PRESS STATEMENT IN COMMEMORATION OF INTERNATIONAL INTERSEX AWARENESS DAY
26TH OCTOBER 2019
‘Undertaking Evidence Based Interventions for Inclusion’
26th of October 2019 marks the beginning of a two-week awareness campaign on the rights of intersex persons worldwide. As Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF), we commemorate this day by calling upon key stakeholders, and the public at large, to accord due attention to the existence and rights of intersex persons in Uganda.
Intersex persons are those with atypical reproductive and sexual systems. What this means is that their sex characterization cannot be typified as either ‘male’ or ‘female,’ in accordance with the gender definition and standards of society, which renders them vulnerable.
HRAPF, in commemoration of International Intersex Awareness Day, has released a study conducted in collaboration with Support Initiative for People with congenital Disorders (SIPD) titled ‘Impact of the Legal and Policy Framework on the Rights of Intersex Persons in Uganda’. The report shows that intersex persons face violations of their human rights in various spheres of life; with the rights of intersex children being violated the most. Right from birth, intersex children often face severe rejection from their parents, families and the broader community. The right to education is a key concern for children as many suffer ridicule and bullying that leads them to drop out of school. The unregulated medical practices relating to intersex children, as well as the gender binaries of male/female, which exclude intersex persons, makes them susceptible to inhuman and degrading treatment.
With the exception of the Registration of Persons Act 2015, the legal and policy framework in Uganda offers minimal protection for intersex persons, which makes them more vulnerable to human rights violations. It does not categorically protect them from violence; neither does it guide the government ministries, departments and agencies on how to address the existing structural barriers to the realisation of the rights of intersex persons. The deficiency in Uganda’s legal and policy framework with regard to intersex persons can be attributed to the fact that the law and policy-makers are neither aware of the size of the intersex population, nor of the most pressing challenges that they face in everyday life.
We appreciate efforts of Ministry of Health in that the Technical Working Group on Maternal and Child Health has commissioned an expert team of paediatricians, surgeons and members of civil society to develop a policy guideline on treating intersex patients. The expert team was tasked to develop a document, which will be able to guide clinicians in the classification of intersex conditions and also to put a referral system for intersex patients in place. The eventual adoption of such a policy guideline would facilitate awareness raising, which would also address and combat stigma.
We call upon the government of Uganda to continue to take progressive steps towards the protection of intersex persons.
Taking Human Rights to All