 February 2019, 10-13h CET

11:55h (Video @ 1:54:35): YAY!! Committee expert Ms. Bandana Rana (Nepal) who covers CEDAW article 5 on “harmful cultural practices” just raised “intersex genial mutilation” and the lack of access to redress and justice! Notes the UK didn’t reply to the pre-session question in the List of Issues (LOI) on data about IGM. Repeats demand for statistics and asks if UK does plan to implement legislation to stop IGM and address lack of access to justice, including the statutes of limitations? :-) Unofficial Transcript:

«The Committee is concerned about reports of Intersex Genital Mutilation, and the lack of redress and compensation in such cases. As the number of such procedures was also not included in the List of Issues, can you provide data on the number of such surgeries on intersex children? Do you plan to adopt legislation to eliminate this practice, and to address obstacles to access to justice, namely the statutes of limitations?»

12:09h (Video @ 2:07:56): Weak answer on IGM by Head of Delegation Ms. Elysia McCaffrey (Deputy Head, Government Equalities Office), refers to the Call for Evidence (which reportedly fails to adequately consider human rights, namely the non-derogable rights to protection from harmful practices, and to justice and redress for victims”, see Joint Briefing Update (PDF, p.1, last para)), claims UK wants to really understand. :-( Unofficial Transcript:

«I would just like to start if I may a little bit out of order around the question on intersex genital mutilation. We have just issued a Call for Evidence in England where we recognise that we don’t have sufficient understanding of this issue and the issues that have affected these individuals, and we want to really understand that, and that Call for Evidence has been issued recently. So I’m afraid that I don’t have detailed answers on that today but I do [indiscernible] we’re happy to follow up with the Committee once we’ve completed that exercise.»

12:30h (Video @ 2:28:55): Head of Delegation Ms. Elysia McCaffrey (Deputy Head, Government Equalities Office) gives some more info on the “Call for Evidence” (which reportedly fails to adequately consider human rights, namely the non-derogable rights to protection from harmful practices, and to justice and redress for victims”, see Joint Briefing Update (PDF, p.1, last para)), states it is a complicated issue issue, claims UK wants to do the right thing:-( Unofficial Transcript:

«My colleague has just helpfully let me know I mentioned the intersex Call for Evidence that was launched on the 17 January and it’s a 10 week Call for Evidence and it is designed to understand the experiences of people who have variations in their sex characteristics. So this is, obviously it’s an emerging and complicated area policy and we’re looking to use this Call for Evidence to help us really do the right thing and make sure the position is significantly improved for those people.»

Session 2, Tue 26 February 2019, 15-17h CET

16:21h (Video @ 1:22:12): Committee expert Ms. Ana Peláez Narváez (Spain), of CRPD13 fame, follows up on forced sterilisation of women with disabilities, as well as intersex genital mutilation (the question’s wording was perhaps not entirely clear at first, as“surgeries to reassign sex or change sex” gererally refer to consensual trans surgery, not IGM) – however, this was soon clarified in the answer, see below), what measures is the UK taking to repeal those practices? :-) Unofficial Transcript:

«I also wanted to ask something else. I’m concerned by the fact that forced treatment can be used in the State party for sterilisation for example or surgeries to reassign sex or change sex. So I would like to know what measures the State party has taken in order to repeal these practices and bring it into line with a human rights based focus.»

16:37h (Video @ 1:36:52): Head of Delegation Ms. Elysia McCaffrey (Deputy Head, Government Equalities Office) answers on forced sterilisation and intersex genital mutilation, again referring to the “Call for Evidence” (which reportedly fails to adequately consider human rights, namely the non-derogable rights to protection from harmful practices, and to justice and redress for victims”, see Joint Briefing Update (PDF, p.1, last para)), but else remains vague (and didn’t answer at all regarding forced sterilisation of women with disabilities). :-( (Though kudos for correctly answering on IGM.) Unofficial Transcript:

«In relation to forced sterilisation and for changing sex, I think if I understand this question rightly you were referring to intersex genital mutilation and this is something that we’re aware of the debate around and we are aware of the debate on the practice of medical interventions in this area. Really we require more govern- more evidence of the nature and the scale of this issue, and the call for evidence which I talked about earlier today should help us to determine whether and what government intervention is necessary.»

In March, the Committee will publish its “Concluding observations” with binding recommendations – hopefully including yet another strong reprimand for IGM practices for the UK! Fingers crossed!

