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

The Netherlands (CAT 18-12-2018)

The Committee against Torture considered the seventh periodic report of the Netherlands (CAT/C/NLD/7) at its 1693rd and 1696th meetings (see CAT/C/SR.1693 and 1696), held on 20 and 21 November 2018, and adopted the present concluding observations at its 1712th and 1715th meetings, held on 3 and 5 December 2018.

Concluding observations

Intersex persons

  1. The State party is concerned at reports that unnecessary and irreversible surgery and other medical treatments are performed on intersex children without their informed consent and impartial counselling. It is concerned that such procedures, which cause long-term physical and psychological suffering, have not been the object of any inquiry, sanction or reparation and that there are no specific legal provisions providing redress and rehabilitation to the victims.
  2. The State party should:

(a) Take the legislative, administrative and other measures necessary 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 without his or her informed consent;

(b) Guarantee impartial counselling services and psychological and social support 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 effective consent;

(d) Undertake investigation of instances of surgical interventions or other medical procedures performed on intersex persons without effective consent and prosecute and, if found responsible, punish perpetrators. It should also ensure that the victims are provided with redress including adequate compensation.

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