The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria welcomes the adoption of  a resolution on ‘Combating discrimination, violence and harmful practices against intersex persons’ by the United Nations Human Rights Council during its 55th Session on 4 April 2024. Resolution #HRC55 is timely and important in so far as it recognises the discrimination, violence and harm that intersex persons are  commonly subjected to  because of  harmful stereotypes, stigma, taboos, as well inaccurate information and misconceptions about persons with innate variations in sex characteristics.

The adoption of the resolution compels member states to enhance efforts to combat the direct and indirect discrimination faced by intersex persons, in order to facilitate their enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.

The resolution, spearheaded by Finland, South Africa, Chile and Australia, was not opposed,but 23 states abstained whilst 24 voted for its adoption. The abstention by almost half of the members of the Human Rights Council speaks to the apathy  by many states  to recognise and affirm the rights of intersex individuals. According to the United Nations about 1.7% of the population is born with intersex characteristics.

Resolution #HRC 55 mirrors the African regional Resolution 552 on ‘the promotion and protection of the Rights of Intersex Persons in Africa’, which was adopted by the African Commission at its 74th Ordinary Session which took place between 21 February to 7 March 2023. Both resolutions reaffirm the human rights of intersex persons as provided in regional and international human rights instruments.

The Centre calls on states and non-state actors to commit to implementing the provisions of both resolutions at the domestic level by incorporating them in national legislation in order to safeguard the rights of intersex persons.

For more information, please contact:

Mx Chanel van der Linde
Project Officer: SOGIESC Unit

Tel: +27 (0) 12 420 3151

Ms Naledi Mpanza (she/her)
LGBTQIA+ Officer

Tel: +27 (0) 12 420 3151


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