>>> Full Chronology CEDAW UK 2018-19
>>> Intersex human rights at the UN are under attack!!!

>>> IGM in the UK, 2019: CEDAW Intersex Briefing Update (PDF, 2 pages)
>>>
UK > NHS Doctor admits to performing Intersex Genital Mutilation
>>>
Why UK intersex advocate Dawn Vago can’t testify at the UN in Geneva

2018-CEDAW-PSWG-UK-NGO-Coalition-Intersex-IGMIGM in the UK: 2018 CEDAW Report
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Reprod. Anatomy
IGM in the UK • Statistics • Complicity of the State • Harmful Practice
>>> Download as PDF (679 kb)

2019-CEDAW-UK-NGO-Coalition-Intersex-IGMIGM in the UK: 2019 Follow-Up Report (for Session)
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Reprod. Anatomy
Impunity • International IGM Networks in the UK • Testimonies
>>> Download as PDF (430 kb)

>>> Intersex human rights at the UN are under attack!!!
>>> Intersex: How to Distinguish Medical Crimes from Health Care

See also:
“Harmful Medical Practice”: UN, COE, ACHPR, IACHR condem IGM
40 UN Reprimands for IGM – and counting …
UN Committee for the Rights of the Child (CRC): IGM = Harmful Practice + Violence
UN Committee against Torture (CAT) 2015: IGM = Inhuman Treatment or Torture
UN Women’s Rights Committee (CEDAW): IGM = Harmful Practice
UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD): Violation of Integrity
UN Human Rights Committee (HRCttee) condemns IGM Practices

Intersex Genital Mutilations • 17 Most Common Forms
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Sex Anatomy
IGM – Historical Overview • What is Intersex? • How Common is IGM?
>>> Download PDF (3.65 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

IGM as a Harmful Practice: 2015 UN-CRC Briefing
• IGM: A Survivor’s Perspective • Intersex Movement History
• What are Variations of Sex Anatomy?  • What are IGM Practices?
• IGM and Human Rights  • Conclusion: IGM is a Harmful Practice
>>> Download PDF (3.14 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

Eliminating IGM practices by holding the perpetrators accountable via well-established applicable human rights frameworks, including Inhuman Treatment and Harmful Practices – Presentation @ UN expert meeting on Intersex Human Rights
>>> Download PDF (831kb)

Why UK intersex advocate Dawn Vago can’t testify at the UN in Geneva

Zwischengeschlecht.org on FacebookToday Tuesday 26 February 2019, 10-13h CET + 15-17h CET (= 9am-noon UK time + 2pm-4pm UK time) the UK’s human rights record will be examined by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in Geneva – to be transmitted LIVE on webtv.un.org!

IntersexUK’s Dawn Vago, co-rapporteur of the Thematic Intersex NGO Reports, was scheduled to testify before the Committee in Geneva. Unfortunately, this wasn’t meant to be. Below Dawn explains why, and what this has to do with her being an IGM survivor (taken from an email to fellow UK NGOs present in Geneva):

I am Dawn Vago from IntersexUK and the designated speaker on behalf of the Intersex NGO Coalition, and I’d like to second Daniela’s email, as I am not ok and have not agreed to not getting speaking time.

I recently sustained significant injuries from a fall (shattered eye socket and cheekbone, fractured wrist, broken rib) which have kept me from beeing as vocal in the email chain that I would I have liked to have been, and which unfortunately will prevent me from travelling to Geneva without further injuring my health. However, I will follow the session remotely.

Unfortunately, the severity of my injuries is a direct consequence of having been submitted to intersex genital mutilation, namely the removal of vital hormone producing organs (gonadectomy) at age 8, of which a known complication is osteoporosis (weak bones), from which I have been suffering since 2005.

I am desperately trying to find someone else to come and speak from IntersexUK but time is short and in case we can’t find anybody, IntersexUK officially designates our co-rapporteur Daniela Truffer to speak on my behalf.

We must be allowed to speak out about our grievances during the public briefing, as the UK continues to illegally perform intersex genital mutilation against past UN condemnations. For example I just heard that a young intersex girl age 7 underwent gonadectony at my local hospital not so long ago, and being told the same cancer risk lie they told my parents 30 years ago! AND my adopted son was also told he needed his penis surgically ‘corrected’ on and his female body parts removed for no other reason than cosmetic purposes only less than 1 year ago.The UK has not moved on, and we desperately need IGM to stop!

