Humanists voice support for UN resolution on intersex persons amid backlash

  • post Type / Advocacy News
  • Date / 22 March 2024

At the 55th session of the UN Human Rights Council, Humanists International has put on record its support for the rights of intersex persons and called for the Council to pass its draft resolution in support of these rights.

In a statement made during a general debate at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Humanists International’s Director of Advocacy, Elizabeth O’Casey, highlighted the “horrifying levels of discrimination, stigma, and violence” that intersex persons can face.

Her statement pointed out that violations against intersex persons occur across various contexts, including medical, educational and workplace settings. In terms of violence against intersex persons, the statement noted that it can include “coercive medical interventions without informed consent, psychological trauma from societal rejection, and systemic marginalization.” Intersex infanticide remains a major problem in a number of countries.

She also pointed out that, “a lack of legal recognition and protection is common and exacerbates vulnerability, and can leave intersex persons with limited recourse to seek justice and redress. ”

The statement gave explicit support for a draft UN Human Rights Council Resolution “Combating Discrimination, Violence, and Harmful Practices against Intersex Persons,” which will be voted on next week (3rd-5th April 2024). The negotiations when drafting the resolution proved to be divisive, particularly in terms of some states perceiving intersex persons as having a disorder that needs to be cured.

O’Casey’s statement urged Council members “not to pathologize or patronize intersex persons, and to use language that respects their reality and autonomy and does not stigmatize or suggest that intersex traits and bodies are defective.”

Featured photo by Katie Rainbow on Pexels

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