Statement of the Commission on Human Rights welcoming the landmark resolution of the UN Human Rights Council to protect rights of intersex people

Statement of the Commission on Human Rights welcoming the landmark resolution of the UN Human Rights Council to protect rights of intersex people

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is one with the United Nations in affirming the rights of intersex people, through the Human Rights Council’s recently adopted resolution which calls on Member States to work on implementing reforms which focus on the visibility of the sector and to promote medical and mental health services that cater to their specific needs.

The UN Resolution acknowledges that intersex people are often subjected to stigma and discrimination, which lead to an array of human rights violations. This landmark move primarily recognizes the need for both local and global efforts to strengthen efforts towards combating “discrimination, violence and harmful practices against persons with innate variations in sex characteristics,” while addressing the root causes of discrimination against intersex people.[1]

People born with intersex traits are those that do not fit the binary notions of male or female bodies, thus their increased vulnerabilities to specific human rights abuses. Some of these are: infanticide, forced and coercive medical interventions, discrimination in education, sport, employment and other services, and lack of access to justice and remedies, including legal recognition.[2]

It must be noted that groups all over the world and the UN have long been working on various initiatives to further emphasise on the international human rights norms, standards, and recommendations based on existing mechanisms and practices of States in relation to the rights of intersex persons. The UN Resolution, therefore stands as a visible indication that developments on a broader gender discourse have become more directed towards ensuring the overall welfare of all.

This resolution stands parallel to the current stance of the Commission which commends the Philippine government for the release of Executive Order No. 51, creating the special committee on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual affairs.[3] We are more than certain that the UN Resolution will bolster the Philippines’ efforts towards ensuring that an extensive and unified strategy across the country will take place in protecting and promoting the rights of the intersex people. The CHR believes that the internalisation of norms across communities can effectively take place if both national and international policy frameworks intersect with the principles of each other.

The Commission is in high hopes that this resolution will bring forth collaborative efforts by key stakeholders towards ending discriminatory policies, violence, and harmful practices being committed against intersex persons, and the LGBTQI community in general. As an affirmation of our mantra as a people’s Commission for all, “CHR ng Lahat: Naglilingkod maging sino ka man,” we will continue to fulfil our mandate in upholding the rights and dignity of every Filipino, without any prejudice to their gender identity, social status, or individual circumstances.

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[1] United Nations Resolution A/HRC/55/L.9, Combating discrimination, violence and harmful practices against intersex persons | 21 March 2024 https://documents.un.org/doc/undoc/ltd/g24/048/06/pdf/g2404806.pdf?token=I9eFQTPtXUS2LoxRlN&fe=true

[2] United Nations, Intersex People https://www.ohchr.org/en/sexual-orientation-and-gender-identity/intersex-people

[3] Statement of the Commission on Human Rights on the Executive Order creating a special committee on LGBTQIA+ affairs | 08 January 2024 https://chr.gov.ph/statement-of-the-commission-on-human-rights-on-the-executive-order-creating-a-special-committee-on-lgbtqia-affairs/