International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

Portugal (CCPR 28-04-2020)

The Human Rights Committee considered the fifth periodic report of Portugal (CCPR/C/PRT/RQ/5) at its 3696th and 3697th meetings (see CCPR/C/SR.3696 and 3697), held on 5 and 6 March 2020. On 27 March 2020, the Committee adopted the present concluding observations.

Concluding observations

B. Positive aspects

  1. The Committee welcomes the adoption by the State party of the following legislative and policy measures:

(a) The establishment of the Transparency Entity, an independent body within the Constitutional Court, which is responsible for assessing and supervising the income declarations, assets and interests of political office holders and high-ranking public officials (Organic Law No. 4/2019 of 13 September 2019);

(b) Organic Law No. 1/2019 of 29 March 2019, which raised from 33.3 per cent to 40 per cent the minimum threshold of women in electoral lists to the national and European parliaments, elective bodies of municipalities, and members of the Parish Councils;

(c) Law 26/2019 of 28 March 2019, which established a minimum 40 per cent threshold of women among top civil servants in public administration, and in public higher education institutions and public associations;

(d) Law No. 38/2018 of 7 August 2018, on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons;

(e) Law No. 93/2017 of 23 August 2017, on the prevention, prohibition and combat of discrimination based on racial and ethnic origin, colour, nationality, descent and place of origin;

(f) Law No. 94/2017 of 23 August 2017, which introduced the possibility of enforcing prison sentences up to 2 years through house arrest with electronic monitoring;

(g) The Action Plan on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (2018–2030).

C. Principal matters of concern and recommendations

Sexual orientation, gender identity and intersexuality

  1. While welcoming the recent adoption of Law No. 38/2018, the Committee notes with concern reports that children born with intersex traits are sometimes subjected to invasive and irreversible medical procedures aimed at assigning them with a sex, that such actions are often based on a stereotyped vision of gender roles and that they are carried out before the persons in question are of an age to give their free and informed consent (arts. 3, 7, 9, 17, 24 and 26).
  2. The State party should strengthen the measures to end the performance of irreversible medical acts, especially surgical operations, on intersex children who are not yet capable of giving their free and informed consent, except in cases where such interventions are absolutely necessary for medical reasons.
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