STOP Intersex Genital Mutilations in Children's Clinics!

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2016 > Switzerland > Prohibition of IGM in Both Houses on Agenda

Photo: Nonviolent Intersex Protest + Open Letter on Human Rights Day, Berne 10.12.2015

Heidi Walcutt (1997): 'STOP Intersex Genital Mutilation' on FacebookChristmas present for the Intersex Movement from the Swiss Capital of Berne! On Human Rights Day, we distributed an Open Letter (PDF, in German) and a flyer with additional info outside parliament, which we both also handed in or mailed to all members of the Swiss government, the presidents of both chambers of parliament, all parties and their youth organisations, and which we also emailed to every member of both houses.

The Open Letter reminded of the lack of follow-up on the 2012 recommendations by the Swiss National Ethics Commission NEK-CNE and the recent rebukes of Switzerland by the UN Committee of the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the UN Committee against Torture (CAT), and amongst other things called for legislation against Intersex Genital Mutilations including scrapping or prolonging the statutes of limitations, free access to psychosocial support including peer support for all persons concerned and their families, and public acknowledgement of the suffering inflicted on survivors.

Just before Chrismas we received a first answer by the Secretariat of the Legal Committees (PDF --> p. 3, in German) dated 22 December, informing us that the Open Letter has been considered as a petition and forwarded to the Legal Committees of both Houses of Parliament, where it will be discussed in public proceedings, which "according to experience will take some time." Therefore, a legal prohibition of IGM practices is now on the agenda in both houses! / warmly welcomes this move – and intends to use this time for further upping the pressure. Already we're in contact with members of parliament, and currently also the UN Human Rights Committee (HRCttee) is investigating IGM practices in Switzerland. And in the near future Switzerland will be coming up for more state reviews e.g. by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

UPDATE 2017:

Based on counterfactual claims by the Federal government (alleging that IGM would be strictly a “thing of the past” and all NEK-CNE recommendations “implemented or in the process of being implemented”), the Legal Affairs Committees both of the Council of States (LAC-S, 23.01.2017) and the National Council (LAC-N, 06.04.2017), while conceding that “premature unnecessary” genital surgery “constitutes a violation of the right to physical integrity”, alleged the existing legislation would be “sufficient” to protect intersex children, and there would be “no further need for legislation”, with LAC-N further claiming, “We believe medical professionals are nowadays sufficiently sensitised to the issue and only undertake such interventions when they are justified.” 

Both LAC-N and LAC-S then moved to reject legislation as recommended by CAT, CRC, CEDAW and NEK-CNE, with both the Council of the State (16.03.2017) and the National Council (16.06.2017) following suit.

  For sources, see 2017 CAT Switzerland LOIPR NGO Report (PDF), p. 8
  CAT Timeline Switzerland

See also:
UN Committee for the Rights of the Child (CRC) 2015: IGM = Harmful Practice
UN Committee against Torture (CAT) 2015: IGM = Inhuman Treatment or Torture
UN Human Rights Committee (HRCttee) to examine IGM Practices
UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) condems IGM
CAT 2011: Germany must investigate IGM practices and compensate survivors!  

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

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

Eliminating IGM practices by making 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)