UN Human Rights Council adopts resolution to combat discrimination against intersex persons News
Sparrow (麻雀), CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
UN Human Rights Council adopts resolution to combat discrimination against intersex persons

The UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution Thursday on Combating Discrimination, Violence, and Harmful Practices against Intersex Persons who are born with sex characteristics differing from conventional binary perceptions of male or female anatomy. The resolution was adopted by a vote of 24 in favor, none against and 23 abstentions.

In Resolution A/HRC/55/L.9, the council requested that the Office of the High Commissioner prepare a report “examining discriminatory laws and policies, acts of violence and harmful practices against persons with innate variations in gender characteristics in all regions of the world, and their root causes,” as well as best practices for intersex people to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.

The Office of the High Commissioner highlighted that despite increased awareness, human rights violations against intersex persons continue. These violations range from infanticide to discriminatory practices in various areas such as education, sports and employment. The office has expressed deep concern about coercive and forced medical interventions against intersex children, who are often subjected to unnecessary surgical procedures aimed at conforming to binary gender stereotypes. This often irreversible procedure can result in permanent infertility, pain, incontinence, loss of sexual sensation and lifelong psychological suffering. According to the office, the procedure is regularly carried out without the full, free and informed consent of the person concerned, who is often too young to participate in the decision-making process, violating their rights.

The Office of the High Commissioner emphasized in one of its press releases that states should urgently enact legislation to prohibit medically unnecessary surgeries and procedures on intersex children. In addition, the office stated that it is imperative to raise awareness of the rights of intersex persons and to address the underlying causes of these violations, such as harmful stereotypes, stigma and the pathologization of intersex variations.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has noted that intersex older persons have specific health needs related to their age but are also affected by their physical diversity, which can pose challenges in accessing and receiving adequate medical care. In addition, the IACHR highlighted that many of these persons suffer the consequences of medical interventions aimed at conforming to binary gender stereotypes, resulting in chronic pain, physical scarring, emotional trauma, hormone dependency, genital insensitivity and sterilization.