Making room for the rights of intersex children : legal perspectives on intersex genital surgeries

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Holzer, Lena
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The rights of intersex persons are a new topic on the human rights agenda. It has only been in the last ten years that international and national human rights institutions have started to address the issue of subjecting intersex children to “cosmetic” genital surgeries in order to make their genitalia look typically female or male. This thesis explores different legal approaches for regulating these medically unnecessary intersex genital surgeries performed on non-consenting children. At first, this study examines how international and national human rights bodies have so far responded to intersex rights activists’ claims that the surgical alteration of children’s intersexed genitalia are human rights violations. The primary focus of this thesis is to analyse the extent to which different national approaches of protecting the rights of intersex persons have truly been in the best interests of intersex children. General Comment No. 14 of the CRC Committee provides the analytical framework for evaluating whether or not a legal measure ensures the child’s best interests. The study aims to shed some light on the debate on which legal measures need to be implemented in the future if states want to ensure that intersex children’s human rights are not being violated as a consequence of genital surgeries.
Second semester University: Utrecht University.
gender identity, genital surgeries, intersexuality