I plea with you to allow us adequate time to speak and not silence us the same way surgeons and society silence us in the UK. We understand the value of everyone else’s voice but we cant sit by unnoticed. Please help.

Best regards and respect

Dawn Vago
IntersexUK
Co-Director

>>> UK > NHS Doctor admits to performing Intersex Genital Mutilation
>>> Timeline CEDAW UK 2018-19

2019-CAT-UK-NGO-Coalition-Intersex-IGMIntersex Genital Mutilations in the UK: 2019 CAT Report
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Reprod. Anatomy
IGM in the UK •  Stats • Complicity of the State • Inhuman Treatment
>>> Download as PDF (679 kb)

2019-CEDAW-UK-NGO-Coalition-Intersex-IGMIGM in the UK: 2019 Follow-Up Report
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Reprod. Anatomy
Impunity • International IGM Networks in the UK • Testimonies
>>> Download as PDF (430 kb)

See also:
‘Only the Fear of the Judge Will Make IGM Perpetrators Change’
“Harmful Medical Practice”: UN, COE, ACHPR, IACHR condem IGM
40 UN Reprimands for IGM – and counting …
UN Committee for the Rights of the Child (CRC): IGM = Harmful Practice + Violence
UN Committee against Torture (CAT) 2015: IGM = Inhuman Treatment or Torture
UN Women’s Rights Committee (CEDAW): IGM = Harmful Practice
UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD): Violation of Integrity
UN Human Rights Committee (HRCttee) condemns IGM Practices

Intersex Genital Mutilations • 17 Most Common Forms
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Sex Anatomy
IGM – Historical Overview • What is Intersex? • How Common is IGM?
>>> Download PDF (3.65 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

IGM as a Harmful Practice: 2015 UN-CRC Briefing
• IGM: A Survivor’s Perspective • Intersex Movement History
• What are Variations of Sex Anatomy?  • What are IGM Practices?
• IGM and Human Rights  • Conclusion: IGM is a Harmful Practice
>>> Download PDF (3.14 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

Eliminating IGM practices by holding the perpetrators accountable via well-established applicable human rights frameworks, including Inhuman Treatment and Harmful Practices – Presentation @ UN expert meeting on Intersex Human Rights
>>> Download PDF (831kb)

UK > NHS Doctor admits to performing Intersex Genital Mutilation: ‘We are talking about relatively small numbers’ – really!?

BBC quote M. Woodward: 'maybe between 20 and 40 surgical procedures a year in the whole of the UK'
NHS Bristol paediatric surgeon Mark Woodward, “the chair of the NHS England review of surgery on intersex people”, publicly admits to performing involuntary genital surgery on intersex children, according to the BBC “the majority of [it] not medically needed”. (However, according to a recent UK Study there are rather 2900 IGM procedures annually.)

Zwischengeschlecht.org on FacebookWe’re saying kudos to Dr Woodward for going public in a >>> 15-minutes BBC video report about “Intersex surgeries” (which actually are not about “assigning sex”, but according to the UN simply a serious human rights violation – also the often-repeated wrong number of allegedly “as many as 1.7% of the world have intersex traits” is unfortunately as false as claiming “the UN” would say this, actually there are rather 0.2% intersex people, see this excellent rebuke by BBC’s Tim Harford).

The following is a transcript of Mark Woodward’s statements in the video:

[Previous segment: Holly Greenberry, co-founder IntersexUK denounces the “huge detrimental impact” of unnecessary genital surgery on intersex children.]

[ video @ 11.46 min ] Mark Woodward (Consultant Paediatric Urologist [Surgeon], NHS Bristol): But that’s just focusing on that small aspect of health. And that’s not necessarily looking at psychology, the social impact of it.

Commentary: Mark Woodward will be the chair of the NHS England review of surgery on intersex people.

Moderator: Of the numbers of surgeries that are happening on DSD children in the UK, how many of those are necessary medically?

Woodward: It looks like roughly 150 children a year are assessed as new patients with DSD, and maybe between 20 and 40 surgical procedures a year in the whole of the UK, so we are talking about relatively small numbers.

Moderator: Of those 20 to 30 who are having surgery, how many of those would you estimate are absolutely required to happen in childhood?

