Resolution by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

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Resolution no. 1952 (2013) 'Children's right to bodily integrity'[1] of the Parliament Assembly of the Council of Europe, which includes the issue of physical integrity of intersex children for the first time, was adopted on October 1, 2013 following an iniative of the German SPD politician Marlene Rupprecht.

The resolution includes other topics such as the female genital mutilation, the male circumcision for religious reasons, and the submission or coercion of a child to piercings, tattoos or cosmetic surgery.

The resolution calls on all member States to "examine the prevalence of different categories of non-medically justified operations and interventions impacting on the physical integrity of children in their respective countries, as well as the specific practices related to them, and to carefully consider them in light of the best interests of the child in order to define specific lines of action for each of them; initiate focused awareness-raising measures for each of these categories of violation of the physical integrity of children, to be carried out in the specific contexts where information may best be conveyed to families, such as the medical sector (hospitals and individual practitioners), schools, religious communities or service providers; [...]."

This first resolution of its kind by a European institution is not legally binding, but an important signal for further debate. It shifts the approach of the point of view of the topic from the current medical domain towards a human rights approach and identifies the right to bodily integrity, autonomy and self-determination. It calls the end of cosmetical medical and surgical interventions.

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