Promoting Intersex Rights Internationally

By participating in human rights convenings at the international level, interACT helps to raise awareness of the human rights violations experienced by intersex youth. In collaboration with intersex activists across the globe we have worked with the World Health Organization, the United Nations, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Organization of American States, and others, ushering in an important wave of attention to intersex issues and highlighting the importance of accountability for the human rights violations experienced by this population.

Intersex Expert Meeting convened by the United Nations

 

In September 2015, interACT Executive Director Kimberly Zieselman attended an Intersex Expert Meeting convened by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights during the 30th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. At an additional UN event concerning the human rights of intersex people, Kimberly sat on an international panel of intersex activists including representatives from the Support Initiative for People with atypical sex Development (SIPD), Organization Intersex International (OII)-Australia Limited, OII-Chinese and OII-Europe. At this session, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein made a powerful statement recognizing the human rights violations perpetrated against intersex people based in part on the work interACT and other international intersex organizations have put forward in this realm.

Expert testimony to the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on Torture (SRT)

In December 2012, Legal Director Anne Tamar-Mattis provided expert testimony to the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on Torture (SRT) on behalf of the intersex community, leading the SRT to make the following statement to the 22nd Session of the United Nations General Council:
“Children who are born with atypical sex characteristics are often subject to irreversible sex assignment, involuntary sterilization, involuntary genital normalizing surgery, performed without their informed consent, or that of their parents, ‘in an attempt to fix their sex’, leaving them with permanent, irreversible infertility and causing severe mental suffering. . . . These procedures [genital-normalizing surgeries] are rarely medically necessary, can cause scarring, loss of sexual sensation, pain, incontinence, lifelong depression, and have also been criticized as being unscientific, potentially harmful and contributing to stigma.”

Testimony to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

In March of 2013, staff member Pidgeon Pagonis provided testimony to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Statement to the UN Special Rapporteur for Health

interACT-youth-Axel-SRH-Danius-Puras-800x600

interACT youth member Axel Keating delivered a statement to the UN Special Rapporteur for Health in October 2015, calling for the recognition of intersex people’s sexual health as a necessary component of their well-being, peer support and community involvement for intersex youth and their families, and the end of non-consensual and medically unnecessary genital-normalizing surgeries on intersex children.

IntersexUK (ISUK) Intersex Awareness Day 2016 Video

IntersexUK (ISUK) is a human rights organization working to achieve equality for, and the protection of Intersex bodied people. IntersexUK’s vision is to ensure irreversible genital mutilations, sterilisations, and other nonconsensual abuses against healthy intersex-bodied children are stopped. A child’s body is theirs for the whole of their life and the right of that person’s autonomy must be respected above the right of others to ease social discomfort. ISUK released this video for Intersex Awareness Day 2016.

Invisible No More: International Intersex Activists Forum

interACT moderated an international panel of intersex activists during the Invisible No More, an Arcus Forum exploring the landscape of the growing intersex human rights movement. Held during the 2016 Creating Change Conference in Chicago, the forum also shed light on challenges that face current advocacy efforts as well as developments that are driving increased levels of awareness and support for intersex issues worldwide.

Intersex Panel Side Event during 30th session of the UN Human Rights Council

Executive Director Kimberly Zieselman took part in the side event on the human rights of intersex people, organized during the 30th session of the UN Human Rights Council. The event included representatives from interACT (at the time Advocates for Informed Choice), CIPD, Organisation Intersex International Australia Limited, Oii-Chinese and OII Europe and was supported by ILGA and COC Nederland.

Testimony at the Inter-American Commission

InterACT Executive Director Kimberly Zieselman provided intersex human rights testimony today at the Inter-American Commission at the Organization of American States in Washington, DC with Natasha Jiménez Mata from Costa Rica.

International Intersex Forums

Need a blurb that summarizes our involvement in the International Intersex Forums.  There is a link to the public statement in the resources sidebar.

An interagency statement on sterilization

interACT was involved with the development this interagency statement signed by CRPD (United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities), OHCHR (Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights), UN Women (United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women), UNAIDS (Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS), UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund), UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund), and WHO (World Health Organization).

International human rights bodies and professional organizations have explicitly condemned coercive population policies and programmes, noting that decisions about sterilization should not be subject to arbitrary requirements imposed by the government and that states’ obligations to protect persons from such treatment extend into the private sphere, including where such practices are committed by private individuals, such as health-care professionals. This statement aims to contribute to the elimination of forced, coercive and otherwise involuntary sterilization.

This statement aims to contribute to the elimination of forced, coercive and otherwise involuntary sterilization and explicitly mentions sterilization of intersex children.