Sweden, stop violating human rights of trans persons!

Published: January 12, 2012

Representatives of the governing Swedish parties have agreed not to remove the sterilisation requirement. This requires those wishing to change their gender marker to undergo sterilisation and have their reproductive material destroyed. RFSL and other human rights organisations raised awareness for this on-going abuse for a long time. Still, today’s decision continues to violate the right to physical integrity, right to be free from torture as well as sexual and reproductive rights of trans persons.

40 years ago Swedish parliament was a pioneer to have a gender recognition law. However, the law was still inspired by the eugenic tradition of a Swedish sterilisation programme that was formally abolished in 1976.
The incorporated requirements are nowadays overcome and not medically indicated any more. Sweden that is still for many in the world a safeguard to human rights is lagging behind international and European developments.

A state is to safeguard the rights of all their residents and not to infringe on them. Requiring an entire social group to get sterilized does not comply with any human rights standards.

Thomas Hammarberg, Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council of Europe, calls upon member states to “abolish sterilisation and other compulsory medical treatment which may seriously impair the autonomy, health or well-being of the individual, as necessary requirements for the legal recognition of a transgender person’s preferred gender.” 

Similarly, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly Resolution 1728 (2010) called on member states to allow for document change without “prior obligation to undergo sterilisation or other medical procedures such as sex reassignment surgery and hormonal therapy”. Sweden is also bound by its signature under the recommendations by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe including the request to review existing legislation for abusive requirements. The Parliamentary Assembly Resolution 1728 (2010) at the Council of Europe calls upon member states to ensure that official documents reflect the individual’s preferred gender identity, without any prior obligation to undergo sterilisation or other medical procedures such as sex reassignment surgery and hormonal therapy.

Wiktor Dynarski, TGEU co-chair comments:
“Today is a dark day for trans* and gender variant people in Sweden and Europe.”

Maria Sundin, member of the Transgender Europe – TGEU board demands: “Sweden has to become a forerunner in human rights again. Swedish Parliamentarians: look into your heart and vote with your consciousness!”

TGEU calls upon all Swedish parliamentarians to review their stands on this and bring Swedish legislation in line with existing European and international human rights standards: Abolish all requirements for sterilisation and medical treatments in legal gender recognition.
 
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