Statement by the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Follow-up and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action

General Debate - Item 8

I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of 33 states.

The Vienna Declaration states that human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated. The VDPA makes clear that “every person is born equal and has the same rights to life and welfare, education and work, living independently and active participation in all aspects of society”. However, intersex people - that is, individuals who are born with sex characteristics that do not fit the typical definition of male or female bodies - continue to face serious and widespread human rights violations and abuses.

In many countries around the world, intersex people are subjected to medically unnecessary surgeries, hormonal treatments and other procedures in an attempt to change their appearance to be in line with gendered societal expectations of male and female bodies without their full and informed consent.

Intersex persons are often denied full access to their medical records.

Throughout their lives, people with diverse sex characteristics face discrimination in all areas of life, such as access to education, health, employment and sports, among others, as well as restrictions on the exercise of legal capacity and in access to remedies and justice.

The root causes of these human rights violations and abuses include harmful stereotypes, spread of inaccurate information, stigma, taboos, and pathologization.

It is high time this Council address human rights and abuses violations against intersex people and their root causes.

Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the inequalities already faced by intersex people.

We call on governments as a matter of urgency, to protect the autonomy of intersex adults and children and their rights to health, and to physical and mental integrity so that they live free from violence and harmful practices.

Governments should investigate human rights violations and abuses against intersex people, ensure accountability, reverse discriminatory laws and provide victims with access to remedy.

We encourage Governments to work in collaboration with intersex-led organizations in raising awareness and understanding about the human rights of intersex people.