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Wednesday 09 November 2016

UN steps up for intersex awareness

Posted in: Our Communities
By - 26th October 2016

Today marks Intersex Awareness Day and this week the United Nations has launched its first ever intersex awareness campaign, a groundbreaking move that increases the visibility of intersex rights and provides informative resources in four different languages.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein is calling on governments and parents to protect the rights of intersex people and says “Because their bodies don’t comply with typical definitions of male or female, intersex children and adults are frequently subjected to forced sterilisation and irreversible surgery, and suffer discrimination in schools, workplaces and other settings.”

With websites in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese, the UN Free and Equal campaign provides facts and figures about being intersex, videos, personal stories, advice for both government and parents and links to resources from intersex organisations.

With up to 1.7% of all babies born intersex the United Nations is hoping to spread the word that Intersex children don’t need to be “fixed”; they are perfect just as they are.

The UN notes that “In many countries, intersex children are subjected to repeated surgery and treatment to try to change their sex characteristics and appearance, causing terrible physical, psychological and emotional pain – and violating their rights.”

Last month, representatives of the New Zealand government were questioned at the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in regards to the rights and care of intersex children. Following this the UN issued landmark recommendations to the New Zealand government and is urging the them to protect the rights of intersex children.

The four recommendations urge the government to:

•Implement a child rights-based health care protocol for intersex children that guarantees the rights to bodily integrity and self-determination.

•Investigate incidents of surgical and other medical treatment of intersex children without informed consent, and provide redress.

•Educate professionals on biological and physical sexual diversity and consequences of unnecessary interventions on children.

•Provide free access to surgical intervention and treatment related to their intersex condition for 16 to 18 year old intersex children

To help spread the word the UN has released easy to share images and links, head over to the campaign website to do your bit in raising awareness.

- 26th October 2016

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