IGM Practices: “Only Fear of the Judge Will Make My Collegues Change,” Says Swiss Paediatric Surgeon

On occasion of the criticism of IMG Pactices by the UN Committee against Torture, the Swiss french language newspapers >>> “Tribune de Genéve” and >>> “24 heures” featured a great and prominent article by Caroline Zuercher (online 02.08.2015, print 03.08.2016 on p. 5 respectively 6).

In it, Daniela “Nella” Truffer (StopIGM.org / Zwischengeschlecht.org) once more bears testimony on the gross human rights violations perpretrated on intersex children, and calls for legislative action.

Also the Swiss paediatric surgeon Blaise Meyrat (University Clinic Lausanne) talks straight – on IGM Practices in general, and the urgent need for prolonging the statutes of limitations in particular.

This blog says many thanks!

An english translation of the ground-breaking statement by Blaise Meyrat after the scan:

The Fear of the Judge

«I advocate not to do it, but such interventions persist in Switzerland,» regrets Dr Blaise Meyrat, padiatric surgeon at CHUV Lausanne [University Clinic].

«Things hardly evolve in the medical sphere.» According to Meyrat, this reluctance can be explained by «a fear of admitting to have erred.»

«In my opinion, only the fear of the judge will make things change,» he continues. «We need statutes of limitation long enough so that victims may sue as adults.»

He admits, if the statutes of limitations were adapted, he himself could be pursued through the courts by persons concerned. «Back then, I believed I did the right thing by operating on these children» he sighs. «Also, we didn’t have all the scientific literature available today … Medicine has been exremely violent against these people.»

Since 1993, he doesn’t practice gender-assigning surgery on children anymore. «I’ve been thinking about it for quite a while» he recalls. «For me, it’s a question of ethics, but my public interventions have triggered violent reactions by my collegues. Today, doctors can’t claim they didn’t know it anymore.»

>>> Fulltext online (in french): “Tribune de Genéve” | “24 heures”

>>> Geneva 2015: UN Committee against Torture (CAT) criticises IGM Practices

>>> CAT 2011: Germany should investigate IGM Practices and compensate survivors!

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

LIVE: Geneva > UN Committee against Torture criticises IGM Practices during 55th Session – Switzerland: “Measures” this year – or 2016?

CAT member Sapana Pradhan-Malla asking questions re: Intersex + IGM, Geneva 3.8.2015

STOP Intersex Genital Mutilation!Zwischengeschlecht.org on FacebookStopIGM.org reporting live from the 55th Session of the UN Committee against Torture (CAT): 7th Periodic review of Switzerland, Mon 3 Aug from 10am, and Tue 4 Aug from 3pm!

A word transcript will follow, after the video recordings become available via http://www.treatybodywebcast.org/category/webcast-archives/cat/.

Session 2: Tuesday 4 August 2015

Tue 17:45Follow-up answer on intersex, again by by Mr. Alexis Schmocker, lawyer at the Federal Office of Justice, Directorate of Penal Law and Recourse (DJP), offering some new details, but nothing substantially new.

Tue 17:26 – After a short break, the Swiss delegation now continues with their answers and comments, starting again with the definition of torture and its place in Swiss law.

Tue 16:45Rapporteur Sapana Pradhan-Malla (Nepal) is just asking more questions on IGM Practices. She welcomed the Swiss answer and the NEK-CNE report and recommendations, but these would stem from 2012 and now we have 2015. According to the Convention, the State Party is obliged to prevent ill-treatment, and NEK-CNE themselves have criticised the treatment justified by psychosocial indications and called for legal action. How does Switzerland want to ensure the right to bodily integrity and other rights of the persons concerned?

Tue 15:18Just now comes the (comparatively short) answer on intersex, given by Mr. Alexis Schmocker, lawyer at the Federal Office of Justice, Directorate of Penal Law and Recourse (DJP):

After 3 parliamentry interventions [in 2011], the Gov is now sensitive of the problem, and has ordered the Swiss National Advisory Commission on Biomedical Ethics (NEK-CNE) to investigate, and issue a report and recommendations, wich were published in November 2012, and contained 13 [sic!] recommendations [in fact there were 14 recommendations, NOT 13!]. The Federal Gov is now examining these recommendations and will discuss measures by the end of 2015 or in the beginning of 2016.

