Children born with sex characteristics that do not fit with female or male norms risk being subjected to a range of unnecessary, invasive and traumatizing medical procedures in violation of their human rights, said Amnesty International in a report launched today.
Using case studies in Denmark and Germany, ‘First, Do No Harm’ shows how outdated gender stereotypes are resulting in non-emergency, invasive and irreversible surgical interventions on children who are intersex – the term commonly used for individuals with variations of sex characteristics such as chromosomes, genitals and reproductive organs.
“These so-called ‘normalising’ procedures are being carried out without full knowledge of the potentially harmful long-term effects they are having on children,” said Laura Carter, researcher on sexual orientation and gender identity at Amnesty International.
Following the attack in Berlin yesterday, Markus N. Beeko, Amnesty International Germany’s Secretary General said:
“Amnesty International condemns the dreadful attack on the Christmas market in Berlin. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families. It is now essential to counter violence and hatred with solidarity and the rule of law.”
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Failed responses to the sharp increase in hate crimes across Germany – including attacks on shelters for asylum-seekers – expose the need to urgently step up protection and launch an independent inquiry into possible bias within the country’s law enforcement agencies, said Amnesty International in a report released today.
The report, Living in insecurity: How Germany is failing victims of hate crimes, details how 16 times as many crimes were reported against asylum shelters in 2015 (1,031) as in 2013 (63). More generally, racist violent crimes against racial, ethnic and religious minorities increased by 87% from 693 crimes in 2013 to 1,295 crimes in 2015.
“With hate crimes on the rise in Germany, long-standing and well-documented shortcomings in the response of law enforcement agencies to racist violence must be addressed,” said Marco Perolini, Amnesty International’s EU Researcher.
By Lorna Hayes and Khairunissa Dhala from Amnesty’s refugee and migrants’ rights team at Amnesty's International Secretariat
Said and his partner Jamal – who is living with HIV – fled Syria after being tortured for their political activism. They are excited about starting a new life in the capital, Berlin, after being resettled there.
“We were so happy that we cried,” says Jamal* about the moment he and his partner Said* found out that Germany had opened its doors to them.
“It was a moment of victory,” Jamal continues. “We were shocked that we were accepted for resettlement so quickly, [after just] six months.”
They were lucky – many other refugees who qualify for resettlement wait much longer for that all-important phone call to say they can settle down for good somewhere peaceful and safe.
A new home in Berlin