Last week the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) reviewed Austria’s human rights record during its 83rd session in Geneva. >>> more info
Based on shadow reports of the intersex NGO StopIGM.org/Zwischengeschlecht.org, the Committee questioned Austria on intersex genital mutilation (IGM), considering it a harmful cultural practice (Art. 24(3) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which also includes FGM). Further, the Committee referred to the earlier UN reprimand to Austria by the Committee against Torture (CAT), considering IGM as a cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment falling under the absolute prohibition of torture.
The reply of the Austrian delegation on behalf of the Ministry of Health was two-faced:
On the one hand, it implied that IGM was allegedly no longer practised in the new intersex “care centres”.
On the other hand, Austria defiantly insisted on continuing with intersex genital mutilation, i.e. when “until the end of the second year of life at the latest,” an unnecessary “surgical modification is carried out on the basis of an expert opinion” and “with the consent of the parents”.
Effective protection would look different! Hopefully the Committee will make clear, binding recommendations to Austria to effectively protect intersex children from genital mutilation and harmful practices in the future!
StopIGM.org demands the prohibition under criminal law of forced genital surgeries on children and adolescents with variations of reproductive anatomy and “Human Rights for Hermaphrodites too!”
Persons concerned shall later decide for themselves, if they want surgeries or not, and if yes, which ones. The statute of limitation must be adapted in such a way that adult IGM survivors can sue.
Daniela “Nella” Truffer, Markus Bauer
Founding members human rights NGO StopIGM.org / Zwischengeschlecht.org