Woodward: Yes, so I mean that is the big question, if you said are these procedures absolutely medically necessary? I.e. is a child going to come to harm if they don’t have surgery, well that number would be not that whole group, it would be smaller than that.

Voiceover: So while the majority of UK surgeries on intersex or DSD children are not medically needed, Mark Woodward, like Joyce Mbogo in Kenya, says it is often the parents pushing for them.

Woodward: So yes sometimes when you hear people talking about surgery, it’s as if we, the surgeons, are kind of dragging the children out of the parent’s arms and doing the surgery somehow against what the parents want. I mean that has never been my experience with the UK approach in DSD. I mean I feel, as do most of the people I speak to involved is that our position s we do not want to do any surgery, we would rather not do any surgery at all. I can imagine some teenagers saying, I wish I hadn’t had to make this surgery decision for myself.

Moderator: But are these imagined scenarios?

Woodward: Yeah they are totally imagined, yeah. Yeah.

Moderator: So we don’t know.

Woodward: Yeah that’s the problem we have absolutely no idea.

[Next segment: The Lohmans in Milwaukee, parents of intersex child Rosie: “All of the horror stories we were told Rosie’s life was going to be like if we just left her be and none of which have come true. […] Rosie is fine.“]

By the way, you’ll find the entire statistics of the recent Huddersfield Intersex Study (which found 2900 IGM surgeries annually in England alone!) and more evidence in the CAT Intersex NGO Report (PDF, see p. 11-16).

>>> 40 UN Reprimands for IGM – and counting …

2019-CAT-UK-NGO-Coalition-Intersex-IGMIntersex Genital Mutilations in the UK: 2019 CAT Report
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Reprod. Anatomy
IGM in the UK •  Stats • Complicity of the State • Inhuman Treatment
>>> Download as PDF (679 kb)

2019-CEDAW-UK-NGO-Coalition-Intersex-IGMIGM in the UK: 2019 Follow-Up Report
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Reprod. Anatomy
Impunity • International IGM Networks in the UK • Testimonies
>>> Download as PDF (430 kb)

See also:
“Harmful Medical Practice”: UN, COE, ACHPR, IACHR condem IGM
UN Committee for the Rights of the Child (CRC): IGM = Harmful Practice + Violence
UN Committee against Torture (CAT) 2015: IGM = Inhuman Treatment or Torture
UN Women’s Rights Committee (CEDAW): IGM = Harmful Practice
UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD): Violation of Integrity
UN Human Rights Committee (HRCttee) condemns IGM Practices

Intersex Genital Mutilations • 17 Most Common Forms
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Sex Anatomy
IGM – Historical Overview • What is Intersex? • How Common is IGM?
>>> Download PDF (3.65 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

IGM as a Harmful Practice: 2015 UN-CRC Briefing
• IGM: A Survivor’s Perspective • Intersex Movement History
• What are Variations of Sex Anatomy?  • What are IGM Practices?
• IGM and Human Rights  • Conclusion: IGM is a Harmful Practice
>>> Download PDF (3.14 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

Eliminating IGM practices by holding the perpetrators accountable via well-established applicable human rights frameworks, including Inhuman Treatment and Harmful Practices – Presentation @ UN expert meeting on Intersex Human Rights
>>> Download PDF (831kb)

CRC80 > Intersex Genital Mutilation: UN reprimands Belgium, Italy

[ Français ]  [ Deutsch ]

Photo: Nonviolent Intersex Protest @ UNHRC UPR #14, Geneva 20.10.2012

Zwischengeschlecht.org on FacebookDuring its 80th Session in Geneva, the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) examined the human rights record of Belgium and Italy, grilling both State parties specifically on intersex and IGM.

Intersex advocates are delighted that the Committee today sternly reprimanded both States for Intersex Genital Mutilations (IGM) under CRC art. 24(3) “harmful practices” (same as FGM), and in particular explicitly urged Belgium to “[p]rohibit the performance of unnecessary medical or surgical treatment on intersex children” and to “ensure […] access […] to effective remedies, including by lifting the statute of limitations”, referring to the CRC-CEDAW Joint General Comment No. 18/31 “on harmful practices”, and to target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals (“eliminate all harmful practices”).

This latest reprimands for IGM practices by a UN treaty body mark
• the first reprimand for IGM for Belgium,
• already the 2nd reprimand for IGM for Italy,
• now 40 UN reprimands condemning IGM as a serious violation of non-derogable human rights.

