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HRC 44 Side Event: Intersex rights at the Human Rights Council

  • Online
  • 14th July 2020, 13:30 CET

Join us on 14 July for the Human Rights Council side event discussing human rights violations against intersex persons.

  • Published
  • 13 July 2020
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This side event, taking place during the 44th session of the Human Rights Council, seeks to discuss human rights violations against intersex persons, unpack the mechanisms that lead to discrimination and violence of intersex persons in all spheres of life – including in sports, and discuss possible ways forward towards better and more specific protections on persons with diverse sex characteristics in the international human rights framework.

In this 44th session, the Human Rights Council will receive and discuss the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights report on the “Intersection of race and gender discrimination in sport”. The report responds to a historic resolution the HRC adopted in its spring session in 2019 on the Elimination of discrimination against women and girls in sports. The resolution had been introduced by South Africa and called upon states to “ensure that sporting associations and bodies implement policies and practices in accordance with international human rights norms and standards” and requested the above-mentioned report from the OHCHR.

Current norms, policies and practices of international sporting associations force, coerce or otherwise pressure women and girl athletes with diverse sex characteristics into undergoing unnecessary, humiliating and harmful medical procedures in order to participate in women’s events in competitive sports. Those policies and practices negate women’s rights to bodily integrity and autonomy and have, in recent years, predominantly affected women of color from the global south in competing internationally.

In 2019, the High Commissioner for Human Rights published the Background Note on Human Rights Violations against Intersex People. The publication presented the findings of an expert meeting held under the auspices of Prince Zeid in 2015 that had brought together Intersex experts from across the globe.

On the occasion of the presentation of the report of the High Commissioner to the Human Rights Council, this side event seeks to discuss intersex issues in the context of the Human Rights Council more broadly.

Together with the Background Note on Human Rights Violations against Intersex People launched last year, these two documents are important milestones towards ensuring the protection of the rights of persons with diverse sex characteristics in the international human rights system.


  • Tony Briffa, Chair of the Intersex Committee of ILGA World

Opening remarks by:

  • Permanent Mission of Austria
  • Permanent Mission of South Africa


  • Kalekye Kyalo, Associate Human Rights Officer at OHCHR
  • Hana Aoi, Vivir Intersex
  • Nthabiseng Mokoena, Intersex activist, South Africa
  • Katrina Karkazis, Human rights expert and Senior Research Fellow of the Global Health Justice Partnership at the Yale University
  • Gopi Shankar Madurai, member of the ILGA Asia Intersex Committee
  • Mphatso Sakala, Intersex Zambia and intern of ILGA World

More speakers to be confirmed

The event is co-organised by:

ILGA World; GATE; OII Europe; SIPD Uganda; Intersex Human Rights Australia; Intersex Asia

The event is co-sponsored by:

Permanent Mission of Austria; Permanent Mission of South Africa; United Nations Human Rights – Office of the High Commissioner

Watch the webinar recording