GATE Statement on the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

GATE  marks today the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, proclaimed on December 12, 1997, by the UN General Assembly.[1]. We stand in solidarity with all victims, calling for the effective implementation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

On this Day, GATE reaffirms its full commitment with the prevention and eradications of all forms of ill-treatment and torture taking place in healthcare settings, including those affecting intersex, and gender diverse and trans people.

All around the world intersex newborns, infants, children and adolescents are routinely subjected to medically unnecessary and unconsented interventions, including invasive exploration and exposure, genital mutilation and other forms of genital cutting, and sterilization. Survivors live with chronic pain, insensitivity, bleeding and infections, metabolic imbalances, massive internal and external scarring, trauma and depression. [2]

Trans people are routinely subjected to stigma, discrimination and violence in healthcare settings, including denial of care and abandonment, harassment and mistreatment. Trans people of color, trans sex workers, trans people with HIV, trans people in prison and trans migrants are particularly vulnerable to these human rights violations.[3] Gender diverse people, regardless of their gender identity and/or embodiment, frequently face the same challenges, multiplied by the normalizing practices taken place in healthcare settings. These situations are extremely dangerous for children and adolescents, and those people facing sexual and/or reproductive issues including rape and abortion.[4]

Many intersex, and gender diverse and trans people have also been victims of ill-treatment and torture in mental health care facilities or when trying to access mental health care, even when they seeking counselling, support and treatment to overcome the extremely negative consequences of the human rights violations perpetrated against them.[5] The pathologization of bodily, expressive and gender diversity reinforces and justifies repeated victimization in healthcare settings, forcing victims into an inescapable reality.

GATE calls today for the elimination of gradualist approaches to the eradication of torture in healthcare settings, for the full investigation of human rights violations, including ill-treatment and torture, committed against intersex, and gender diverse and trans people, for the full accountability of perpetrators, regardless of their professional status as physicians, psychiatrists, nurses and/or researchers, and for the full access of all victims to adequate reparations.

In solidarity,

The GATE team


[1] Resolution  A/RES/52/149

[2] Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment, Juan Mendez, A/HRC/22/53. See also http://stop.genitalmutilation.org/ for a comprehensive list of CAT references to intersex genital mutilation and upcoming actions on torture against intersex people.

[3] Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment, Juan Mendez of the A/HRC/28/68. . See also Torture in Healthcare settings. Reflections on the Special Rapporteur on Torture’s 2013 Thematic Report.

[4] WHO Report on Sexual Health, human Rights and the law.

[5] Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, Dainius Pūras A/HRC/35/21