Seven UN Agencies: Surgery as a Condition of Legal Recognition is Forced Sterilization

June 6, 2014

WHO Report CoverIn “Eliminating forced, coercive and otherwise involuntary sterilization – An interagency statement,” the World Health Organization (WHO) and several other UN agencies have recognized that sterilization without the “full, free and informed consent” of an individual is a violation of that person’s human rights.

The UN Health (WHO), Human Rights (OHCHR), Women’s (UN Women), Development (UNDP), Population (UNFPA), Children’s (UNICEF), and AIDS (UNAIDS) agencies issuing the statement recognized that transgender people have been historically, and are currently, discriminated against through policies requiring surgery, often resulting in sterilization, in order to obtain legal documents reflecting their gender identity and other forms of legal and social recognition. As the statement observes, “According to international and regional human rights bodies and some constitutional courts, and as reflected in recent legal changes in several countries, these sterilization requirements run counter to respect for bodily integrity, self-determination and human dignity, and can cause and perpetuate discrimination against transgender and intersex persons.”

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United Nations Panel Issues Declaration of LGBT Rights

September 27, 2013

NCTE recognizes yesterday’s United Nations (U.N.) statement, written in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights. The declaration, which was announced at the first-ever meeting of the United Nations’ LGBT Core Group, comes almost two years after the U.N.’s first official report on the human rights violations faced lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Foreign ministers from 10 Member States called for the end of violence and discrimination against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.

They wrote:

“We, ministers of Argentina, Brazil, Croatia, France, Israel, Japan, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and United States, and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy – members of the LGBT Core Group at the United Nations – hereby declare our strong and determined commitment to eliminating violence and discrimination against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.”

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UN Report: Forced Sterilization of Trans People “is Torture”

February 27, 2013

On February 1, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture (SRT) issued a report on abusive practices in health care settings that has important implications for LGBT people and people with intersex conditions.

The report calls for repealing laws allowing “genital-normalizing” surgery on children with intersex conditions, and ending practices whereby LGBT patients or those with intersex conditions are subjected to unethical experimentation or made a subject of medical display without consent. The report also condemns the practice of so-called “reparative therapies” or “conversion therapies” that purport to change an individual’s gender identity or sexual orientation. Especially notable for transgender people was the Special Rapporteur’s call for ending forced or coerced sterilization of transgender people as condition of recognizing their gender identities.

Section 39 of the report says, “…Medical care that causes severe suffering for no justifiable reason can be considered cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and if there is State involvement and specific intent, it is torture.”

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