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UN urges NZ Gov't to protect the rights of intersex children

Landmark recommendations on the rights of intersex children made to the New Zealand Government by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child have been welcomed by the Human Rights Commission and Intersex Trust New Zealand.

“The committee’s recommendations are significant as they protect and strengthen the human rights of intersex children in New Zealand,” said Richard Tankersley, Human Rights Commissioner.

“Protection of the rights of intersex children in New Zealand is long overdue and these recommendations have come as a result of many years of work by intersex people and advocates. It is now important that government take these recommendations seriously and act on them.”

“This is a clear pathway for New Zealand and a milestone moment for intersex New Zealanders and their families,” said Mani Mitchelll, Intersex Trust New Zealand’s Executive Director.

“We call on Government to listen to the United Nations and act on these recommendations.”

In Geneva overnight, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child called on the New Zealand 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

At an Intersex Roundtable, organised by ITANZ and the Commission in April this year, representatives from community organisations, universities, medical practitioner organisations and government agreed to work toward the establishment of the National Intersex Multi-Sectoral Expert Advisory Group. An approach will now be made to the Director General of Health to progress this.

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