Intersex NGO StopIGM.org together with intersex advocates Claudia Balsamo (Italy) and Thierry Bosman (Belgium), with the support of Intersexioni, Intersex Esiste and Intersex Belgium, and with additional help from Michela Balocchi, Daniela Crocetti and Londé Ngosso, had submitted substantial evidence of the ongoing IGM practices in both countries.

Please find below the full binding intersex recommendations for both Belgium and Italy, as well as links to the evidence submitted to the Committee and to the shocking denials and excuses of both States when questioned by the Committee in Geneva:

Belgium

2018 CRC Belgium NGO (for PSWG) Intersex IGMIntersex Genital Mutilation in Belgium: 2018 CRC Report
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Reprod. Anatomy
IGM in Belgium • Complicity of the State • Harmful Practice
>>> Download as PDF (376 kb)

2018 CRC Belgium NGO (for Session) Intersex IGMIGM in Belgium: 2018 Follow-Up Report (for Session)
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Reprod. Anatomy
Gov sidelines Intersex NGOs • International IGM Networks in Belgium
>>> Download as PDF (210 kb)

>>> CRC80 Belgium: Full Session Report, Transcripts, Videos
>>>
Belgique > Communiqué de l’ONU souligne l’absence de protection législative
>>> Full CRC Timeline Belgium 2018-2019

Belgium: Full Binding CRC80 Intersex Recommendations
>>> Download Full Concl Obs:
CRC/C/BEL/CO/5-6 –> paras 25(b)+26(e)

Harmful practices

25. The Committee notes with concern that:

[…]

(b) Intersex children are subjected to medically unnecessary surgeries and other procedures.

26. With reference to 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 on harmful practices (2014) and taking into account target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Committee urges the State party to:

[…]

(e) Prohibit the performance of unnecessary medical or surgical treatment on intersex children where those procedures can be safely deferred until children are able to provide their informed consent; ensure that intersex children and their families have access to adequate counselling and support and to effective remedies, including by lifting the statute of limitations.

Italy

2018 CRC Italy NGO (for PSWG) Intersex IGMIntersex Genital Mutilations in Italy: 2018 CRC Report
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Reprod. Anatomy
IGM in Italy • Complicity of the State • Harmful Practice
>>> Download as PDF (391 kb)

2018 CRC Italy NGO (for Session) Intersex IGMIGM in Italy: 2018 Follow-Up Report (for Session)
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Reprod. Anatomy
IGM Statistics • International IGM Networks in Italy • Testimonies
>>> Download as PDF (450 kb)

>>> CRC80 Italy: Full Session Report, Transcripts, Videos
>>>
Italy > Intersex Genital Mutilation: Gov Denial makes UN Press Release
>>> Full CRC Timeline Italy 2018-2019

Italy: Full Binding CRC80 Intersex Recommendations
>>> Download Full Concl Obs:
CRC/C/ITA/CO/5-6 –> para 23

Harmful practices

23. The Committee recommends that the State party:

(a) Develop and implement a child rights-based health-care protocol for intersex children, setting the procedures and steps to be followed by health teams, ensuring that no one is subjected to unnecessary medical or surgical treatment during infancy or childhood, guarantee bodily integrity, autonomy and self-determination to children concerned, and provide families with intersex children with adequate counselling and support;

(b) Educate and train medical and psychological professionals on the range of sexual, and related biological and physical, diversity and on the consequences of unnecessary surgical and other medical interventions for intersex children.

See also:
‘Only the Fear of the Judge Will Make IGM Perpetrators Change’
“Harmful Medical Practice”: UN, COE, ACHPR, IACHR condem IGM
40 UN Reprimands for IGM – and counting …
UN Committee for the Rights of the Child (CRC): IGM = Harmful Practice + Violence
UN Committee against Torture (CAT) 2015: IGM = Inhuman Treatment or Torture
UN Women’s Rights Committee (CEDAW): IGM = Harmful Practice
UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD): Violation of Integrity
UN Human Rights Committee (HRCttee) condemns IGM Practices

Intersex Genital Mutilations • 17 Most Common Forms
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Sex Anatomy
IGM – Historical Overview • What is Intersex? • How Common is IGM?
>>> Download PDF (3.65 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

