CCPR 127nd Session @ Palais Wilson, Geneva 16.10.2019, 14:56h: Getting ready …
Left row, upper third (half hidden): Mr. Christopher Arif Bulkan who asked about IGM.
This week, the UN Human Rights Committee (HRCttee) as the Treaty body monitoring the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR) is examining the human rights record of Mexico during its 127nd Session in Geneva, transmitted LIVE on webtv.un.org!
A thematic intersex NGO report by Brújula Intersexual, Vivir y Ser Intersex and StopIGM.org proves that IGM continues in Mexico with impunity – despite a previous reprimand by CEDAW – and further documents lack of effective and sustainable action to protect all intersex children, which was also highlighted in the bilingual Joint Intersex NGO Oral Statement (PDF) during the private NGO meeting on 14.10.2019 (excerpt):
“The high poverty rate in Mexico produces a deficient health system which not everyone can access, so there are cases of intersex people who escaped IGM, but do not have access to necessary medical treatment. Additionally, some intersex children are denied birth certificates, preventing them from enrolling in school.
While some official agencies, including the Human Rights Commission of Mexico City (CDHDF) and the Ministry of Health have expressed interest in protecting intersex human rights, this interest has remained mostly one-off and inconsequential. Notably, the 2019 CDHDF Report to this Committee keeps silent about IGM, despite raising medical violence and referring to the CEDAW Concluding Observations.”
StopIGM.org is reporting LIVE from Geneva, hoping the Committee will ask tough questions on IGM practices in Mexico!
Session 1, Wed 16 October 2019, 15-18h CEST
15:58h (Video @ 0:59:20): YAY!! Committee expert Mr. Christopher Arif Bulkan raises “intersex genital mutilation”! Asks about steps undertaken to prohibit IGM, and guarantee access to adequate counselling and support! Unofficial Transcript:
“Regarding intersex genital mutilation, there are a lot of issues arising here, but given the time limitations, can you say whether Mexico intends to prohibit surgical or other medical treatment of intersex children or on intersex children, until they are old enough to give their free, prior and informed consent? And can you say whether mesures will be adopted that would provide adequate counselling and support to intersex children and their families?”
18:03h: Session closing … As the delegation didn’t answer yet on intersex, they will have tomorrow.
Session 2, Thu 17 October 2019, 10-13h CEST
10:10h (Video @ 0:06:55): Delegation member Mr. Diego Ruiz Gayol (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Permanent Mexican Mission in Geneva) non-answers on IGM, claims all surgery is done to “improve the health” of the mutilated children! Unofficial Translation (from original Spanish):
“With respect to intersex persons, we can point out that health institutions follow international protocols on the management of children with conditions of sexual differentiation, surgeries are performed only when they are justified by medical evidence, have the consent of the person or their parents or guardians and have the sole objective of improving health.”
10:37h: YAY!! Committee expert Ms. Hélène Tigroudja raises lack of access to birth certificates for intersex children, notes this can result that they can’t be enrolled in school, leading to multiple harm. Unofficial Transcript (of UN simultaneous translation from original French):
“Now the third obstacle has to do with a category of population that was already addressed by Mr. Bulkan, this the intersex children. According to information that we have here also there is a registration problem, because we don’t know in the end what sex to indicate at birth. And the dramatic consequence that raises from this is since there is no identity document, they’re not going to schools, and then it’s a double and triple victimisation for this sector.
So a very simple question: what are the statistics, the official statistic that the State could provide? We have numbers, but numbers that vary depending on the source, depending ont the CSO or NGO that provided this statistic. Also, are the measures taken to …”
10:58h: (Video @ 0:55:12): YAY!! Committee expert Mr. Christopher Arif Bulkan follows-up on intersex children and “intersex genital mutilation”! Refers to reports indicating IGM is pervasive and unchallenged, notes regulations are not binding, further notes lack of legislative protections, are there any plans to legislate, as the legal prohibition of torture is not applied to intersex children? Further raises lack of access to needed health care due to poverty or in rural communities, any plans and strategies? Unofficial Transcript:
“And finally, about follow-up, if I could ask you about the situation faced by intersex persons in Mexico, and again, thank you for your replies on this, but as some of the documents that I’ve seen talk about the intersex genital mutilation being both pervasive and unchallenged in Mexico, and perhaps one of the issues is the criteria that you mentioned seems not to be incorporated in legislation, so it’s not binding. Can you clarify this for me and to say whether if that’s so whether there is any plan to legislate these criteria?
What I’ve learned is that the legal prohibitions on torture for instance, while again, there might be progressive, they’re not applied to intersex children. And one last thing about intersex children is this question of accessing health care, so quite apart from medical and surgical procedures they often require a higher level of medical care and given the information around poverty and access to health care by persons in rural communities I wonder if there are any plans or strategies to role out these protections to those who might be outside of the capital. So thank you again for your replies on these issues.”
12:30h (Video @ 2:27:02): Delegation member Mr. Rafael Barcelo Durazo (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Subject: Deputy Director General for International Human Rights Policy, Secretary for Foreign Affairs)
insults the intersex community gives more non-answers on intersex children or “sexual differentiation diseases”, respectively. Claims NGOs would use wrong definition of intersex, as “sexual differentiation diseases” would “need proper treatment” to help them with their “sexual and reproductive health”, repeats claim “we don’t do unnecessary surgery”, insists it would be “corrective surgery”. Unofficial Translation (from original Spanish):
“In conclusion, in relation to the question raised by the expert Bulkan regarding the concern expressed by various civil society organisations about genital mutilation in intersex patients. It is important to point out that this concern is due to confusion in relation to the meaning of the word intersex, which has been used indistinctly to refer to people with different conditions of gender, sexual identity, sexual orientation or diseases of sexual differentiation.
Patients with sexual differentiation disorders, which are carriers of congenital alterations that cause the chromosomal, gonadal and anatomical sex to be discordant, should not be included under the term intersex state, which means that they require effective treatment to improve their health, preserve life, sexual and reproductive function.
In the health institutions of our country, unnecessary surgeries are not performed on intersex persons, and those performed on patients always follow the criteria of necessity, and are corrective to provide a function when justified by scientific evidence. Thank you very much.”
12:38h: Answer on birth certificates (but probably not re: intersex children as far as I heard, full transcript to follow.)
Treaty Body: Human Rights Committee (HRCttee-CCPR)
Convention: International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR)
Download Intersex NGO Report: PDF (636 kb)
Report by: Brújula Intersexual, Vivir y Ser Intersex, StopIGM.org
Next Steps in Review Cycle: Examination @ CCPR 127th Session, 16.-17.10.2019; Concl Obs due November
>>> Full Timeline Previous UN Reprimands: CEDAW (2018)
• “Harmful Medical Practice”: UN, COE, ACHPR, IACHR condem IGM
• 46 UN Reprimands for IGM – and counting …
• UN Committee for the Rights of the Child (CRC): IGM = Harmful Practice + Violence
• UN Committee against Torture (CAT): 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) condemns IGM Practices
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 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
>>> Download PDF (831kb)