STOP Intersex Genital Mutilations in Children's Clinics!

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CEDAW65 > NGO Briefing and Committee Questions on Intersex Genital Mutilations in Switzerland on FacebookAt the 65th Session of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), before Switzerland was questioned over Intersex Genital Mutilations, NGOs had the possibility to brief CEDAW, and Committee experts to ask questions (>>> archived podcast of the entire briefing).

Read below the 2-minutes oral statement (PDF) by Daniela Truffer on behalf of, and the ensuing Q&A:

Daniela Truffer ( (@ 22 min):

“Thank you, Madame Chair.

I was born 1965 in Switzerland, with so called “ambiguous” genitalia. The doctors couldn‘t tell if I was a girl or a boy.

First they cut me open between my legs to see if they find a vagina.

At two months they opened my abdomen and found healthy testes, which they threw in the garbage bin, without telling my parents.

At seven they cut my genital to make me look more like a girl, allegedly with my consent.

Today they probably would make a boy out of me, by even more surgeries.

The doctors always lied to me and my parents. I spent my life in fear, pain and shame. I couldn't talk to anybody. Only at 35 I discovered that I am not alone and that there are self-help groups.

As substantiated in our NGO report [1], in Switzerland all forms of Intersex Genital Mutilations are still regularly perpetrated with impunity in public University and Cantonal Children’s Clinics, and paid for by the Swiss federal Disability Insurance. On the other hand, adequate psychosocial support is still not available.

IGM practices in Switzerland have been considered by both CRC [2] and CAT [3] as “ill-treatment” and “harmful practice”, referring to the CEDAW-CRC Joint general recommendation.

And during the previous session, also this Committee [4] considered IGM as a “harmful practice”. [5]

To this day, in Switzerland there is no law to protect intersex children from these practices. The Swiss Government still refuses to acknowledge that this is an ongoing human rights issue, but claims this happened only “in the past”. [6]

We therefore hope that the Committee will ask the Swiss delegation tough questions on IGM, and will sternly remind Switzerland of its obligations under the Convention and the CEDAW-CRC Joint general recommendation.

Thank you.”

[2] CRC/C/CHE/CO/2-4, paras. 42-43
[3] CAT/C/CHE/CO/7, para. 20
[4] CEDAW/C/FRA/CO/7-8, paras. 17e-f + 18e-f
[5] See also UN-COE-ACHPR-IACHR Joint Statement for Intersex Awareness Day 2016, “End violence and harmful medical practices on intersex children and adults”:

Lilian Hofmeister (CEDAW) (@ 50 min):

"Thank you very much, Madame Chair. I have a questions to the NGOs of Switzerland concerning IGM. How are babies treated by the medical staff in Switzerland, and what is the role of their parents? Thank you."

Daniela Truffer ( (@ 60 min):

“Thank you. An intersex child in Switzerland is still regarded as having a medical issue and being disordered, and then parents are put under pressure to perform cosmetic surgery.

The rationale of the doctors is that else the child will suffer psychologically, have psychological problems, and may be teased in school. Parents are so pressured to consent to unnecessary surgery despite that this violates the rights of the child to physical integrity and self-determination.

Doctors argue that it's parents who want the surgery, but I am in contact with parents that tell otherwise. Actually, three days ago a mother I know called me on the phone and said that the doctors, she and her husband don't want a surgery, but the doctors say that if you don't [do] surgery on your child, he will have psychological problems, and in this case it was about hypospadias, that a boy has to be able to pee standing, otherwise he will be unhappy. And at the same time doctors admit in the media that they continue to do surgeries, and like I said before, but it's the parents, who want the surgery, they say, but it's not true.”

>>> CEDAW65: Switzerland questioned over Intersex Genital Mutilatons
>>> UN Press Release Highlights Intersex Genital Mutilations in Switzerland


IGM Practices in Switzerland: 2016 CEDAW Report
Human Rights Violations Of Persons With Variations Of Sex Anatomy
IGM in Switzerland  Complicity of the State  Harmful Practice
>>> Download as PDF (288 kb)

See also:
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) to examine IGM Practices
CAT 2011: Germany must investigate IGM practices and compensate survivors!

IGM as a Harmful Practice: 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 as a Harmful Practice
>>> Download PDF (3.14 MB)     >>> Table of Contents on Facebook

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)