Article 9 Protection of the rights of the child

Reaffirming the need for the protection of the rights of the child

(a) “In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.’’ (Article 3 (1) UNCRC). States should recognize that medical interventions aimed at the ‘gender reassignment’ of children by the use of puberty supressing drugs, cross-sex hormones and surgery do not serve the best interests of children. Children are not developmentally competent to give full, free and informed consent to such medical interventions, which carry a high risk of long-term adverse consequences to the physical and psychological health of the child, and which may result in permanent adverse consequences, such as sterility. States should prohibit the use of such medical interventions upon children.

(b) States should recognize that medical interventions aimed at the ‘gender reassignment’ of children by the use of drugs and surgery are emerging harmful practices as defined by Part V of the Joint General Recommendation No.31 of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women/General Comment No. 18 of the Committee on the Rights of the Child on harmful practices.

(c) States should establish data collection and monitoring processes in relation to these practices, and enact and implement legislation aimed at eliminating them. States’ provisions should include legal protection and appropriate care for children harmed by such practices, and the availability of redress and reparations.

(d) States should ‘‘recognize the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health.’’ (UNCRC, Article 24). This should include protection of the healthy body of the child from the use of drugs or surgery to effect ‘gender reassignment’ treatment.

(e) States should “ensure that the institutions, services and facilities responsible for the care or protection of children shall conform with the standards established by competent authorities, particularly in the areas of safety and health.’’ (UNCRC, Article 3). This should include preventing organizations that promote the concept of ‘gender identity’, or constituencies that have no clinical expertise or child psychology background, from influencing health services for children.

(f) States should ‘‘respect the responsibilities, rights and duties of parents or, where applicable, legal guardians or other persons legally responsible for the child, to provide, in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child, appropriate direction and guidance in the exercise by the child of the rights recognized in the present Convention.’’ (UNCRC, Article 5). States should prohibit state agencies, public and private bodies, medical practitioners, and other child welfare professionals from taking any action which seeks to compel parents to consent to medical or other interventions aimed at changing the ‘gender identities’ of their children.

(g) States should ‘‘recognize the right of the child to education, with a view to achieving this right progressively and on the basis of equal opportunity.’’ (UNCRC, Article 28). This should include the right of the child to the development of school curricula which are materially accurate about human biology and reproduction, and include information about the human rights of people of diverse sexual orientations, taking into account the evolving capacity and psychological developmental stages of the child.

(h) States should ensure inclusion in teacher training and continuing professional development programmes of accurate material about human biology and reproduction, and information about the human rights of people of diverse sexual orientations, which should include the challenging of sex stereotypes and of homophobia.

(i) States ‘‘agree that the education of the child shall be directed to the preparation of the child for responsible life in a free society, in the spirit of understanding, peace, tolerance, and equality of sexes.’’ (UNCRC, Article 29). This should include measures to ensure that organizations are not allocated state funding to promote sex stereotyping and the concept of ‘gender identity’ in educational institutions, as this constitutes the promotion of discrimination against women and girls.

(j) States ‘‘shall protect the child against all forms of exploitation prejudicial to any aspects of the child’s welfare.’’ (UNCRC, Article 36). This should include effective and appropriate legal measures with a view to abolishing: traditional and emerging practices which enforce sex role stereotypes on girls and boys; diagnosing and treating children as having been ‘born in the wrong body’ when they do not conform to traditional sex role stereotypes; identifying young people who are same sex attracted as suffering from gender dysphoria; and using medical interventions on children which may result in their sterilization or other permanent harms.


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