Jens Modvig, CAT Chairperson and co-rapporteur for France
asking the French delegation about IGM practices, Palais Wilson 19.04.2016, ca.
France is currently up for review of IGM practices
at the 57th
session of the UN Committee against Torture (CAT) on
Tue 19 April 10:00-13:00h + Wed 20. April
The Session should be archived at
StopIGM.org reported LIVE from Palais
Wilson, and is currently completing the Unofficial Transcripts and
Translations of Intersex Q&As:
Session 2, Wed 20.04.2016, 15-18h
18:02h: Chairperson Jens Modvig closes the session.
Let's hope for strong binding recommendations to enact
legislation BOTH to prevent IGM practices AND to
ensure access to redress and justice for IGM survivors, due
Friday 13 May (or soon after)!
18:00h: Closing remarks by the head of the French
17:51h: Disciplinary measures in prisons ...
17:30h: Session resumed. Delegation now talking about statutes
of limitations (NOT regarding survivors of IGM of course) ...
17:15h: Intermission! Phew ...
Ca. 16:50h: Chairperson Jens Modvig follows up on intersex
children! As a doctor himself, he points out the counselling shouldn't
given by the surgeons convinced of themselves, but by others, including by IGM
survivors (peer support). YAY!!
«The last question I have is regarding the account on treatment of
intersex people which is highly appreciated, but I think the worry here is, if
those that do the treatment are those that give the counselling. Because you
will always have a tendency, and I'm a medical doctor, I know it myself that we
think it's so wonderful what we're able to do. And this gives a somewhat biased
view. And I think the counselling that would be really useful to put in
perspective the early surgery would involve much more neutral facilities, even
persons who themselves have been subjected to intersex genital mutilation, so
that parents and treatment people to a much larger degree could see the
long-term impact of the treatment and actually the fact, that we don't know if
it actually adds to quality of life. So I think this is maybe the desired
situation, and not only that the surgeons themselves advise the parents. That
could be considered a little bit too narrow.»
16:28h: Intersex children now up!
Pascal Froudière (Ministry of Social Affairs and Health,
Directorate General of Social Cohesion, Delegate – Bureau of European and
International Affairs) warmed up the usual excuses – mostly
verbatim from earlier
proclamations –, claiming IGM practices would not take place in France, but
only "therapeutic treatments" allegedly justified by
the "best interest of the child", and best dealt with by
"expert doctors" in the infamous
"reference centres for rare diseases of sex
development" (notable for stubbornly continuing to advocate and
perpetrate IGM, as documented in the
NGO report (PDF), see p. 10-13).
The French delegate then promptly changed the subject to
"the question of sexual orientation and gender
identity", which – in contrast to involuntary IGM treatments – of
course would concern "fundamental rights" and therefore would be
tackled as a top priority (a well-known and often-employed
diversionary tactic, which
Vincent Guillot explicitly criticised during the previous NGO meeting with
CAT), while regarding IGM practices, first of all
years of "extensive work" and debates would be
necessary to first "better understand the problem" (the same diversion
strategy also employed by the Frech Gov
during the 2016 CRC examination of France).
(Note: 90% of the French reply was lifted verbatim from a
statement in the French Senate – in the following translation marked
The Committee raised the question about
children who are intersex at birth, that is to say newborns with an
congenital anomaly that makes it difficult to determine their sex. It
raised the question about the timing of the interventions and the
consent of the concerned children themselves who require medical
and/or surgical interventions, to postpone – and the consent of the concerned
children themselves which in the interest of the child would require to
postpone these interventions.
It's a complex subject related to both ethic questions and the
rights of the human being, and particularly the rights of the child,
the fight against discrimination, and healt issues, also there
has to be a holistic approach to the subject.
So, before a therapeutic decision is made, those children need a
multi disciplinary care in specialised competence centres, where endocrine and
genetic analyses, as well as indispensible imaging methods will be performed,
in order to determine the underlying illness, as well as the medical and
surgical treatment options.
There is a reference centre in France, the centre for rare
diseases of sex development, which includes two facilities, one
in Lyon and one at the Hospital Kremlin-Bicêtre near
Paris, and it works together with other reference
centres for rare endocrine diseases. The close collaboration with a reference
centre is essential for the diagnostic approach, the medical treatment and the
indication for surgery, early or postponed, and the following care, as well as
for the clinical research.
The indications for surgery can be difficult. Therefore, they
are the subject of international discussions and studies, which admittedly
aren't perfectly amicable. Those indications for surgery are mostly particular
for every case and therefore require an individual, comprehensive and constant
information of the parents.
The irreversible nature of some reconstructive surgery demands
consideration of the medical findings, in particular the prognostic, as well as
of the free choice of the parents and of the child, if it is able to express
Whatever therapeutic treatment options are chosen, a permanent
care is necessary to be able to evaluate the physical, sexual and psychological
consequences of the treatments.
