2018 CRC Belgium NGO (for Session) Intersex IGM

NGO Report (for Session) to the 5th and 6th Report of Belgium on the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

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Compiled by:
Thierry Bosman
StopIGM.org / Zwischengeschlecht.org
Endorsed by:
Intersex Belgium

CRC Chronology Belgium 2018-19

2018 CRC Belgium NGO (for PSWG) Intersex IGM

In March 2018, the initial Thematic Intersex NGO Report (for PSWG) (PDF) provided solid evidence of ongoing IGM practices in Belgium, advocated and paid for by the State party. In addition, it showed that also children from neighbouring Luxembourg are sent to Belgium for IGM practices.

In June 2018 during the CRC80 Pre-Sessional Working Group, the Committee heard NGOs in a private meeting. From the Joint Intersex PSWG NGO Statement 04.06.2018:

[...] As our NGO report proves, today Intersex Genital Mutilations are still practiced in Belgium, paid for by the public health system. And also intersex children from Luxembourg are sent to Belgium for surgery. [...] What’s more, it is my understanding that the Ghent university hospital is actively recruiting foreign intersex children from waiting lists of NHS clinics in the UK, including children from Malta. [...]

The Committee then drafted the List of Issues (LOI) with questions for Belgium, which was published in July 2018 and includes a good question on intersex and IGM (CRC/C/BEL/Q/5-6, para 8):

8. [...] With respect to paragraphs 133 to 135 of the State party’s report, please provide information on the progress made in eliminating harmful practices such as female and intersex genital mutilation and child marriage.

In Belgium's written answers to the LOI in writing published in November 2018, the State party replied (CRC/C/BEL/Q/5-6/Add.1, [between paras 57 and 58]):

[Unofficial English] Intersex children

• Study (federal, 2016) on terminology and care discourse concerning intersex people in Belgium. Afterwards, a study on the living situation of these people (Flanders).

• Support for the creation of a website for people born with atypical sexual characteristics by Flanders.

• Federal funding for the development of information kits for intersex children and parents.

• Subsidy to associations fighting against genital mutilation of intersex children, such as Genres pluriels.

[Original French] Enfants intersexes

• Etude (fédérale, 2016) sur la terminologie et le discours de prise en charge concernant les personnes intersexes en Belgique. Ensuite, étude sur la situation de vie de ces personnes (Flandre).

• Soutien à la création d’un site web concernant les personnes nées avec des caractéristiques sexuelles atypiques par la Flandre.

• Financement fédéral de l’élaboration de trousses d’information adressées aux enfants intersexes et aux parents.

• Subvention d’associations luttant contre les mutilations génitales des enfants intersexes, telles Genres pluriels.

2018 CRC Belgium NGO (for Session) Intersex IGM Above December 2018 follow-up Thematic Intersex NGO Report (for Session) (PDF) documents recent developments including also children from Luxembourg and Malta submitted to IGM in Belgium (p. 7), Belgian hospitals involved in international IGM networks (p. 7-8), and how Belgian government bodies, in the name of promoting "Rights of intersex people", in fact further promote and subsidise IGM practicioners and their institutions (p. 8-10); and it investigates the claims made by Belgium in its answers to the LOI (p. 11-14). The submitted version of the Report also contains a personal testimony of an IGM survivor (not included in the public version).

During the 80th CRC Session in Geneva, on 24-25 January 2019 the Committee examined the human rights record of Belgium including strong questions on intersex and IGM, archived on webtv.un.org:
   Session 1: Thu 24 January 2019, 15-18h Report | Video
   Session 2: Fr 25 January 2019, 10-13h Report | Video
  
When CRC asked about harmful practices on intersex children,
   Belgium replied it's "medical treatment" , NOT a human rights issue ...

   >>> CRC80 Belgium Session Report, Transcripts, Videos

In February 2019 the CRC will publish its Concluding observations with binding recommendations for Belgium – hopefully followed by yet another strong reprimand for IGM practices for Belgium!