Photo: Daniela Truffer and Markus Bauer (StopIGM.org) with the thematic intersex NGO report on Portugal
at the 128th CCPR Session, Palais Wilson, Geneva 06.03.2020
A year ago, the 128th Session of the Human Rights Committee (HRCttee) as the Treaty body monitoring the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR) was suspended two weeks in due to COVID-19, making Portugal the last State Party to be examined for Intersex Genital Mutilation in Geneva.
Based on a thematic intersex NGO report and a briefing to Committee members by StopIGM.org, CCPR specifically questioned Portugal on “genital mutilation […] practiced on intersex children” and the lack of access to justice in such cases. However, Portugal non-answered on “female genital mutilation” and “trans and intersex health” instead.
As a result, CCPR has now reprimanded Portugal for IGM practices, specifically obliging Portugal to “strengthen the measures to end the performance of irreversible medical acts, especially surgical operations, on intersex children” and considering the practice as cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment falling under the absolute prohibition of torture (art. 7 CCPR).
StopIGM.org welcomes this clear verdict, marking
- the 50th UN reprimand condemning IGM as a serious violation of non-derogable human rights
- already the 2nd reprimand for IGM to Portugal,
- the 23rd UN reprimand for IGM to an EU27 member state,
- the 5th reprimand for IGM by CCPR.
Portugal is another self-declared “intersex human rights champion” that, after in 2018 having adopted legislation aimed at protecting intersex children from IGM practices, claims to have abolished the practice altogether, echoing similar legislation and claims from Malta. However, in both states IGM persists with impunity, and accordingly in 2019 both Malta and Portugal have been reprimanded by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) condemning IGM as a “harmful practice” (just like FGM).
After the break: The full CRC Concluding Observations on intersex and IGM, the NGO report that prompted the CCPR investigation, and videos and transcripts of Portugal’s denials and excuses during the 128th CCPR Session.
CCPR 128: Full Binding Intersex Recommendations to Portugal
>>> Download full Concl Obs: CCPR/C/PRT/CO/5 –> paras 16-17
>>> Full Intersex NGO Report by StopIGM.org (PDF, 609 kb)
>>> Intersex NGO Briefing Statement by StopIGM.org (PDF, 29 kb)
>>> Full Transcript + Video of Intersex Q&A at Session in Geneva
>>> UN Press Release on Session mentioning “intersex genital mutilation”
Sexual orientation, gender identity and intersexuality
16. While welcoming the recent adoption of Law No. 38/2018, the Committee notes with concern reports that children born with intersex traits are sometimes subjected to invasive and irreversible medical procedures aimed at assigning them with a sex, that such actions are often based on a stereotyped vision of gender roles and that they are carried out before the persons in question are of an age to give their free and informed consent (arts. 3, 7, 9, 17, 24 and 26).
17. The State party should strengthen the measures to end the performance of irreversible medical acts, especially surgical operations, on intersex children who are not yet capable of giving their free and informed consent, except in cases where such interventions are absolutely necessary for medical reasons.
• ‘Only the Fear of the Judge Will Make IGM Perpetrators Change’
• “Harmful Medical Practice”: UN, COE, ACHPR, IACHR condem IGM
• 50 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)