Yesterday marked a historic first when the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted the first intersex-specific resolution of its kind from a European intergovernmental institution. The resolution is based on a detailed report by rapporteur Piet de Bruyn and was unanimously approved by the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination.
This resolution is a clear message to policymakers across Europe that they must take action to install legislative protections for intersex people and highlights the steps that need to be taken to protect the fundamental rights of Intersex people. The resolution is clear when it comes to intersex peoples right to bodily autonomy and physical integrity as it calls for prohibition of
“medically unnecessary sex-“normalising” surgery, sterilisation and other treatments practised on intersex children without their informed consent;”
In the adopted recommendations it calls on the committee of ministers to bring the resolution to the attention of their governments and highlights the need to bring about rapid change within Council of Europe member states.
The report highlights the need for increased psychosocial support as and states that all medical care for intersex people should be patient-centred, holistic and in consultation with intersex organisations. It also acknowledges that parents are often under pressure to consent to “sex-normalising” surgeries and other treatments while not being provided with the information of potential long-term effects, alternative options or the psychological counselling that they need.
Governments are urged to collect data, carry out investigations of past practice and to consider granting reparations to intersex people who have suffered due to the treatments that they underwent. The need for increased public awareness raising is highlighted and the importance of improving accurate knowledge of medical professionals, social workers and teachers, in addition to the general society to reduce stigma and discrimination. To further combat discrimination the resolution calls for policymakers to “ensure that anti-discrimination legislation effectively applies to and protects intersex people.”
- The CoE press release, along with a video of the debate, the adopted resolution and the voting results, is availabe here: CoE Press Release and Video
- More background information on the rapporteur’s full report is available here More Information and full report.