The intersex human rights movement saw another historic milestone during the 48th session of the UN Human Rights Council: a cross-regional group of 53 States has called on countries to urgently protect intersex persons in their autonomy and right to health, and highlighted the “need for concrete measures to combat harmful practices, violence and discrimination based on sex characteristics.”
Civil society has made its voice heard during the debate, too: 81 intersex-led organisations from all regions of the world welcomed the States’ efforts, but urged them to do more. “Unless immediate action is taken and policies are implemented, severe human rights violations against intersex people will prevail and continue,” they said.
The image reproduces the intersex Pride flag, with a yellow background
and a double unbroken purple circle, and reads 'Take action for intersex persons' human rights'
Currently, 81 intersex-led groups from across the world have thrown their support behind a intersex civil society statement calling upon States, as a matter of urgency, to
“…end harmful practices and ban medically unnecessary surgeries, hormonal treatments, and other invasive or irreversible non-vital medical procedures without personal free, prior, full, and informed consent.”
Civil society organisations worldwide are reminding States of their obligation to
“… investigate, prosecute and provide remedy for acts of violence, including medical abuse, torture, and ill-treatment against intersex people, infants, children adolescents and adults, and those who defend their rights.”
Your organisation can affirm and support this statement, too!
Follow this link to read and sign on the statement.
There is growing support in international fora for the human rights of intersex persons.
For years, civil society has worked to make sure that States could listen to the voices of people with diverse sex characteristics and recognise the historic injustices that this population keeps facing every day.
Their tireless advocacy has prompted more and more States to speak up.
In 2019, the UN passed its first resolution on the rights of intersex persons, including women born with variations of sex characteristics in a document calling for an end to discrimination of women and girls in sports.
Then, in October 2020, 37 States took the lead and addressed intersex human rights violations - a first at the UN Human Rights Council,. In July 2021, the same forum saw the African Group of States using unequivocal words to assert that “segregating women on the basis of intersex variations had the same effect as apartheid,” and calling for an end of this practice in the field of sports.
Civil society has welcomed the recent initiatives by States, but are encouraging them to do more.
"States need to take strong and urgent action to uphold their obligation to ensure that intersex people live free from all types of violence and harmful practices, including in medical settings. Irreversible medical interventions (such as genital surgeries, hormonal interventions, and medical procedures intended to modify the sex characteristics of infants and children without their full, prior, and informed consent) continue to be the rule - not the exception - in the majority of UN member States.”
“Unless immediate action is taken, severe human rights violations against intersex people will prevail and continue. This Council needs to send a strong message that such practices are in violation of international human rights norms, and must not be tolerated”.
Take action and sign on the civil society statement!
To date, 81 intersex-led organisations worldwide have affirmed and supported this statement.
Follow this link to access the full list of signatories.