Hong Kong, China (CAT 03-02-2016)
The Committee against Torture considered the fifth periodic report of Hong Kong, China (CAT/C/CHN-HKG/5) at its 1368th and 1371st meetings (see CAT/C/SR.1368 and 1371), held on 17 and 18 November 2015, and adopted the present concluding observations at its 1392 and 1393 meetings, held on 3 December 2015
Transgender and intersex persons
- While welcoming the set-up of an interdepartmental working group on gender recognition (see para. 5 (e) above), the Committee is concerned about reports that transgender persons are required to have completed sex-reassignment surgery, which includes the removal of reproductive organs, sterilization and genital reconstruction, in order to obtain legal recognition of their gender identity. The Committee is also concerned that intersex children are subjected to unnecessary and irreversible surgery to determine their sex at an early stage. Furthermore, the Committee is concerned at the long-term physical and psychological suffering caused by such practices (arts. 10, 12, 14 and 16).
- Hong Kong, China should:
(a) Take the necessary legislative, administrative and other measures to guarantee respect for the autonomy and physical and psychological integrity of transgender and intersex persons, including by removing abusive preconditions for the legal recognition of the gender identity of transgender persons, such as sterilization;
(b) Guarantee impartial counselling services for all intersex children and their parents, so as to inform them of the consequences of unnecessary and non-urgent surgery and other medical treatment to decide on the sex of the child and the possibility of postponing any decision on such treatment or surgery until the persons concerned can decide by themselves;
(c) Guarantee that full, free and informed consent is ensured in connection with medical and surgical treatments for intersex persons and that non-urgent, irreversible medical interventions are postponed until a child is sufficiently mature to participate in decision-making and give full, free and informed consent;
(d) Provide adequate redress for the physical and psychological suffering caused by such practices to some intersex persons.