Official Statement of Srishti Madurai: Recommendations on Intersex Rights in India by the United Nations Treaty Body on Disability Rights

22nd Session CRPD reviewing India, UNHRC, Geneva

Srishti Madurai welcomes the recommendations made by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities with respect to intersex rights while considering the initial report of India. In particular, we heartily welcome the concluding observations calling India to “adopt measures to prevent sex assignment or “sex normalizing” surgeries, bullying and stigmatization against intersex children, ensuring their rights to preserve their physical and mental integrity.”  

The Committee arrived at these conclusions after considering the reports presented by the Indian delegation and civil society organisations presented in the 22ndSession of the Working Group of the Committee at the United Nations (Geneva).

Along with NNID Netherlands, Srishti Madurai made a joint submission report on rights of intersex children in India before the UN committee. In our report, we highlighted the non-necessary medical attention and discrimination faced by intersex persons in India.

Expressing concerns about the “mercy killings” of intersex children with disabilities, the UN Committee has also recommended the government to “protect intersex children from attacks against their lives and any related harmful practices and adopt measures to prevent the executions of persons with disabilities in relation to violence and armed conflict.”

As a human rights treaty body comprised of experts from around the world, we are hopeful that these observations and recommendations will receive due consideration from Government of India.

Inclusion of intersex issues in the concluding observations by a human rights treaty body is a momentous development for the intersex human rights movement in India. It is important to highlight that prior to the publication of these findings; the state of Tamil Nadu has already issued a Government Order last month to ban non-necessary surgical interventions on intersex children.

We hope that the recommendations would encourage the government to take an active role in the protection of intersex people by legally prohibiting the unnecessary surgical and medical treatment of intersex people without their personal informed consent at the national level. By acting on these recommendations, India could become the first state in the world to have a protection regime for bodily integrity of intersex persons.

To ensure the follow-up on these recommendations, we are planning to engage with the  Indian Union Government and different Indian state governments in making the legal protection regime for intersex persons more effective. This is the first time the Republic of India is getting a strong recommendation on Intersex Human Rights from the UNHRC Treaty Bodies Committee. 

To read the full recommendations from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Prashanth Singh
Upadhyaksh (Deputy Chair) Srishti Madurai

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