With such complex medical questions, which entail multiple
lifelong consequences, the quality of the medical expertise and care, and of a
continuous dialogue are best suited to guarantee compliance with the rights of
the child. They must ensure to prevent any premature decisions and any action,
which later may be experienced as intolerable
Finally, regarding the question of sexual orientation and gender
identity, this is familiar problem in Europe, since it raises medical
questions, but also questions of fundamental rights.This question is
the matter of current activities within the strategy for the rights of the
child 2016-2021 and the "SOGI" unit of the Council of Europe, which is in
charge of questions regarding sexual orientation and gender
In France there is little information of this phenomenon available, so
we need to carry out extensive work to be able to understand it better and to
answer to it. That's why the National [Consultative] Ethics Committee
will be tasked, before a position on the topic can be taken. Thank
16:22h: Psychiatric institutions now on: isolation,
solitary confinement and use of restraints ...
16:15h: Senior police officers now answering questions
regarding police violence and excessive use of force and (fire) arms, injury
and deaths in custody, less lethal weapons, collateral damage, reports of
sexual abuse by soldiers in Central Africa (statutory rape of minors), training
on ethics, human rights, rules of engagement ...
16:01h: Now about training of security forces and medical
officers (in detention settings).
15:51h: Moving on to vulnerable asylum seekers, and the
"migrants in Calais".
15:46h: It's still about prisons, body and cavity searches,
disciplinary measures, access to psychiatric care ...
15:06h: The session started now after a short delay (due to
the French delegation failing to deliver their copies for the interpreters) and
live transmission is on! The first answers concern prisons.
14:46h: The French delegation just arrived, and today's
session with the much anticipated answers of France to the damning questions by
the Committee will start shortly. If everything works out, it will be transmitted live on
the web. Anyways we'll keep you posted here!
Session 1, Tue 19.04.2016, 10-13h
Ca. 11:15h: CAT chairperson and co-rapporteur for France,
Jens Modvig asked the French delegation about measures against
Intersex Genital Mutilations in France! YAY!!!
«In terms of intersex children the Committee knows that in France
doctors in public and private clinics regularly perform non-consensual Intersex
Genital Mutilation surgeries on intersex infants and children despite the fact
that Intersex Genital Mutilation has been found to cause severe pain and
Please inform the Committee whether counselling services and
psychological support are provided to intersex children and their
parents on an obligatory basis. Does the State Party intend to take any
measures to protect the rights of intersex infants and
Ca. 11:30h: Committee member Sapana
Pradhan-Malla referred to previous criticism by CAT and others
continued to ask if France has any plans to to ensure access to redress and
justice for IGM survivors! YAY!!!
«My third concern is, we have also received reports regarding the cruel
and inhuman treatment of persons with intersex variations in France who are
submitted to involuntary masculinising or feminising genital surgeries,
sterilising procedures, medical display, and unethical experimentation often
during the first years of their life.
Persons concerned witness that such treatments cause lifetime harm and
suffering, but such harmful practice is advocated by High Authority of Health
paid for by public health insurance and practiced in public university clinics
The Special Rapporteur on Torture as well as our Committee have made
many critiques of such practices in many countries and recommended to take all
appropriate measures to prevent such practice and also to ensure
And therefore we would like to know, Madame, if your delegation is aware
about such human rights violations in your country and if any legislative
measures are planned to prevent involuntary treatment and also if you are
trying to make any effort to ensure justice to such a human rights violation.
12:59h: Chairperson Jens Modvig concludes today's 1st
Session with France. The replies on intersex by the French delegation are due
tomorrow during the 2nd Session, Wed 20. April 15:00-18:00h. To be
Intersex Genital Mutilations in
France: 2016 UN-CAT
Violations Of Persons With Variations Of Sex Anatomy
IGM – Most Common
Forms • What is
Intersex? • How Common are
Download (PDF 3.71 MB)
"No law to protect intersex children from the daily mutilations in
UN Press Release on 57th CAT Session adresses IGM Practices in
French Government: IGM-Perpetrators "best suited" to
Minister Stalls & Diverts: France questioned over IGM by UN-CRC –
IGM = "Harmful Practice" + "Violence": UN-CRC Reprimands France
10 Verdicts by UN Treaty Bodies Condemning IGM – And Counting
UN Committee for the Rights of the Child (CRC) 2015: IGM = Harmful
UN Committee against Torture (CAT) 2015: IGM = Inhuman Treatment or
• UN Human Rights
Committee (HRCttee) to examine IGM Practices
• UN Committee on the
Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) condems IGM
Historic 56th Session of Committee against Torture reprimands 4 Governments
CAT 2011: Germany must investigate IGM practices and compensate
IGM as Torture or CIDT: 2015 UN-CAT
1. Personal Testimony – A Survivor's
2. IGM Practices as Torture or Cruel, Inhuman
Degrating Treatment (CIDT)
Download PDF (1.7 MB) >>>
Text only DOC
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 in Geneva 26.–27.10.2015
Download PDF (831kb)