UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Switzerland (CAT 07-09-2015)

The Committee against Torture considered the seventh periodic report of Switzerland (CAT/C/CHE/7) at its 1336th and 1339th meetings, held on 3 and 4 August 2015 (see CAT/C/SR.1336 and 1339), and adopted the following concluding observations at its 1352nd meeting, held on 13 August 2015.

Concluding observations

Intersex persons

  1. The Committee welcomes the Federal Council decision to give an opinion by the end of 2015 on the recommendations of the National Advisory Commission on Biomedical Ethics with regard to the unnecessary and in some cases irreversible surgical procedures that have been carried out on intersex persons (i.e. persons with variations in sexual anatomy) without the effective, informed consent of those concerned. However, the Committee notes with concern that these procedures, which reportedly caused physical and psychological suffering, have not as yet given rise to any inquiry, sanction or reparation (arts. 2, 12, 14 and 16).

The Committee recommends that, in light of the forthcoming decision by the Federal Council, the State party:

(a) Take the necessary legislative, administrative and other measures to guarantee respect for the physical integrity and autonomy of intersex persons and to ensure that no one is subjected during infancy or childhood to non-urgent medical or surgical procedures intended to decide the sex of the child, as recommended by the National Advisory Commission on Biomedical Ethics and the Committee on the Rights of the Child (see CRC/C/CHE/CO/2-4, para. 43 (b));

(b) Guarantee counselling services and free psychosocial support for all persons concerned and their parents, and inform them that any decision on unnecessary treatment can be put off until the person concerned are able to decide for themselves;

(c) Undertake investigation of reports of surgical and other medical treatment of intersex people without effective consent and adopt legal provisions in order to provide redress to the victims of such treatment, including adequate compensation.

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