The Australian Senate’s Community Affairs References Committee published its long anticipated report this month, “Involuntary or coerced sterilization of intersex people”.  The report provided the first and most significant opportunity to raise issues about the health and wellbeing of intersex people in Australia with parliamentarians. OII Australia made numerous submissions to the inquiry, along with the AISSGA, National LGBTI Health Alliance, Clinicians and other organizations.


OII Australia submissions to the report included AIC’s evidence given to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for inquiry into the treatment of intersex, in which AIC argued that Intersex people or people affected by DSD’s suffer significant violations of their human rights to dignity, bodily integrity, control of reproduction, and privacy in medical settings. Such treatment meets the threshold requirements to constitute torture under Article 1 of the Convention Against Torture, and constitutes human rights violations of human rights as recognized in multiple other treaties.


OII Australia states “Many of the headline conclusions and recommendations are positive – accepting recommendations on minimizing genital surgery, concern over the lack of adequate data, insufficient psychosocial support, and concern that decision making on cancer risk is insufficiently disentangled from wider concerns about a person’s intersex status itself; also broadly welcomed are the recommendations relating to the prenatal use of Dexamethasone.”


AIC Executive Director Anne Tamar-Mattis comments, “The Australian Senate committee took a hard look at the science, asking many of the important questions that researchers have so far failed to ask, and coming out with strong statements about the rights of children to bodily integrity and eventual self-determination.  This report reflects a trend among human rights bodies and governmental ethics committees internationally of recognizing the important human rights issues at stake, and taking a skeptical approach to unsupported claims by advocates of early genital surgery.”  We at AIC celebrate the victory of Australian activists’ tireless work.