My 2 cents: Not only have the responsible politicians obviously not even properly read the ground-breaking NEK-CNE report yet (how difficult is it to count to 14?!), but without powerful ‘incentives’ they’ll obviously would like to just keep it that way! Notably, also the mentioned 3 parliamentary interventions were the result of a 4-year campaign by intersex NGOs. Hopefully, the Committee will issue strong recommendations to ‘invite’ the Swiss Gov to finally get active!

Tue 15:13 – Now it’s about corporal punishment of children.

Tue 15:05Today’s programme: 90 min answers and comments by the delegation, then 45 min dialogue with and further questions by Committee, followed by 45 min answers and comments. In additition, the delegation has 2 days to answer further in writing. The 1st answer concerns the definition of torture and the lack of specific legislation in the Swiss law.

Tue 14:59 – Today’s 2nd session will see the answers of the Swiss delegation to the questions of the Committee during yesterday’s session.  The online-transmission on http://www.treatybodywebcast.org/treaty-body-webcast-ii/ is now online!

Session 1: Monday 3 August 2015

Mon 11:03 – The online-transmission on http://www.treatybodywebcast.org/treaty-body-webcast-ii/ is (after initial technical problems) now live!

Today’s programme: So far the Chair Claudio Grossman (Chile) welcomed the Swiss delegation, which introduced themselves. Then the Committee’s rapporteur for Switzerland, Mr. Abdoulaye Gaye from Senegal covered Art. 1-9 . Now Rapporteur Ms. Sapana Pradhan-Malla (Nepal) asks Question on Art. 10-16 of the Convention, and she just now addressed IGM Practices!

Mon 11:15 – Rapporteur Sapana Pradhan-Malla (Nepal) just addressed IGM Practices! She explictly mentioned “harmful practices taking place regardng intersex”, and further mentioned (and quoted) from the 2011 CAT recommendations, the 2013 report of the Special Rapporteur on Torture (extensively), the 2009 CEDAW recommendations, and the 2015 CRC recommendations (again extensively, including “caus[ing] severe physical and psychological suffering”). And then asked the delegation explicitly about “any mesaures taken in this regard?” YAY!!! The Answers of the Swiss delegation are expected for tomorrow. 

>>> Geneva 2015: UN Committee against Torture (CAT) to investigate IGM Practices

>>> CAT 2011: Germany should investigate IGM Practices and compensate survivors!

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

UN Committee against Torture (CAT) to investigate Intersex Genital Mutilations

Zwischengeschlecht.org on Facebook

This Monday and Tuesday, 3–4 August 2015, on occasion of the 55th session of the UN Committee against Torture (CAT), the Swiss state delegation will be questioned by the Committee during the constructive dialogue at Palais Wilson in Geneva. Later the Committee is to issue binding Concluding Observations. IGM Practices are once more on the agenda:

StopIGM.org / Zwischengeschlecht.org and the Swiss self-help groups Intersex.ch and SI Selbsthilfe Intersexualität have submitted an extensive Thematic Intersex NGO Report (Download PDF | more).

During an NGO meeting with the Committee last Thursday, after a 5 minute Briefing on Intersex and IGM as Torture or Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment (CIDT), our report has been lauded as as very informative, and one of the Committee’s rapporteurs for Switzerland declared interest to include our concerns in the Concluding Observations.

So chances are intact that the Committee – following their ground-breaking 2011 recommendations to Germany – will again address human rights violations of intersex people, after unfortunately ignoring recent reports submitted by intersex organisations from New Zealand (ITANZ) and Australia (OII) (for links to these reports see in the Bibliography in our thematic Report, on p. 53).

StopIGM.org / Zwischengeschlecht.org will be present during the state review and will report live. The Concluding Observations are due on 14 August 2015. Keep your fingers crossed!

>>> Geneva 2015: UN Committee against Torture (CAT) criticises IGM Practices

>>> CAT: Germany should investigate IGM Practices and compensate survivors!

