The side event, taking place during the 44th 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 had adopted in its spring session in 2019 on Elimination of discrimination against women and girls in sport.
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 colour 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 that had brought together experts worldwide. Together, these two documents are important milestones towards ensuring protection of the rights of persons with diverse sex characteristics in the international human rights system.