PRESS RELEASE: UN to reprimand UK for Intersex Genital Mutilations

Paul Kissack, Head of UK delegation during 1st session, Palais Wilson 23.05.2016
(Lower right corner: Kirsten Sandberg, Committee Co-Rapporteur on the UK)
>>> Report + Unofficial Transcriptions  >>> IGM in the UK: Background + Quotations on FacebookPress Release by 23.05.2016

IGM = Hamful Practice

Today and tomorrow it is the turn of the UK to be questioned over Intersex Genital Mutilations at the 72nd Session of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in Geneva, transmitted live via

UN-CRC has consistently recognised IGM as a ‘harmful practice’ (like FGM) and as ‘violence against children’. Only last week the Committee questioned Nepal over IGM practices, and so far already reprimanded Ireland, France, Chile and Switzerland.

Intersex advocates attending the session in Geneva today are expecting tough questions also for the UK, and both the UK and Nepal to be reprimanded by CRC on June 3rd.

‘Until such time as there is a change in the law, we remain happy to undertake clitoral reduction surgery’ – Dr I. Mushtaq (GOSH, UCL)

Typically, UN-CRC obliges complicit states to

(a) take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent non-urgent treatment without informed consent of the person concerned

(b) adopt legal provisions to ensure access to redress and adequate compensation for victims

(c) provide families with intersex children with adequate counselling and support

While complicit UK government and NHS bodies are quick to deny the ongoing practice, intersex organisations, IntersexUK (ISUK), OII-UK and UK Intersex Association (UKIA) collected damning evidence on the most common forms of IGM as well as moving testimonies by IGM survivors in a recent NGO Report to the Committee:

     >>> More info and referenced quotations (via
     >>> Download 2016 CRC UK NGO Report (PDF, 3.60 MB)

The international intersex human rights NGO demands the prohibition of forced genital surgeries on children and adolescents with Variations of Sex Anatomy and “Human Rights for Hermaphrodites too!”

Persons concerned shall later decide themselves, if they want surgeries or not, and if yes, which.

Kind regards

Daniela “Nella” Truffer    +41 76 398 06 50
Markus Bauer    +41 78 829 12 60
Founding members /

Background: The UN Condemn Intersex Genital Mutilations

Typical forms of IGM practices include involuntary ‘masculinising’ and ‘feminising’ genital surgery, sterilising procedures, imposition of hormones, forced genital exams, vaginal dilations, medical display, withholding information from patients and parents, human experimentation and denial of needed health care.

IGM Practices cause known lifelong severe physical and psychological pain and suffering, including loss or impairment of sexual sensation, painful scarring, painful intercourse, incontinence, urethral strictures, impairment or loss of  reproductive capabilities, lifelong dependency of artificial hormones, significantly elevated rates of self-harming behaviour and suicidal tendencies, lifelong mental suffering and trauma, increased sexual anxieties, less sexual activity.

Since 1950, IGM has been practised systematically and on an industrial scale allover the ‘developed world,’ with all typical IGM forms still practised today. Parents and children are misinformed, kept in the dark, sworn to secrecy, kept isolated and denied appropriate support.

For more than 20 years, survivors have criticised IGM practices as harmful and traumatising, as a fundamental human rights violation, as a form of genital mutilation, torture and child sexual abuse, and called for legislation to end it and to ensure remedies.

So far, UN Treaty bodies have issued 12 verdicts condemning IGM:

The UN Committee against Torture (CAT) recognises IGM practices as constituting at least ‘inhuman treatment’ in violation of the Convention against Torture, and since 2011 has reprimanded Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, Hong Kong and France.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) has repeatedly criticised IGM as ‘violence’ and a ‘harmful practice’, and thus comparable to Female Genital Mutilation, and since 2015 has reprimanded Switzerland, Chile, Ireland and France.

The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) also considers IGM as ‘inhuman treatment’ and since 2015 has reprimanded  Germany and Chile.

In all above 12 verdicts, the Committes issued binding recommendations to take legislative action to end the practice and to ensure access to redress and justice for IGM survivors.

In addition, the UN Human Rights Committee (HRCttee) as the governing body of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR) is currently investigating IGM and has called on Switzerland to disclose statistics.

Other international human rights bodies to condemn IGM practices so far include WHO, UNICEF, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, the Council of Europe (CoE) and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).

Intersex Genital Mutilations in the UK: 2016 UN-CRC Report 
Human Rights Violations Of Persons With Variations Of Sex Anatomy
IGM – Most Common Forms  What is Intersex?  A Harmful Practice
>>  Download (PDF 3.60 MB)

See also:
UN Committee for the Rights of the Child (CRC) 2015: IGM = Harmful Practice
UN Committee against Torture (CAT) 2015: IGM = Inhuman Treatment or Torture
UN Human Rights Committee (HRCttee) to examine IGM Practices
UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) condemns IGM
Historic 56th Session of Committee against Torture reprimands 4 Governments over IGM
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)

Leave a comment