IGM as a Harmful Practice: 2015 UN-CRC Briefing
• IGM: A Survivor’s Perspective • Intersex Movement History
• What are Variations of Sex Anatomy?  • What are IGM Practices?
• IGM and Human Rights  • Conclusion: IGM is a Harmful Practice
>>> Download PDF (3.14 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

Eliminating IGM practices by holding the perpetrators accountable via well-established applicable human rights frameworks, including Inhuman Treatment and Harmful Practices – Presentation @ UN expert meeting on Intersex Human Rights
>>> Download PDF (831kb)

Italy > Intersex Genital Mutilation: Gov Denial makes UN Press Release

Zwischengeschlecht.org on FacebookBoth the English and the French UN press releases on the review of Italy by the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on 22.-23.02.2019 feature the questions of the Committee Expert about IGM and reparations, and how Italy quickly changed the subject, non-answering on “trans law” and “3rd gender” instead (however both releases don’t include the follow-up Q&A, see full report):

“Committee on the Rights of the Child reviews the situation of children in Italy”
>>> UN Press Release (23.01.2019)

Questions by the Committee Experts

[…]

The delegation was asked about the procedure in place when an intersex child was born, and whether surgeries and medical procedures performed without consent were prosecuted.

Replies by the Delegation

[…]

Gender assignment surgery was regulated by the 1982 law which prescribed that the cost of operating on ambiguous genitalia was covered by the State.  In 2015, the Constitutional Court had restated the principle for the need of a judicial review on sex change in old cases.  Italy would amend the sex determination on the certificate of birth assistance to include also the category of undetermined. 

[…]

“Le Comité des droits de l’enfant a examine le rapport de l’Italie”
>>> Communique de presse de l’ONU (23.01.2019)

Examen du rapport

Questions et observations des membres du Comité

[…]

[…]  Ce même expert a demandé s’il était toujours possible en Italie d’imposer une intervention chirurgicale aux enfants intersexes et si les enfants concernés pouvaient obtenir des réparations.

[…]

Réponses de la délégation

[…]

La délégation a expliqué que l’attribution du sexe est régie par la loi.  Le recours à une intervention chirurgicale n’est permis qu’en cas de « sexualité ambiguë », a-t-elle précisé, expliquant qu’il faut alors chercher à favoriser les facteurs dominants.  Les modalités de changement de sexe doivent faire l’objet d’un contrôle judiciaire, a souligné la délégation.  Le traitement chirurgical est un instrument auquel il peut éventuellement être recouru pour assurer le bien-être psychique des personnes concernées, a indiqué la délégation.  Elle a fait état d’un projet de loi qui prévoit qu’à la naissance, le sexe puisse être mentionné comme étant masculin, féminin ou indéterminé.

[…]

>>> Italy + Belgium > UN-CRC80 to examine Intersex Genital Mutilation
>>> Italy > Asked about intersex, Gov replies on trans + “3rd gender”
>>> Belgium > Gov claims it’s “medical treatment”, not human rights issue

See also:
‘Only the Fear of the Judge Will Make IGM Perpetrators Change’
“Harmful Medical Practice”: UN, COE, ACHPR, IACHR condem IGM
38 UN Reprimands for IGM – and counting …
UN Committee for the Rights of the Child (CRC): IGM = Harmful Practice + Violence
UN Committee against Torture (CAT) 2015: IGM = Inhuman Treatment or Torture
UN Women’s Rights Committee (CEDAW): IGM = Harmful Practice
UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD): Violation of Integrity
UN Human Rights Committee (HRCttee) condemns IGM Practices

Intersex Genital Mutilations • 17 Most Common Forms
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Sex Anatomy
IGM – Historical Overview • What is Intersex? • How Common is IGM?
>>> Download PDF (3.65 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

IGM as a Harmful Practice: 2015 UN-CRC Briefing
• IGM: A Survivor’s Perspective • Intersex Movement History
• What are Variations of Sex Anatomy?  • What are IGM Practices?
• IGM and Human Rights  • Conclusion: IGM is a Harmful Practice
>>> Download PDF (3.14 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

Eliminating IGM practices by holding the perpetrators accountable via well-established applicable human rights frameworks, including Inhuman Treatment and Harmful Practices – Presentation @ UN expert meeting on Intersex Human Rights
>>> Download PDF (831kb)

