In a move that is being widely welcomed by LGBTI rights advocates, and Intersex rights campaigners in particular, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has passed a ‘first of its kind’ resolution recognising the bodily integrity of Intersex children.
The Resolution, No. 1952 (2013), ‘Children’s Right to Physical Integrity’ was passed on Tuesday, October 1.
It embraces several key issues for the care of Intersex children, including prohibitions on surgical interventions which are not ‘vital to health’, recognition of the right to ‘self-determination’, and the provision of counselling and support to parents.
These provisions form part of a broader package which also addresses issues such as female genital mutilation and the circumcision of boys for religious reasons.
The groups ILGA-Europe and OII (Organisation Intersex International) Europe, published a joint statement Thursday (Oct 3), welcoming the move and launching a ‘call for relevant European institutions to take note of this resolution and indeed carry out the research that is necessary to increase knowledge about the specific human rights and social situation of intersex people.’
Their release now follows in full:
ILGA-Europe and OII Europe Statement on the adoption of a historical intersex resolution by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
ILGA-Europe and OII Europe welcome the adoption of the resolution “Children’s right to physical integrity” by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe which for the first time ever addressed the issue of bodily integrity of intersex children.
This resolution covered other issues such as female genital mutilation, the circumcision of young boys for religious reasons, and the submission to or coercion of children into piercings, tattoos or plastic surgery.
The resolution calls on Council of Europe Member States to “undertake further research to increase knowledge about the specific situation of intersex people, ensure that no-one is subjected to unnecessary medical or surgical treatment that is cosmetic rather than vital for health during infancy or childhood, guarantee bodily integrity, autonomy and self-determination to persons concerned, and provide families with intersex children with adequate counselling and support.”
This is the first resolution of its kind by any European institution. The language of the resolution signals a shift from the current medical domain to a human rights approach, and addresses the right to bodily integrity, autonomy and self-determination while calling for the end of cosmetic medical and surgical treatment.
ILGA-Europe and OII Europe call for relevant European institutions to take note of this resolution and indeed carry out the research that is necessary to increase knowledge about the specific human rights and social situation of intersex people.
ILGA-Europe and OII Europe also thank Marlene Rupprecht who was the Rapporteur of the report that led to this resolution for taking on board the input provided by our two organisations and Genital Autonomy and for putting the human rights of intersex people firmly on the agenda.
Resolution 1952 (2013) Children’s right to physical integrity
3 October 2013