IGM as Torture or CIDT: 2015 UN-CAT Briefing
 1.  Personal Testimony – A Survivor’s Perspective
 2.  IGM Practices as Torture or CIDT
 3.  Recommendations
>>> Download PDF (1.14 MB)   >>> Text only DOC 

Thematic Intersex NGO Report to Committee against Torture (CAT)

STOP Intersex Genital Mutilation!Zwischengeschlecht.org on FacebookThe new Thematic Intersex NGO report to the UN Committee against Torture (CAT) documents and criticises IGM Practices, proving they amount to Torture or Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment (CIDT), and that all state parties as signatories to the Convention against Torture are under obligation to take all appropriate steps, including legislation, to prevent them (Art. 1, 2, 16 CAT), to ensure impartial investigation of all cases, as well as redress, fair and adequate compensation and rehabilitation for all victims (Art. 12, 13 and 14 CAT), and to train and inform medical staff that non-consensual unnecessary surgical and other procedures on intersex persons are a serious human rights violation (Art. 10 CAT).

The report also includes an updated bibliography on international human rights bodies, national institutions and NGOs condemning IGM Practices, as well as an updated theamatic supplement “IGM in Medical Textbooks – History and Current Practice”, and is now available for download:

NGO Report to the 7th Periodic Report of Switzerland on the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)

>>> Download as PDF (3.46 MB)

Compiled by:
Zwischengeschlecht.org / StopIGM.org
Intersex.ch
SI Selbsthilfe Intersexualität

The review of Switzerland during the 55th session of the Committee against Torture will take place in Geneva at Palais Wilson on 3–4 August. Beforehand there will also be a confidential NGO briefing of the Committee. Zwischengeschlecht.org / StopIGM.org will participate in all meetings. To be continued …

>>> CAT: Germany should investigate IGM Practices and compensate survivors!

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

‘Rights of the Child Clearly Violated’ – Dr Tiger talking IGM Type 1, Pt. 2

Intersex Protest vs. ‘6th ISHID’ Live Genital Mutilation @ Emma Klinik Seligenstadt 

Dr Tiger Devore on IGM perpetrators at international medical congregations: ‘The rights of the child are very, very plain, and that these rights are being so clearly violated is – is something that’s hard for me to understand while I listen to these guys lecture.’
New Video: ‘Unnecessary and harmful’ – IGM Type 1, Pt. 2/4

IGM as Torture or CIDT: 2015 UN-CAT Briefing, Geneva 30.07.2015

IGM as Torture or CIDT: 2015 UN-CAT Briefing
 1.  Personal Testimony – A Survivor’s Perspective
 2.  IGM Practices as Torture or CIDT
 3.  Recommendations
>>> Download PDF (1.7 MB)   >>> Text only DOC 

At the NGO meeting before the upcoming review of Switzerland, Zwischengeschlecht.org / StopIGM.org had allocated 5 minutes to brief the Committee against Torture (CAT) on Intersex and IGM Practices, and to illustrate why IGM Practices constitute Torture or Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment (CIDT).

Our presentation went rather well. Though the Committee had no further questions, Daniela’s powerful testimony had swung it – and our thematic intersex NGO report (Download PDF | more) was highlighted as very informative by one of the Committee’s rapporteurs for Switzerland, who also declared interest to follow-up on our concerns during the review (03.–04.08.) – THANKS!

We now hope for strong Concluding Observations on the topic, due on August 14. Keep your fingers crossed!

VIDEO: ‘Unnecessary & harmful’ – IGM Type 1: ‘Hypospadias Repair’, Pt. 2/4 – Tiger Devore

>>> VIDEO:  ‘First, there has to be a much greater understanding that this is a violation of human rights.’ In part 2, Dr. Tiger goes deeper into some of the medical myths surrounding ‘hypospadias repair,’ specifically that non-consensual early surgeries would actually help to pee standing and impregnate women, and denounces them for what they are: unnecessary and harmful.

IGM survivor and sex therapist Dr. Tiger Devore talks Intersex Genital Mutilation Type 1: ‘Masculinising Genital Corrections’: ‘Hypospadias Repair’ in this four part interview on a serious human rights violation, and shares encounters at a paediatric congress where dedicated perpetrators meet.

