Intersex Genital Mutilations = "Harmful Practice": UN-CRC reprimands South Africa + New Zealand!
Photo: UNHRC UPR #14, Geneva 20.10.2012
Press Release by StopIGM.org, 07.10.2016:
Today, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) published the “Concluding Observations” of its 73rd Session.
Therein, the Committee again recognised Intersex Genital Mutilations
as a “harmful practice", and issued strong binding
recommendations obliging both South Africa and
New Zealand to “guarantee [...] bodily integrity, autonomy
and self-determination of all children, including intersex children”, and
to “adopt legal provisions to provide redress to victims of such treatment,
including adequate compensation”:
South Africa: CRC/C/ZAF/CO/2 (PDF) --> paras 37–38, p. 10 | Transcript Session Q&A
New Zealand: CRC/C/NZL/CO/5 (PDF) --> paras 25 + 15, p. 8 + 4–5 | Transcript Session
StopIGM.org warmly welcomes these clear verdicts,
• 8 reprimands for IGM practices by CRC
• 18 UN reprimands for IGM so far
• now 13 countries reprimanded in Europe, South America, Asia, Oceania and Africa.
In collaboration with local intersex human rights defenders and their
organisations, we will continue to denounce the ongoing practice in
ever more countries to relevant human rights bodies, including CRC,
Committee against Torture (CAT), the Human Rights Committee
Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and
the Committee on the
Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
States as contracting parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other applicable Covenants including CAT, CRPD, CEDAW and CCPR can no longer feign ignorance of the illegal nature of IGM practices, but now must take all appropriate measures including legislation to eliminate them, and to guarantee access to effective redress and justice for all survivors!
The binding CRC recommendations on intersex for South Africa:
“E. Violence against children (arts. 19, 24 (3), 28 (2), 34, 37 (a) and 39)
37. The Committee is concerned at the high prevalence of harmful practices in the State party, including child and forced marriage, virginity testing, witchcraft, female genital mutilation, polygamy, violent or harmful initiation rites, and intersex genital mutilation.
The Committee is further concerned that, although the practice of ukuthwala involving children is considered as an ‘abuse of ukuthuwala’ and is a crime, as the State party noted during the dialogue, this practice still exists.
38. In the light of its general comment No. 18 on harmful practices (2014), adopted jointly with the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the Committee urges the State party to:
(a) En sure that the State party’s legislation prohibits all forms of harmful practices used on children in the State party, including through, among others, criminalizing the practice of child and forced marriage and regulation of initiation schools;
(b) Develop and adopt a national action plan to effectively eliminate such practices;
(c) Ensure meaningful participation of all stakeholders, including children affected or at risk of harmful practices and their communities in developing, adopting, implementing and monitoring of relevant laws and policies;
(d) Guarantee bodily integrity, autonomy and self-determination of all children, including intersex children, by avoiding unnecessary medical or surgical treatment during infancy or childhood;
(e) Build capacity of all professional groups working for and with children to prevent, identify and respond to incidents of harmful practices and to eliminate customary practices and rituals which are harmful to children;
(f) Ensure sanctions on perpetrators of harmful practices, including perpetrators of the abuse of ukuthwala, and provide effective remedies to the victims of harmful practices.”
The binding CRC recommendations on intersex for New Zealand:
“E. Violence against children (arts. 19, 24 (3), 28 (2), 34, 37 (a) and 39)
25. The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Develop awareness-raising campaigns and programmes targeting households, local authorities, religious leaders and judges and prosecutors, on the harmful effects of early marriage on the physical and mental health and well-being of children, especially girls.
(b) Develop and implement a child rights-based health care protocol for intersex children, setting the procedures and steps to be followed by health teams, ensuring that no one is subjected to unnecessary medical or surgical treatment during infancy or childhood, guaranteeing the rights of children to bodily integrity, autonomy and self-determination, and provide families with intersex children with adequate counselling and support;
(c) Promptly investigate incidents of surgical and other medical treatment of intersex children without informed consent and adopt legal provisions to provide redress to victims of such treatment, including adequate compensation;
(d) Educate and train medical and psychological professionals on the range of biological and physical sexual diversity and on the consequences of unnecessary surgical and other medical interventions on intersex children;
(e) Extend free access to surgical interventions and medical treatment related to their intersex condition to intersex children between the age of 16 and 18.
C. General principles (arts. 2, 3, 6 and 12)
15. The Committee recalls its previous recommendation (CRC/C/NZL/CO/3-4, para. 25) and recommends that the State party ensure full protection against discrimination on any ground, including by:
(a) Taking urgent measures to address disparities in access to education, health services and a minimum standard of living by Maori and Pasifika children and their families;
(b) Strengthening its measures to combat negative attitudes among the public as well as other preventive activities against discrimination and, if necessary, taking affirmative action for the benefit of children in vulnerable situations, such as Maori and Pasifika children, children belonging to ethnic minorities, refugee children, migrant children, children with disabilities, lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender and intersex children and children living with persons from these groups;
(c) Taking all measures necessary to ensure that all cases of discrimination against children are addressed effectively, including with disciplinary, administrative or – if necessary – penal sanctions.”
The international intersex human rights NGO StopIGM.org demands the prohibition of forced genital surgeries on children and adolescents with Variations of Sex Anatomy and “Human Rights for Hermaphrodites too!”
Persons concerned shall later decide themselves, if they want surgeries or not, and if yes, which.
Daniela "Nella" Truffer, Markus Bauer
Founding members human rights NGO Zwischengeschlecht.org / StopIGM.org
Mobile +41 (0) 76 398 06 50
Mobile +41 (0) 78 829 12 60
• 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!
Intersex Genital Mutilations • 17 Most Common
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
• 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
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