UN secures major victory for intersex rights with new resolutions

The United Nations Human Rights Council has passed a revolutionary resolution affirming the rights of intersex persons. 

The resolution, titled “Combating Discrimination, Violence and Harmful Practices Against Intersex Persons,” acknowledges the presence of intersex individuals in all societies and highlights the various forms of discrimination they may face in areas such as education, health, employment, and legal rights.

The resolution expresses grave concern over harmful practices, including medically unnecessary interventions performed on intersex individuals without their full and informed consent. It calls attention to the irreversible nature of such interventions, especially when performed on children without complying with international child rights standards.

Call for action

The resolution urges the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to compile a comprehensive report on the prevalence and consequences of discrimination and violence against intersex persons. Scheduled for review in September 2025, this report will provide recommendations for improving the lives of intersex individuals and promoting their physical and mental well-being.

“The adoption of the first-ever resolution on the Rights of Intersex Persons at #HRC55 marks a landmark advancement in human rights. The U.S. proudly co-sponsored this initiative and extends its gratitude to Finland, South Africa, Chile, & Australia for leading this vital effort. ” –US Ambassador Michele Taylor on X. 

Intersex traits, impacting approximately 1.7% of the population, have often led to controversial medical interventions, with surgeons performing “normalising” procedures since the 1950s. Despite growing consensus against these surgeries, some parents still face pressure to opt for them, particularly for young children unable to participate in the decision-making process.

Why this matters

The resolution represents a significant milestone in international organisations’ recognition of intersex rights. It underscores the need to end harmful practices and ensure that intersex individuals can make informed decisions about their bodies as they grow up.

“This resolution signals growing international resolve to address rights violations experienced by people born with variations in their sex characteristics.” – Human Rights Watch.

Thirty-five civil society organisations have welcomed the resolution, emphasising its potential to raise awareness and spur action on intersex rights at a global level. The resolution, put forward by Australia, Finland, South Africa, and Chile, received widespread support, reflecting a growing consensus on the importance of upholding intersex rights worldwide.


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