Filmed on occasion of nonviolent intersex protests vs. ‘6th I$HID Hypospadias Workshop’ with ‘Live surgery’, ‘5th I-D$D Symposium, and ‘1st D$Dnet Training School’ in June 2015.

Tiger Devore was one of the first survivors of IGM practices at all to speak out in public, and an excerpt (taken from the “STOP IGM Primer” (PDF)) of Tiger’s moving written personal testimony “Growning up in the surgical maelstrom” (1997) was recently quoted in a report “Human Rights and Intersex People” published by the Commissioner on Human Rights of the Council of Europe (COE).

StopIGM.org is proud to present this powerful interview series with Tiger talking truth to power. Parts 3-4 coming up soon …

>>> Intersex Protests + Info: ‘6th I$HID Hypospadias Live Surgery Workshop’

Exciting New Paper: “Should surgery for hypospadias be performed before an age of consent?” – Journal of Sex Research, Oct 2015

An unheard-of new paper on the ethics of “masculinising” non-consensual, unnecessary “hypospadias repair” surgery on children with variations of sex anatomy has been accepted for publication by the “Journal of Sex Research” and is now in press: >>> Adrienne Carmack, Lauren Notini, and Brian D. Earp: “Should surgery for hypospadias be performed before an age of consent?” (via academia.edu).

The paper was inspired by a presentation by Markus Bauer (StopIGM.org) at the “Genital Autonomy 2014” symposium in Boulder, Co. on the topic of IGM Practices, which as per usual covered “hypospadias repair” as the most common IGM Practice, therefore also known as “IGM Type 1”. (See picture: Markus Bauer and Adrienne Carmack at “Genital Autonomy 2014” – Photo thanks to Brother K.)

Adrienne Carmack has also an interesting entry on the paper and subject with additional background info on her blog: >>> “An Ethical Approach to Hypospadias.”

The paper addresses some crucial facts about “hypospadias repair” usually conveniently omitted in medical publications by the perpetrators, including the lack of medical necessity, the substantial risk of loss of sexual sensation post surgery, and the often terrible complications (WARNING!!!):

Abstract
Hypospadias is a relatively common genital condition in which the urethral opening forms on the underside of the penis, as opposed to at the tip of the glans. Patients with hypospadias are typically referred for surgery during infancy or early childhood. Recent evidence, however, indicates that many individuals with hypospadias do not experience the functional or psychosocial difficulties that are commonly attributed to the condition, and that surgical intervention for hypospadias carries substantial risk of adverse outcomes. In this article, we review published outcomes data and conduct an in-depth analysis of the typical rationales for hypospadias surgery, taking into consideration both the potential benefits and harms of the procedure, as well as the existence of non-surgical alternatives. We argue, firstly, that most childhood surgeries for hypospadias are performed for anticipated future problems concerning function and cosmesis, rather than extant problems that serve to undermine the child’s well- being. Secondly, we contend that the surgery can be safely performed after an age of consent without increasing the absolute risk of surgical complications to an ethically meaningful degree. We conclude that surgery for hypospadias should typically be performed only if requested by the affected individual, under conditions of informed consent.

Thanks to everyone who made this possible!

>>> VIDEO: Tiger Devore talks IGM Type 1: ‘Hypospadias Repair” – Part 1/4 
>>> Open Letter to ‘6th I$HID Hypospadias Live Surgery Workshop’ + affiliated Clinics
>>> Intersex Protests + Info: ‘6th I$HID Hypospadias Live Surgery Workshop 2015’

Open Letter of Concern to ‘6th ISHID Hypospadias Workshop’ and affiliated Clinics, with 130 Signatures

Nonviolent Protest #5 vs. ‘6th I$HID Hypospadias Workshop’, Seligenstadt 23.06.2015

Zwischengeschlecht.org on Facebook

>>> Open Letter of Concern to ‘ISHID’ and affiliated Clinics (PDF)

Today we’re going to hand in the Open Letters, with 119 126 130 signatures from (almost) allover the world. Thanks to everybody who signed and/or participated in the protests!

>>> VIDEO: Tiger Devore talks IGM Type 1: ‘Hypospadias Repair” – Part 1/4 
>>> Intersex Protests + Info: ‘6th I$HID Hypospadias Live Surgery Workshop’