“Harmful Practice” and “Violence”: UN Convention on the Rights of the Child Condemns Non-Consensual Genital Surgeries on Intersex Children

UPDATE 11.10.2015: Chile > CRC criticising IGM as “harmful practice” – again!

Zwischengeschlecht.org on FacebookPress Release by StopIGM.org, 05.02.2015:

Heidi Walcutt (1997): 'STOP Intersex Genital Mutilation'

Zwischengeschlecht.org warmly welcomes the historic 2015 “Concluding Observations” of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) for Switzerland.
>>> CRC/C/CHE/CO/2-4, DOC, on Intersex: p. 8-9, paras. 42-43

Not only do they mark the first time the Committee tackled intersex and IGM practices, but indeed the first time any human rights body recognisied non-consensual, medically unnecessary, irreversible, cosmetic genital surgeries and other procedures on intersex children as a “harmful practice”.

We especially appreciate the Committee specifically addressing the “lack of redress and compensation” for survivors, as well as referencing both the recommendations by the Swiss National Advisory Commission on Biomedical Ethics (underlining the need for legal revision including liability, criminal law and statutes of limitation) and the CRC-CEDAW Joint Geneneral Comment No. 18 on harmful practices (highlighting the necessity of developing a holistic policy).

The fight of intersex people and their organsiations for “bodily integrity, autonomy and self-determination” and to eliminate IGM practices is far from over. The CRC’s Concluding Observations however mark an important and most welcome step towards these goals – a sign of hope for intersex children everywhere!

>>> 21.01.2015: UN Committee on the Rights of the Child criticises IGM Practices
>>> Transcript: Intersex Q&A during the 68. Session of CRC, Geneva 2015
>>> 2014 CRC NGO Report “Intersex Genital Mutilations” (PDF 3.65 MB)
2015 CRC Briefing “Intersex Genital Mutilations on a Global Scale” (PDF 3.14 MB)

The Concluding Observations on intersex and IGM practices (p. 8-9, paras. 42-43):

E.    Violence against children
(arts. 19, 24, para. 3, 28, para. 2, 34, 37 (a) and 39)


Harmful practices 

42.    While welcoming the adoption of a new provision of criminal law prohibiting genital mutilation, the Committee is deeply concerned at:


(b)    Cases of medically unnecessary surgical and other procedures on intersex children, which often entail irreversible consequences and can cause severe physical and psychological suffering, without their informed consent, and the lack of redress and compensation in such cases.

43.    The Committee draws the attention of the State party to the Joint General Comment No. 18 on harmful practices (2014), together with the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, and urges the State party to:


(b)    In line with the recommendations on ethical issues relating to intersexuality by the National Advisory Commission on Biomedical Ethics, ensure that no-one is subjected to unnecessary medical or surgical treatment during infancy or childhood, guarantee bodily integrity, autonomy and self-determination to children concerned, and provide families with intersex children with adequate counselling and support.

The international human rights NGO StopIGM.org demands the prohibition of forced genital surgeries on children and adolescents with ‘atypical’ 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, Markus Bauer
Founding members human rights NGO Zwischengeschlecht.org / StopIGM.org

Mobile +41 (0) 76 398 06 50
Mobile +41 (0) 78 829 12 60



UPDATE 11.10.2015: Chile > CRC criticising IGM as “harmful practice” – again!

IGM on a Global Scale: 2015 Briefing for UN-CRC
• IGM: A Survivor’s Perspective • Intersex Movement History
• What are IGM Practices? • What are Variations of Sex Anatomy?
• IGM and Human Rights • Conclusion: IGM as a Harmful Practice
>>> Download PDF (3.14 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

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

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