Chilean Government Stops the 'Normalization' of Intersex Children

In a major victory for intersex rights, the Chilean Ministry of Health has ordered the suspension of "normalizing" treatments for intersex children, including irreversible surgery, until they reach an age when they can make decisions on their own.

“This executive order that came before any existing legislation on the topic shows a deep commitment by the Chilean government to the human rights of intersex people.” said María Mercedes Gómez, Regional Program Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean at OutRight. “It means intersex children will have the freedom to choose their own path in life and are not subject to irreversible and mutilating interventions.. "Progress of this kind would not be possible without the incredible work of activists. They deserve our congratulations and support."

Activists such as Andrés Rivera Duarte and Camilo Godoy from the Observatorio de Legislación y Derechos Humanos were the force behind this important step. In October 2015, OutRight and the Observatorio presented a shadow report before the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in Geneva. The report urged that the situation for trans and intersex children be addressed as “a cross-cutting issue relevant to substantive rights protection.”

The CRC, in the concluding observations, reviewed the report’s recommendations and expressed its concern on the rights of intersex children:

“… the Committee is seriously concerned about cases of medically unnecessary and irreversible surgery and other treatment on intersex children, without their informed consent, which can cause severe suffering, and the lack of redress and compensation in such cases.”