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Mexico-AU-NZ-LI: UN Condemns Intersex Genital Mutilation #CEDAW70

[ E s p a ñ o l ]

On the way to the CEDAW70 examination of Mexico: Place des Nations, Geneva 06.07.2018

IGM = CRIME, Not 'Health Care' or 'Therapy'!Zwischengeschlecht.org on FacebookMonday 23.07.2018 has been a particularly good day for intersex human rightsliterally around the globe! On this day the 70th Session of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) unmistakably and publicly condemned intersex genital mutilation and lack of adequate support for intersex children and their families as serious human rights violations in no less than four countries in South America, Oceania and Europe – namely Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and Liechtenstein! YAY!!!!

We welcome these clear verdicts, marking
  •
the 1st UN reprimand for IGM for both Mexico and Liechtenstein
  the 2nd UN reprimand for IGM for both Australia and New Zealand
 
the 1st ever UN reprimand for extraterritorial violations connected to IGM
  •
the 8th-11th reprimand for IGM by UN CEDAW
  •
in total 36 UN Treaty body reprimands for IGM so far 
  •
now 22 states reprimanded in Europe, South America, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

StopIGM.org together with Brújula Intersexual and Vivir y Ser Intersex in collaboration with Adiòs Al Futuro and Intersex y Andrógino submitted an extensive Intersex NGO report for Mexico demonstrating the ongoing practice and the complicity of the State party's public health system, as well as further Intersex NGO reports for New Zealand and Liechtenstein by StopIGM.org highlighting extraterritorial violations, and briefed Committee members on all countries in public and private hearings and/or personal communications. Intersex Human Rights Australia (IHRA) submitted an Intersex NGO report for Australia.

Analysis: IGM = Crime, NOT “Health Care”

These latest binding recommendations on intersex and IGM first published on 23.07.2018 by the UN Women's Rights Committee (CEDAW) strongly re-affirm the non-derogable obligations of State parties on all continents and in all regions to

  • “Adopt necessary provisions explicitly prohibiting the performance of unnecessary surgical or other medical treatment on intersex children until they reach an age when they can give their free, prior and informed consent” 
  • “provide families of intersex children with adequate counselling and support”
  • “provide redress to intersex persons having undergone medical treatment” 

This is a timely reminder that – unlike “clear legislative provisions explicitly prohibiting” IGM – mere “self-regulation” by the current perpetrators (i.e. doctors, medical bodies and Ministries of Health)  a.k.a. “new Health Care Protocols” won't stop IGM nor end the impunity of IGM practitioners and accessories, as such protocols constitute only “limited provisions” and in no way “effective” means to prevent further pain and suffering caused by IGM and the lack of adequate support.

We particularly welcome that CEDAW70 overwhelmingly recognised IGM and the lack of adequate support for intersex people and families to constitute “harmful practices” according to the Convention (just like e.g. FGM, forced marriage or “honour killings”), namely in the case of Mexico, Australia and New Zealand, explicitly referring to CEDAW art. 5(a) and the CEDAW-CRC Joint General Recommendation No. 31/18 on harmful practices. And that the Committee explicitly criticised “lack of effective remedies” and lack of access to “redress” for IGM survivors in Mexico, Australia and New Zealand, and for these countries further explicitly stipulated to “provide families of intersex children with adequate counselling and support”.

While we deeply regret that in the case of the Concluding Observations for Liechtenstein the Committee referred not to CEDAW art. 5 (stereotypes and harmful practices) but to art. 12 (health), we recognise that CEDAW nonetheless obliged all countries – including Liechtenstein! – to “specifically prohibit” IGM practices a.k.a. non-consensual unnecessary genital surgery and other procedures on intersex children. (Though we really wish the Committee hadn't again in the case of Liechtenstein wrongly referred to IGM practices as “sex reassignment surgery”, as this is seriously misleading (PDF, p. 8-9)).

And we particularly welcome that in the case of Liechtenstein the Committee for the first time reprimanded a State party for extraterritorial violations connected to IGM (as the small country of Liechtenstein sends its intersex children to specialised contractual clinics in neighbouring states to be submitted to IGM, namely to Switzerland and Austria, see NGO Report (PDF), p. 10-14), and that CEDAW70 further raised extraterritorial violations during its examination of New Zealand in Geneva, as also New Zealand is sending intersex children abroad for IGM, namely to RCH Melbourne in Australia (see NGO Report (PDF), p. 10-13). Further known countries involved in extraterritorial violations connected to IGM include Luxembourg sending children to Belgium, as well as Ireland to the UK – and Malta to both.
      

