Tuesday, March 8, 2016, Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez will be addressing the 31st Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. The Special Rapporteur will discuss his latest thematic report on the topic of Gender Perspectives on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment, country reports on Brazil, Georgia, and Ghana, and his annual report on communications with Governments. 


Some of the highlights of the reports as it relates to the intersex community are:

48. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons are frequently denied medical treatment and subjected to verbal abuse and public humiliation, psychiatric evaluations, forced procedures such as sterilization, “conversion” therapy, hormone therapy and genital-normalizing surgeries under the guise of “reparative therapies”. These procedures are rarely, if ever, medically necessary, lead to severe and life-long physical and mental pain and suffering and can amount to torture and ill-treatment (A/HRC/22/53). The criminalization of same-sex relationships and pervasive discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons lead to the denial of health care, information and related services, including the denial of HIV care, in clear violation of international human rights standards such as the Yogyakarta Principles on the Application of International Human Rights Law in relation to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.    

50. In many States, children born with atypical sex characteristics are often subject to irreversible sex assignment, involuntary sterilization and genital normalizing surgery, which are performed without their informed consent or that of their parents, leaving them with permanent, irreversible infertility, causing severe mental suffering and contributing to stigmatization. In some cases, taboo and stigma lead to the killing of intersex infants.

67.        Adequate redress requires States to investigate, prosecute and punish perpetrators and inform the public of results…

[calls on states to…]            (i)         Repeal laws that allow intrusive and irreversible treatments of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons, including, inter alia, genital-normalizing surgeries and “reparative” or “conversion” therapies, whenever they are enforced or administered without the free and informed consent of the person concerned; 

Antitorture.org provided a great summary of the report:

The new report assesses the applicability of the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in international law to the unique experiences of women, girls, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons. The report recognizes that historically, the torture and ill-treatment framework evolved largely in response to practices and situations that disproportionately affected men, and that the analysis largely largely failed to employ a gendered and intersectional lens or to account adequately for the impact of entrenched discrimination, patriarchal, heteronormative and discriminatory power structures and socialized gender stereotypes. In the report the Special Rapporteur seeks to more effectively apply the torture and other ill-treatment lens to qualify human rights violations committed against persons who transgress sexual and gender norms. The report identifies gaps in prevention, protection, access to justice and remedies, and provide guidance to States on their obligations to respect, protect and fulfill the rights of all persons to be free from torture and ill-treatment.

The report covers an array of issues, ranging from the situation of women, girls, and LGBTI persons in the criminal justice system and sexual and domestic violence to abusive practices in healthcare settings, harmful practices – such as female genital mutilation, honor killings, and forced marriage,and human trafficking, from the perspective of torture and other ill-treatment. [Read the entire article]