“European countries have been slow in recognising and upholding the human rights of intersex people and the gender diversity they represent,” wrote Nils Muižnieks, the Commissioner for Human Rights, in a ground-breaking 2015 report on the self-determination and physical integrity of intersex people.
He added: “It is urgent to end unnecessary medical treatment and surgery of intersex individuals without their consent; to respect their right not to undergo sex assignment treatment; to review medical classifications which treat variations in sex characteristics as a pathology; and to ensure intersex persons’ right to self-determination by facilitating their legal recognition in official documents.”
This video, focussing on the impact of medical sex assignment on intersex children, features interviews with Kitty Anderson, Chairperson of Intersex Iceland / Secretary of the Board, OII Europe and Mika Venhola, a Finnish paediatric surgeon.
It brings to the fore, the reality of intersex people in our binary societies. The classification of humanity into two categories -women and men- exposes those who do not fall into one or the other of these categories to violations of their fundamental human rights.
Anderson and Venhola were in Strasbourg, to address the 9th Meeting of the Committee on Bioethics DH-BIO (31 May – 2 June 2016), which looked at the protection of the human rights on intersex and transgender children and young people.