CEDAW70: All Intersex Recommendations + Reports

1.  Mexico: Binding CEDAW70 Intersex Recommendations
>>> Download Concl Obs:
CEDAW/C/MEX/CO/9, 20 July 2018, para 21 – 22
>>> IGM in Mexico: Intersex NGO Report (PDF) | Summary (PDF)
>>> Testimony:
IGM State-sponsored - Gov Fails to Act

Harmful practices

21.    The Committee notes with concern:

The limited provisions prohibiting unnecessary medical procedures on intersex children and the inadequate support and lack of effective remedies for intersex persons, who have undergone medically unnecessary surgical procedures.

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

(a)    Adopt necessary provisions explicitly prohibiting the performance of unnecessary surgical or other medical treatment on intersex children until they reach an age when they can give their free, prior and informed consent; and provide families of intersex children with adequate counselling and support.
        

2.  Australia: Binding CEDAW70 Intersex Recommendations
>>> Download Concl Obs:
CEDAW/C/AUS/CO/8, 20 July 2018, paras 25(c) – 26(c)
>>> IGM in Australia: Intersex NGO Report (PDF) 

Harmful practices

25.    The Committee takes note of the State party’s commitment to provide women who are victims of forced marriage with support, regardless of their cooperation with the prosecution authorities. It is concerned, however, at:

[…]

(c)    The conduct of medically unnecessary procedures on intersex infants and children before they reach an age when they are able to provide their free, prior and informed consent, and at inadequate support and counselling for families with intersex children and remedies for victims;

[…]

26.    Recalling the 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, the Committee recommends that the State party ensure adequate protection and support to victims of forced marriage regardless of their collaboration with the prosecution authorities, and:

[…]

(c)    Adopt clear legislative provisions explicitly prohibiting the performance of unnecessary surgical or other medical treatment on intersex children before they reach the legal age of consent, implement the recommendations of the 2013 Senate inquiry on involuntary or coerced sterilisation of intersex persons, provide families with intersex children with adequate counselling and support, and provide redress to intersex persons having undergone medical treatment;

[...]
  

3.  New Zealand: Binding CEDAW70 Intersex Recommendations
>>> Download Concl Obs:
CEDAW/C/NZL/CO/8, 20 July 2018, paras 23(c) – 24(c)
>>> IGM in New Zealand: Intersex NGO Report (PDF) | Summary (PDF)
>>> Gov Lies + Denies:
TRANSCRIPT + VIDEO of Intersex Q&A in Geneva, 12.07.2018

Discriminatory stereotypes and harmful practices

23.    While noting the efforts made by the State party to eliminate negative stereotypes affecting women, the Committee expresses concerns at:

[…]

(c)        The conduct of medically unnecessary procedures on intersex infants and children before they reach an age when they are able to provide their free, prior and informed consent, and at inadequate support and counselling for families with intersex children and remedies for victims.

24.    The Committee recommends that the State party […]

[…]

(c)        Adopt clear legislative provisions explicitly prohibiting the performance of unnecessary surgical or other medical treatment on intersex children before they reach the legal age of consent, provide families with intersex children with adequate counselling and support, and provide redress to intersex persons having undergone medical treatment.
    

4.  Liechtenstein: Binding CEDAW70 Intersex Recommendations
>>> Download Concl Obs:
CEDAW/C/LIE/CO/5, 20 July 2018, paras 35 + 36(c)
>>> IGM in Liechtenstein: Intersex NGO Report (PDF) 
>>> Testimony:
Extraterritorial Violations (PDF) | UN Web TV (44'45'')

[...]

35.    […] The Committee is further concerned about the performance of medically irreversible sex reassignment surgery on intersex persons from Liechtenstein in neighbouring countries at its request. […]

36.    The State party should:

[…]

(c)    Specifically prohibit non-consensual sex reassignment surgery on intersex persons and develop and implement a rights-based health-care protocol for intersex children that requires their informed consent about the performance of medically irreversible sex reassignment surgery;

[…]    

>>> Intersex human rights at the UN are under attack!!!

See also:
“Harmful Medical Practice”: UN, COE, ACHPR, IACHR condemn IGM
36 UN Reprimands for IGM – and counting ...

Zwischengeschlecht.org on Facebook

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 are IGMs?
>>> Download PDF (3.65 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

Zwischengeschlecht.org on Facebook

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 is a Harmful Practice
>>> Download PDF (3.14 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

Zwischengeschlecht.org 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

>>> Download PDF (831kb)