United Nations Committee against Torture makes historic statement on intersex, redress for intersex genital mutilation (IGM), education and more

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THE UN Committee against Torture sitting in Germany from October 31 to November 25 2011 has considered a German report on torture and other abuses and has produced a groundbreaking statement on intersex and torture:

United Nations Committee against Torture: Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 19 of the Convention - click to download this PDF.

Intersex people

20. The Committee takes note of the information received during the dialogue that the Ethical Council has undertaken to review the reported practices of routine surgical alterations in children born with sexual organs that are not readily categorized as male or female, also called intersex persons, with a view to evaluate and possibly change present practice. However, the Committee remains concerned at cases where gonads have been removed and cosmetic surgeries of reproductive organs have been performed, implying lifelong hormonal medication, without effective, informed consent of the concerned individuals or their legal guardians, where neither investigation, nor measures of redress have been introduced. The Committee remains further concerned at the lack of legal provisions providing redress and compensation in such cases (arts. 2, 10, 12, 14 and 16).

The Committee recommends that the State party:

a) Ensure the effective application of legal and medical standards following the best practices of granting informed consent to medical and surgical treatment of intersex people, including the full information, orally and in writing, on the suggested treatment, its justification and alternatives;

b) Undertake investigation of incidents of surgical and other medical treatment of intersex people without effective consent and adopt legal provisions in order to provide redress to the victims of such treatment, including adequate compensation;

c) Educate and train medical and psychological professionals on the range of sexual and related biological and physical diversity; and

d) Properly inform patients and their parents regarding the consequences of unnecessary surgical and other medical interventions for intersex people.

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