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UN-CRPD Criticises Intersex Genital Mutilations, Calls for Legal Provisions to Provide Redress to Survivors

Ana Peláez Narváez asks Germany questions on IGM and castrations, Geneva 26.03.2015

'STOP Intersex Genital Mutilation!' - UNHRC Geneva 20.10.2012

Zwischengeschlecht.org on FacebookHip, hip! On occasion of their 13th session, the UN-Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) published Concluding Recommendations on Intersex for the 1st time ever, explicitly criticising Germany for allowing IGM Practices to continue unhindered (>>> DOC --> p. 6–7, paras 37-38), after having questioned the state delegation on this topic in Geneva earlier (see below).

This success is the result of German Intersex Groups and allies participating in the UN human rights mechanism of the initial review of Germany under the Convention on the Rights of People With Disabilities (CRPD):

  • Intersexuelle Menschen e.V. participating in the 2013 Collective NGO Report facilitated by CRPD Alliance (>>> PDF --> p. 36–37),
  • plus a  2014 NHRI Report by the German Institute for Human Rights, a National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) and the official German CRPD Monitoring Body (>>> PDF --> p. 6),

leading to the Committee asking Germany questions on Intersex and IGM Practices in their 2014 List of Issues (LoI) (>>> as reported on this blog), as well as to (evasive) answers by the German Gov (>>> same report --> Update).

Germany's clearly less than satisfactory answers were then criticised again by NGOs and the NHRI for the session

  • in a 34-page 2015 Thematic Intersex NGO Report by Zwischengeschlecht.org/StopIGM.org (>>> PDF | HTML | DOC | DOCX),
  • in a 2015 Collective NGO Follow-Up Report facilitated by CRPD Alliance, again with participation of Intersexuelle Menschen e.V. (>>> DOC --> p. 10–11),
  • and in a 2015 NHRI Follow-Up Report by the German Institute for Human Rights (>>> PDF --> p. 15).

In addition, there was a Intersex Side Event in Geneva prior to the session, with participation of Zwischengeschlecht.org/Stop IGM.org, OII Germany and OII Australia, co-facilitated by GATE. Zwischengeschlecht.org and OII Germany also contributed short statements during the NGO briefing on Germany just before the session, with Daniela Truffer (Zwischengeschlecht.org) once more being the only survivor of IGM giving firsthand testimony on the consequences of IGM practices, as well as providing practical, referenced examples of past and present examples of IGM and other gross human rights violations of intersex people in Germany.

Diane Kinston mentions intersex in her opening statement on Germany, Geneva 26.03.2015

During the 13th CRPD Session, on 26 March 2015, intersex was mentioned by CRPD Country Rapporteur for Germany Diane Kingston in her introduction; and CRPD member Ana Peláez Narváez asked the German State Party explicit questions regarding genital mutilations and castrations of intersex children, also referring to the review of Germany under CEDAW during their 43th session in 2009 (the first time ever that intersex NGOs particpated in a human rights mechanism, and also the very first time a UN Committee criticised a country regarding human rights violations of intersex people in Concluding Observations).

In their reply, the State Party once again longwindedly claimed everything would be different now, and in fact intersex people would rather the committee would't get active, and therefore legislation wouldn't be necessary, preferring an "individualised" medical approach (as called for by IGM doctors, too). As per usual, videos of the whole session are available online via treatybodywebcast.org >>> english audio + sign language | german audio + video of speakers.

Fortunately, the Committee didn't allow the state party to pull the wool over their eyes. Instead, in their Concluding Observations (>>> DOC --> p. 6–7, paras 37-38), for the first time CRPD explicitly criticised IGM Practices as well as the lack of legal provisions for access to redress for survivors, referring to the UN Committee against Torture (CAT)'s 2011 recommendations for Germany.

As reported on this blog, the binding 2011 CAT recommendations for Germany (CAT/C/DEU/CO/5 >>> PDF, p. 6–7, para 20) referred to by CRPD include a call for the state party to:

"Undertake investigation of incidents of surgical and other medical treatment of  intersex people without effective consent and adopt legal provisions in order to provide redress to the victims of such treatment, including adequate compensation".

The following are the binding 2015 recommendations for Germany regarding intersex by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities:
(CRPD/C/DEU/CO/1 >>> DOC --> p. 6–7, paras 37-38)

Protecting the integrity of the person (art. 17)

37. The Committee is concerned about: [...] c) the lack of implementation of the 2011 recommendations CAT/C/DEU/CO/5, para. 20, regarding upholding bodily integrity of intersex children.

38. The Committee recommends that the State party take the necessary measures, including of a legislative nature to: 

[...]

(d) Implement all the recommendations of CAT/C/DEU/CO/5, para. 20 relevant to intersex children.

On behalf of our German constituency and supporters, Zwischengeschlecht.org/StopIGM.org warmly thanks the Committe for these recommendations! While many had hoped for additional recommendations also on the topic of lack of data collection and monitoring, especially considering the German gov's long history of empty promisies and ongoing refusal to do so, as well as on the current denial of needed healt care for persons with CAH with salt loss, these recommendation is an important first step and will greatly help increasing the pressure on German perpetrators of IGM practices and IGM-friendly politicians.

'Human Rights For Hermaphrodites, Too!' - 2015 CRPD NGO Report

Intersex Genital Mutilations: 2015 CRPD NGO Report
Documents ongoing Human Rights Violations in Germany under CRPD
 What is Intersex? • How Common are IGM-Practices?
 No Law to Prevent IGM  No Data Collection & Statistics
 No Access to Justice & Redress  Denial of Needed Health Care
>>> Download PDF (3.65 MB)    >>> HTML    >>> DOC | DOCX