UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) questions Chile over Intersex Genital Mutilations

Zwischengeschlecht.org on Facebook'STOP Intersex Genital Mutilation!' - UNHRC Geneva 20.10.2012After their ground-breaking Concluding Observations recognising IGM as a harmful Practice earlier this year, last week the Committee on the Rights of the Child again tackled IGM practices during the review of Chile in Geneva.

This development is the more welcome, since the State Party’s report didn’t mention intersex at all, and also a >>> 7-page NGO report “Situation of Trans and Intersex Children in Chile” (PDF) by Observatorio de Derechos Humanos – Chile (Andrés Rivera Duarte) and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) only briefly mentioned IGM practices in one sentence (my emphasis):

Lack of protection for Intersex Infants
Intersex infants (infants who are born with both stereotypical “male” and  “female” anatomic characteristics or whose external genitalia are considered “ambiguous” by medial professionals) have no legal protections in Chile. Medical professionals operate with discretion as to whether or not intersex infants will be subjected to unnecesary and irreversible surgery to visually resemble “normal” male or female bodies.
(p. 5)

Same as the >>> submission by INDH, the national Human Rights Institution (NHRI) of Chile (PDF) – who on top erroneously listed IGM under art. 8 “Identity Preservation”:

12.   […] Also,  in  the  case  of  children  born  intersex  there  is  no existing  protocols  to  prevent  that  there  are  subjected  to  unnecessary  surgery  without their consent. (p. 5)

Unfortunately, both the NGO and the NHRI submissions failed to document the ongoing practice in Chile, despite the fact that evidence of the three most frequent surgical interventions, i.e. IGM 1: “Hypospadias Repair” (one / two –> poster 29 / three); IGM 2: “Feminising Genital Corrections” (PDF); IGM 3: Castration or “Gonadectomy” (one / PDF), is readily available online. As past submissions repeatedly proved, substantiating the ongoing practice in several local (university) clinics in combination with moving personal testimonies to the lifelong severe pain and suffering caused by IGM is the best chance to get human right bodies to recognise the serious violations of IGM practices.

Fortunately, the Committee – obviously sensitised by the recent proceedings – nonetheless included IGM practices in their >>> List of Issues (LOI) with questions for the Chilean government:

8.  […] Please also provide information on the measures adopted to ensure that intersex children are not subjected to unnecessary surgery without their consent. (Para 8)

Unsurprisingly, the >>> reply by the Chilean government (PDF, spanish) was evasive as usual (my translation):

19.  In collaboration with scientific societies and civil society organisations, we have started an elaboration of a protocol concerning the health of intersex children, which will establish steps and procedures to follow for health care providers, with a focus on rights. (para 19)

Thankfully, the Committee didn’t fall for such vague, non-committal hyperbole, but Jorge Cardona Llorens, Committee member and Country Co-Rapporteur for Chile, explicitly reiterated the question during the review hearings on 24-25 September, according to a >>> recent UN news report (emphasis in original):

Question was also asked about measures taken by the State party to ensure that intersex children were not subjected to unnecessary surgery without their consent.

The fact that the UN report of the hearing doesn’t list an answer to this specific question, in turn indicates that the State Party’s answer during the hearing probably was just as unsubstantial and wanting as before …

Therefore, we now hope for strong Concluding Observations on IGM practices for Chile, to be published on 2 October 2015.

>>> “Harmful Practice” and “Violence”: UN-CRC on Intersex Genital Mutilations

UPDATE: UN-CRC reprimands Chile over IGM practices

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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

STOP IGM Primer:
What everyone should know about Intersex Genital Mutilations (IGM)!

>>> Download (PDF, 1.95 MB)

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

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