CEDAW67 Italy > Major Setback for Intersex Human Rights at UN :-(

Zwischengeschlecht.org on Facebook Since 2011, intersex human rights at the UN and particularly intersex and IGM survivors NGOs participating in UN Treaty body human rights mechanisms have been a ground-breaking success story.

So far, the UN Committees CRC, CAT, CRPD, CEDAW, and the HRCttee have issued 26 reprimands for Intersex Genital Mutilations to 16 complicit States, unmistakably condemning IGM as genital mutilation and a hamful practice, as cruel and inhuman treatment or torture, as a violation of the integrity of the person, as institutionalised violence and as unlawful human experimentation, calling for legislation to criminalise IGM and guarantee access to redress for victims.

What’s more, UN Treaty bodies recognising the severe pain and suffering of IGM survivors and consistently reprimanding complicit states have in turn greatly increased public awareness of intersex human rights, and led to numerous positive statements by different international and national bodies and organisations.

However, after 2 1/2 particularly good years for intersex human rights with almost monthly new reprimands, now everything seems coming to a screeching halt

Intersex human rights at the UN under attack!  

“These days my most pressing concern is how our pain and suffering is constantly used as a means to an end for LGBT and gender politics, and how such misrepresentations seem to increasingly gain traction also at the UN.”
–  Daniela Truffer, CAT61 Informal Statement 26.07.2017


  • in UN Press releases and Summary records, intersex and IGM are inceasingly misrepresented as trans, LGBT and discrimination issues, for example IGM as “sex alignment surgeries”, IGM survivors as “transsexual children”, and intersex NGOs as “a group of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender and intersex victims of discrimination and violence”
  • the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) during its last session did NO LONGER raise intersex and IGM under “harmful practices”, but only under “health-care”
  • also in the latest Concluding observations (see below), CEDAW did NO LONGER raise intersex and IGM under “harmful practices”, but instead only issued recommendations regarding “health-care”, proposing ‘self-regulation’ of IGM by the current perpetrators including the Ministry of Health and health-care providers developing a “health-care protocol for intersex children”but NO LONGER calling for legislation to eliminate IGM and to ensure access to redress and justice for IGM survivors like in previous recommendations!

This is a major setback for intersex human rights at the UN,

fueled not only by the constant denial and pinkwashing of IGM by State parties, but also by often big-money LGBT NGOs and agencies including ILGA, Amnesty London, EU-FRA, UNFE New York – and countless others – constantly misrepresenting intersex and IGM as “LGBT”, “discrimination” and “health-care” issues, while conveniently failing to recognise that intersex and IGM first and foremost constitute genital mutilation, a harmful practice, cruel and inhuman treatment, and other serious violations of non-derogable human rights, and MUST be addressed accordingly.

Also beyond the latest CEDAW Concluding observations (see below), this is a serious threat to intersex human rights, which may rather sooner than later spell their very end not only at the UN.

This is a wake-up call!

If intersex and IGM are no longer reognised by UN Treaty bodies as cruel and inhuman treatment, harmful practice, institutionalised violence, etc., this will have serious and far-reaching consequences for all intersex people everywhere – and in particular for intersex children at risk of being submitted to IGM.

So, if you care about intersex human rights, and if you don’t want intersex children to continue to be mutilated every day, stop looking the other way when voices of IGM survivors are misrepresented or drowned out, and the pain and suffering of IGM survivors is used for third party interests. Thank you!

CEDAW67: Intersex (Non-)Recommendations for Italy

StopIGM.org regrets that the Committee, after having issued 5 Concluding observations on intersex and IGM under “harmful practices” to France, Switzerland, Netherlands, Germany, and Ireland, in its latest recommendations to Italy now considers non-consensual, unnecessary genital surgeries on intersex children as a “health issue” instead. We maintain that Intersex Genital Mutilations are NOT “health-care” or “different opinions”, and hope that in the future the Committee will again consider intersex and IGM under art. 5 “harmful practices”.

>>> CEDAW/C/ITA/CO/7, on intersex: paras 41 (e) + 42 (e), p. 13 (PDF) 


41.    The Committee is concerned about:


         (e)    The fact that intersex children are subjected to irreversible surgery for intersex variation and other medical treatments without their free and informed consent.

42.    The Committee, recalling its general recommendation No. 24 (1999) on women and health, recommends that the State party:


         (e)    Develop and implement a rights-based health-care protocol for intersex children, ensuring that children and their parents are appropriately informed of all options; that children are involved, to the greatest extent possible, in decision-making about medical interventions and that their choices are respected; and that no child is subjected to unnecessary surgery or treatment.”


IGM Practices in Italy: 2017 CEDAW Report
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Sex Anatomy
IGM in Italy• Complicity of the State  Harmful Practice
>>> Download as PDF (650 kb)

>>> CEDAW Timeline Italy 2017
>> CEDAW67 > Claudia Balsamo’s Testimony to Intersex Genital Mutilation in Italy
CEDAW67 UN Press Release on NGO Briefing english | français
>>> VIDEO + TRANSCRIPT: Italy Questioned over IGM by CEDAW – Gov Denies

>>> CRPD18 > Misappropriation of Intersex Funding by LGBT Groups

See also:
26 UN Reprimands for IGM – and counting …
“Harmful Medical Practice”: UN, COE, ACHPR, IACHR condemn IGM
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) condemns IGM
56th Session of Committee against Torture reprimands 4 Governments for IGM
CAT 2011: Germany must investigate IGM practices and compensate survivors!

Zwischengeschlecht.org on Facebook

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

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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)

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