Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on torture

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Juan E. Méndez, the Special Rapporteur 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 persons.

Building on the Special Rapporteur’s ground-breaking report of 2013, that called for the end to forced sterilisation, forced hormone treatment, and genital-normalising surgeries, Juan Méndez returns to give the HRC his latest report to the UN. On International Women’s Day, the Special Rapporteur delivers areport that details the experiences of women, girls, and LGBTI people.

The report describes the abuses in very clear terms

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”.

It goes on to say;

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.

Juan Méndez uses this latest report to call for reparations to all those who suffer gender based violence,  and highlights the particular discrimination faced by intersex refugees seeking asylum who may find themselves incarcerated in immigration detention.  The report also rejects reparative or conversion therapies for lesbians and gay men, and involuntary sterilisation and other coerced treatment for trans people.

OII-UK welcomes the conclusions in this report concerning intersex rights,  and calls on the UK govt to ensure that intersex people are not subject to sterlisation, hormone interventions and  genital surgeries unless they are enacted with the fully informed consent of the individual themselves.  It is long overdue these pre-emptive procedures ceased and intersex people were granted their lawful rights to bodily integrity and personal autonomy in all decisions made about them.

(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.

The full Report can be accessed here