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NZ questioned on rights of intersex children at UN CRC

Mon 19 Sep 2016 In: Our Communities View at Wayback View at NDHA

Last week representatives of the New Zealand government were questioned at the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in regards to the rights and care of intersex children. The questioning highlighted New Zealand's lack of legislative framework to prevent intersex genital mutilation and the official government stance on some of these issues.   Questioned by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child for the fifth periodic report of New Zealand at the at the 73rd Session of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, New Zealand representatives answered questions relating to the rights of children over three sessions held last week. The New Zealand delegation included Minister for Social Development Anne Toley and Ministry of Health Chief Advisor Dr Patrick Tuohy. Questions by the CRC country rapporteurs included a line a questioning relating to intersex children and surgery. Documented in an unofficial transcript of the panel, written by, CRC expert and Vice-Chairperson Ms. Amal Salman Aldoseri asked the panel what efforts were being made “to legally prohibit the practice of genital normalisation surgery on intersex children, until they reach an age, where they can give their view on an informed consent, and what social support services and accompanying financial allocations are made available to intersex children and their families? And what educational programs are available for intersex children and their families, as well [as] for other children on intersexuality?” Dr Tuohy replied that New Zealand does not currently have a legislative framework to prevent intersex genital mutilation and that “there is no plans in place for that at the present time”. He highlighted the multidisciplinary network of surgeons and endocrinologists “who discuss all cases related to gender” and says between 20 and 30 children each year relate to these discussions. “The information from hospital coding records show that no surgery has taken place in New Zealand related to gender reassignment from the time 2006,” he said. “In social support services to intersex children and their families the parents are given a chance from within the commissions involved in that network to talk to other parents and family members of children with intersex conditions and the entire family is offered peer support.” Aldoseri asked a follow-up question in the second session, which was answered the following day by Dr Tuohy. Aldoseri asked the panel if the “New Zealand government provided funding for genital normalisation surgeries outside of NZ on intersex children of course, and were the funds for these surgeries come from the special High-Cost Treatment Poll? If so, can you give us a number of these surgeries conducted outside?” In the third session, Dr Tuohy responded stating that “NZ is of course aware of that historically there had been cases of early gender assignment, as was the current medical approach some decades ago. “But health officials are not aware of any incidence of this in recent years.” He went on to say “The current international and New Zealand consensus is that all none non-essential treatment in children with disorders of sexual development, which is the preferred name rather than intersex, should wait until the person with the DSD condition is older and can consent. “When this cannot be the case, when an urgent surgery might need to be required, decisions about surgery made by the parents and extended family in consultation with medical doctors involved. Now, New Zealand does not have a legal or regular [undiscernible] framework in place for gender assignment surgery for children with DSD, as we believe that our results demonstrate that we have effectively addressed this issue through the processes that we have in place.” He went on to talk about the High-Cost Treatment Pole regarding gender reassignment surgeries for adults which is administered the the Ministry of Health and limited to those over 18 years of age. Daily News staff - 19th September 2016    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Monday, 19th September 2016 - 4:11pm

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