UN-CEDAW 65th Session @ Palais des Nations 02.11.2016, 09:54h: Getting ready …
Today it’s the turn of Switzerland to be questioned over Intersex Genital Mutilations at the 65th Session of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) on Wed 2 November 10-13h CET + 15–17h CET
>>> Podcast Session 1 | Session 2 StopIGM.org is reporting LIVE from Palais des Nations in Geneva, expecting tough questions, and yet another reprimand for IGM at the end of the session on 18 Nov.
Session 1: 10-13h
11:28h: “Intersexual persons” has just been mentioned briefly by the delegation under “identity” to illustrate “progress” …
12:26h: YAY!! CEDAW expert and country co-rapporteur Lilian Hofmeister just brought up “Intersex Genital Mutilations” perpetrated in “Cantonal hospitals”, describing them as a “harmful practice” and an “undoubtedly severe human rights violation”, and announces follow-up questions later! Unofficial Transcription:
“Thank you, Madame Chair. Concerning harmful practices, I would like to add some information about intersex persons. They are often suffering from so called Intersex Genital Mutilation practiced by the medical staff of Cantonal Children’s Hospitals in Switzerland. This is undoubtedly a severe human rights violation. Concerning the methods, I would like to pose follow-up questions under article 12.”
12:32h: Swiss Head of Delegation Sylvie Durrer, Director of the Federal Bureau for Equality (EGB) at the the Federal Department of Home Affairs (FDHA), immediately issued yet another full denial, followed by the usual pinkwashing of IGM we’ve come to expect from state reperesentatives … Unofficial Transcription of UN simultaneous translation from original french:
“Next, the question on intersex persons. First of all, I would like to say that our government has clearly confirmed on various occasions that these people warrant the respect and comprehension of society with regards to the problems that they are facing. They have full rights to have their physical and psychological integrity upheld, that is an extremely important point for us.
In April 2005 there was a decree, and actions were taken to ensure that we are in coordination with the Council of Europe’s work in this area. We are also combating discrimination based on sexual orientation and sexual identity, and we have had various parliamentary interventions on this matter.
The National Committee has also been dealing with the matter, it has issued various recommendations. The government has considered that these recommendations were mainly already implemented or currently being implemented, for example they concern the simplification of, in terms of the laws that apply to modification of gender cases and any discrimination that may arise.
For the government all of these measures are equally important, and they have already been implemented or they are currently being implemented. Furthermore, the Federal Council also invites doctors to contribute to awareness raising themselves, in particular by drafting guidelines and by adapting training. It has been seen that interdisciplinary working groups were already created or have been, are currently been created, are playing an extremely important role on this matter.
Finally, it’s very important for people concerned by this matter to play their fully fledged role in raising awareness about this problem, to speak about their experience and their point of view.
I think it’s very important for dialogue to continue between the different stakeholders to deal with this problem in a respectful interdisciplinary way.”
Session 2: 15-17h
15:29h: YAY!! Committee expert and Co-rapporteur Louiza Chalal (of CEDAW64 France fame) asks a question on redress for intersex persons, is there a law planned? Unofficial translation from original French:
“As for intersex genital mutilation, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has already criticised the State party for failing to protect the right of intersex persons to physical integrity and legal access to remedies and justice for all victims. Do you intend to pass a law to establish a simple and quick procedure for changing sex [registration] that would give intersex children the right to declare their status as adults?
Does sexual health education in school curricula include modules on the issue of sexual orientation and gender identity? In addition, is there a specific health service for LGBT persons? Are doctors and health-care staff trained in sexual orientation and gender identity?”
16:01h: Swiss Head of Delegation Sylvie Durrer, Director of the Federal Bureau for Equality (EGB) at the the Federal Department of Home Affairs (FDHA), announces answer on “intersex or transgender”. Unofficial translation from original French:
“You also asked a question about the situation of intersex or transgender people and their ability to change their sex, officially their sex or their name relatively easily. I would like to give the floor to the Federal Office of Justice on this point.”
