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On Human Rights Day, December 10th, 2012, OII-USA Founder and Executive Director Hida Viloria spearheaded the world’s first united call for human rights by intersex advocates, in he/r, “Open Letter: A Call for the Inclusion of Human Rights for Intersex People”, signed by the over thirty international intersex organizations participating at the Second International Intersex Forum in Stockholm, and presented to the UN’s Office of Human Rights (UN OHR). Today, we celebrate and thank the UN OHR for taking heed by including us in their international human rights work!
This week, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) issued its second report on the state of human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people worldwide. The report outlines the human rights violations that LGBTI people around the world face, and provides 20 recommendations on initial steps necessary to end discrimination and violence against LGBTI people, including:
“Prohibiting medically unnecessary procedures on intersex children;”.
Non-consensual “normalizing” surgeries on intersex infants and minors — a.k.a Intersex Genital Mutilation (IGM) — have been likened, in an article in the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review (http://www.law.harvard.edu/students/orgs/crcl/vol40_1/ehrenreich.pdf), to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), because they are irreversibly harmful and performed in order to uphold cultural beliefs about gender. They have also been shown to be so harmful, both physically and psychologically, that the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture (UN SRT) called on all nation states to ban the practice in 2012 (http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/reproductive_rights/2013/02/un-issues-condemnations-of-surgeries-on-intersex-children.html).
This past April 1st, 2015, the Mediterranean nation of Malta became the first nation to do so by criminalizing IGM, and we encourage the United States to follow suit. Back in 1996, the United States enacted a ban on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), and, likewise, intersex people deserve legal protection from nonconsensual, barbaric, irreversibly harmful medical procedures. Like all U.S. citizens, we deserve the right to be who we are.
Please encourage the U.S. to enact legislation that bans IGM and protects intersex people’s right bodily integrity and self-determination by using the letters provided on our home page, and/or tweeting Secretary of State John Kerry at: @JohnKerry. Thank you!
Read full UN OHR report here: