Whereas it is the fundamental and inherent right of each human being to security of the person without regard to age, sex, gender, ethnicity or religion as articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Now we declare the existence of a fundamental right of each human being a Right of Genital Autonomy, that is the right to:
We declare that consistent with the Right of Genital Autonomy the only person who may consent to medically unnecessary genital modification and other irreversible reproductive interventions is:
We recognise the fundamental right of parents and guardians to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. Those rights of parents and guardians are not absolute, they are limited by the same fundamental human rights of others, in particular their children.
We declare that healthy genital and reproductive organs are natural, normal, functional parts of the human body. Governments and healthcare providers have a duty to educate parents and children about non-invasive hygiene, care of genital and reproductive organs, and to explain their anatomical and physiological development and function.
We encourage and support further research into the adverse consequences of such interventions.
We oppose research and experimentation that involves the performance of medically unnecessary modification and other irreversible medical interventions affecting genital and reproductive organs upon non-consenting children and adults.
We call on all governments to acknowledge the right of genital autonomy for every child and adult, that is, the right to:
We call on all States members to the Convention on the Rights of the Child to honour their commitments under that instrument in particular Articles 2, 12, 14, 19 and 24.
Declaration adopted by the 12th International Symposium on Law, Genital Autonomy & Children’s Rights, Helsinki, Finland, 29 September to 3 October 2012
Further information about the Helsinki conference
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