16:01h: A speaker from Swiss Departement of Justice then only answers on gender markers and trans procedures … Unofficial translation from original French:
“In principle, in Switzerland, every person is entered in the civil register at birth with his or her full identity, in particular surname, first name, gender and parentage. Like the legislation of the European states, Swiss law has a binary system, whereby each person is assigned either to the male or female sex depending on medical findings. At the present time, sex reassignment presupposes a legal procedure. As far as transgender persons are concerned, the Federal Office of Civil Status has published a legal notice dated 1 February 2012. This notice requests the cantonal civil registry authorities not to require surgical interventions aimed at sterility or the construction of genital organs of the opposite sex as a precondition for legal sex reassignment. This opinion also pronounces against the dissolution of marriage or registered partnership against the will of the persons concerned. The practice of the Swiss authorities – excuse me? [Somebody from the delegation interjects in background: “shorten”] OK – So, the Federal Council has announced that it will draft a law on a simplified procedure for the registration of sex reassignment in the civil register. Thank you.”
16:03h: YAY!! CEDAW expert and country co-rapporteur Lilian Hofmeister follows up on intersex persons after IGM, they have a problems with access of justice, is there any law considered to prolong statutes of limitations? Inofficial transcription:
“Thank you very much, Madame Chair. And one question to article 12, concerning intersex persons after IGM. They have a problem with the access to justice. Is there any legislative project to delete time limitations which work against them? Thank you.”
16:05h: Swiss Head of Delegation Sylvie Durrer, Director of the Federal Bureau for Equality (EGB) at the the Federal Department of Home Affairs (FDHA), ask to repeat the question on intersex and statutes of limitations, as they did not understand? Unofficial translation from original French:
“Finally, you asked one last question, but could I ask you to rephrase it, because it concerns the statute of limitations. I’m not sure I understood it correctly.”
16:06h: CEDAW expert and country co-rapporteur Lilian Hofmeister explains again, interjected by delegation members … Unofficial Transcription / Translation:
“In German “Verjährung”, time limitations, Verjährung, eines Anspruchs. Then you can not go to the court, because time is lost”
Delegation member [from original French]: “Yes, the statute of limitations for wages, for making complaints about wage discrimination is five years, it’s in the Code of Obligations.”
Lilian Hofmeister [without microphone]: “… about IGM … IGM …”
Delegation member [from original French]: “IGM …”
Lilian Hofmeister: The question was concerning IGM persons, after, also intersex persons after IGM. They often lost the time, and didn’t make their complaints early enough, so they had no access, because of non-information.”
16:07h: Swiss Head of Delegation Sylvie Durrer, Director of the Federal Bureau for Equality (EGB) at the the Federal Department of Home Affairs (FDHA), asks other delegation members if anyone in the delegation could answer on this? Eventually announces delegation will give answer in writing after the session. Unofficial translation from original French:
“Does anyone in the delegation have any information on this point, so it concerns the situations of intersex persons who have allegedly been victims of injury and who would like to take action to obtain reparation, does anyone know?”
Unknown delegation member: “But against who?”
Swiss Head of Delegation Sylvie Durrer: “Against their parents, against the doctors, against the hospital exactly, against – apparently we don’t have this answer directly in the delegation. I propose that we seek the information and that we provide you with a written response within the deadline.”
>>> The written additional answer (French, PDF) essentially repeated the (non-)answer by the Gov on the National Ethics Commission (NEK-CNE) given last summer and criticised in the NGO report (PDF, see p. 7, 13), counterfactually claiming IGM to be “a thing of the past” all recommendations to be already implemented, and in addition counterfactually claimed IGM practices would in part be covered by the Swiss Anti-FGM Law, while in truth the parliament and government rejected suggestions to include IGM in this law …
IGM Practices in Switzerland: 2016 CEDAW Report
Human Rights Violations Of Persons With Variations Of Sex Anatomy
IGM in Switzerland • Complicity of the State • Harmful Practice
>>> Download as PDF (288 kb)
• 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 Forms
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Sex Anatomy
IGM – Historical Overview • What is Intersex? • How Common is IGM?
>>> Download PDF (3.65 MB) >>> Table of Contents
IGM as a Harmful Practice: 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)