Intersex rights put in the spotlight by Council of Europe

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The Council of Europe has published a report on the experiences of intersex people across the continent.

The paper is intended to provide governments and agencies with information on improving the lives of intersex people. It details historical negative experiences, as well as recent positive improvements.

An analysis report by the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) suggests legislation to protect and empower intersex people.

Malta was recently commended for becoming the first country to outlaw unnecessary surgery on intersex babies, as well as passing some of the most progressive laws on the rights of intersex and trans people.

Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights said in a statement about the report: “Europeans remain largely unaware of the painful personal histories of intersex people and the human rights violations they face.

“Stereotypes and norms grounded on the binary female-male classification have led to unnecessary medical and surgical interventions on intersex infants and a climate of incomprehension in society. It is time to address this unacceptable situation.”

IGLA-Europe, who work to promote intersex rights in Europe, commended the report. Executive Director Evelyne Paradis said: “The report today is the result of the Council of Europe’s political commitment to put intersex on the European agenda.

“The most important message for me coming from the Council of Europe and the FRA report, is that policy makers should no longer speak about intersex people in their absence, but support activists and the intersex movement to speak for themselves and be consulted when it comes to legislation and policies that concerns their fundamental rights and well-being.”

The full report can be read here.

This video discusses the experiences of a group of intersex people.