Belgique > Mutilations Génitales Intersexes: Communiqué de l’ONU souligne l’absence de protection législative

Zwischengeschlecht.org on FacebookLe Comité des droits de l’enfant (CRC) de l’ONU a interrogé la Belgique sur les mutilations génitales intersexes (MGI) à l’occasion de son examen périodique à la 80ème session du CRC à Genève (>>> transcription complète en anglais).
Maintenant, un >>> communiqué de presse de l’ONU sur l’examen met en lumière les questions-réponses sur les personnes intersexes :

“La délégation a dit qu’il n’y avait pas en Belgique « d’interdiction légale des interventions médicales non vitales » sur des enfants intersexués.  Le patient mineur qui est apte à estimer son propre intérêt a son mot à dire dans de telles interventions.  Il appartient au praticien d’évaluer la maturité du jeune patient.  Le mineur capable de discernement peut refuser un traitement, y compris un traitement vital, a indiqué la délégation.”

Le Comité publiera ses recommandations contraignantes pour la Belgique en février. Espérons une réprimande forte à la Belgique pour sa complicité dans les pratiques de MGI !

>>> Italy + Belgium > UN-CRC80 to examine Intersex Genital Mutilation
>>> Belgium > Gov claims it’s “medical treatment”, not human rights issue
>>>
Italy > Asked about intersex, Gov replies on trans + “3rd gender”

See also:
‘Only the Fear of the Judge Will Make IGM Perpetrators Change’
“Harmful Medical Practice”: UN, COE, ACHPR, IACHR condem IGM
38 UN Reprimands for IGM – and counting …
UN Committee for the Rights of the Child (CRC): IGM = Harmful Practice + Violence
UN Committee against Torture (CAT) 2015: IGM = Inhuman Treatment or Torture
UN Women’s Rights Committee (CEDAW): IGM = Harmful Practice
UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD): Violation of Integrity
UN Human Rights Committee (HRCttee) condemns IGM Practices

Intersex Genital Mutilations • 17 Most Common Forms
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Sex Anatomy
IGM – Historical Overview • What is Intersex? • How Common is IGM?
>>> Download PDF (3.65 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

IGM as a Harmful Practice: 2015 UN-CRC Briefing
• IGM: A Survivor’s Perspective • Intersex Movement History
• What are Variations of Sex Anatomy?  • What are IGM Practices?
• IGM and Human Rights  • Conclusion: IGM is a Harmful Practice
>>> Download PDF (3.14 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

Eliminating IGM practices by holding the perpetrators accountable via well-established applicable human rights frameworks, including Inhuman Treatment and Harmful Practices – Presentation @ UN expert meeting on Intersex Human Rights
>>> Download PDF (831kb)

CRC80 > TRANSCRIPT + VIDEO: Belgium questioned over Intersex Genital Mutilation by UN – Gov denies, claims it’s “Medical Treatment”

UN-CRC 80th Session @ Palais Wilson, Geneva 24.01.2018: Getting ready …

Zwischengeschlecht.org on FacebookStopIGM.org together with Belgian intersex advocate Thierry Bosman, with the support of Intersex Belgium, and with additional help from Londé Ngosso submitted 2 comprehensive NGO Reports on the Situation of Intersex People in Belgium to CRC, which demonstrate that intersex genital mutilation practices continue in Belgium, and during the Pre-Session on 04.06.2018 briefed the Committee with a Joint intersex Statement.

>>> Full CRC Timeline Belgium 2018-2019

During the 80th Session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the Committe is examining the human rights record of Belgium on 24-25 January 2019, with both Session being transmitted on webtv.un.org. StopIGM.org is reporting LIVE from Geneva, hoping the Committee will ask tough questions on IGM practices in Belgium!

Session 1, Thu 24 January 2019, 15-18h

15:50h: (Video @ ca. 00:50:00)YAY!! Committee expert and Country co-rapporteur Ms. Velina Todorova (Bulgaria) raises intersex children and IGM! Criticises non-urgent irreversible surgery and prenatal treatment before the children are old enough to provide informed consent. Asks for statistics. How does the government plan to adress this issue? Maintains this is both an issue of harmful practices and child participation:-)  Unofficial Transcript:

«Intersex children. We have been informed that many non-urgent, irreversible surgical and other procedures including prenatal have been undertaken on intersex children before an age at which that they are able to provide informed consent. Is there statistics available on this matter, and how does the government plan to address this issue? It is both a matter of harmful practice and of participation. The child should be able to agree or disagree on a matter affecting his or her identity.»

Session 2, Fri 25 January 2019, 10-13h

11:24h: (Video @ ca. 01:24:00) Non-answer on “medical procedures for intersex children” by Ms. Christel de Craim, Representative of the Minister of Justice to the National Commission of the Rights of the Child. Refers to Belgian Constitution art. 22bis which guarantees the right to physical integrity, however, there’s no law prohibiting non-vital procedures on intersex children. Decisions are made by parents, medical personnel and the child if old enough. There is no fixed age for children to be able to consent. Mentions trans law of 25 June 2017, but then says herself that this is off-topic. No answers on statistics and how to address human rights issues … :-( (Though kudos for publicly noticing trans legislation is not relevant to intersex children!) Unofficial Translation from original French:

«Ms. Karen van Laethem (President of National Commission on the Rights of the Child): There was a rather specific question on medical procedures for intersex children.»

«Ms. Christel de Craim: Indeed, Article 22bis of the Belgian Constitution provides that every child has the right to respect for his or her moral, physical, psychological and sexual integrity, but there is no legal prohibition in Belgium of non-vital treatment or interventions concerning intersex children who do not have the capacity of discernment to make such a decision.

Article 12 of the Law of 22 August 2002 on the patient’s right stipulates that, depending on age and maturity, the patient is involved in the exercise of his rights.The rights listed in this law may be exercised autonomously by the minor patient who may be considered capable of reasonably assessing his or her interests. When choosing a medical treatment for a child several people are involved, the parents, the caregiver and of course the child himself.

Belgian legislation does not impose age limits because they are relative. The practitioner or caregiver must actually assess the maturity of the minor and verify whether he or she is competent for all or only one of the patient’s rights. Nevertheless, the minor who has the capacity for discernment may exercise the right to refuse medical treatment autonomously, this could also include the refusal of vital treatment. 

Concerning the law of 25 June 2017 reforming the regimes relating to transgender persons regarding the mention of a change in the registration of sex in civil status records and its effects, it is, in my opinion, something else and it makes no sense to mention them here. Thank you.»

>>> Belgique > Communiqué de l’ONU souligne l’absence de protection législative
>>>
Italy + Belgium > UN-CRC80 to examine Intersex Genital Mutilation
>>> UPDATE!! UN-CRC condems IGM in Belgium as a “harmful practice” (like FGM)

2018 CRC Belgium NGO (for PSWG) Intersex IGMIntersex Genital Mutilation in Belgium: 2018 CRC Report
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Reprod. Anatomy
IGM in Belgium • Complicity of the State • Harmful Practice
>>> Download as PDF (376 kb)

2018 CRC Belgium NGO (for Session) Intersex IGMIGM in Belgium: 2018 Follow-Up Report (for Session)
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Reprod. Anatomy
Gov sidelines Intersex NGOs • International IGM Networks in Belgium
>>> Download as PDF (210 kb)

See also:
‘Only the Fear of the Judge Will Make IGM Perpetrators Change’
“Harmful Medical Practice”: UN, COE, ACHPR, IACHR condem IGM
38 UN Reprimands for IGM – and counting …
UN Committee for the Rights of the Child (CRC): IGM = Harmful Practice + Violence
UN Committee against Torture (CAT) 2015: IGM = Inhuman Treatment or Torture
UN Women’s Rights Committee (CEDAW): IGM = Harmful Practice
UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD): Violation of Integrity
UN Human Rights Committee (HRCttee) condemns IGM Practices

Intersex Genital Mutilations • 17 Most Common Forms
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Sex Anatomy
IGM – Historical Overview • What is Intersex? • How Common is IGM?
>>> Download PDF (3.65 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

IGM as a Harmful Practice: 2015 UN-CRC Briefing
• IGM: A Survivor’s Perspective • Intersex Movement History
• What are Variations of Sex Anatomy?  • What are IGM Practices?
• IGM and Human Rights  • Conclusion: IGM is a Harmful Practice
>>> Download PDF (3.14 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

Eliminating IGM practices by holding the perpetrators accountable via well-established applicable human rights frameworks, including Inhuman Treatment and Harmful Practices – Presentation @ UN expert meeting on Intersex Human Rights
>>> Download PDF (831kb)