There’s discrimination against intersex persons due to lack of knowledge – HRC

LACK of legal recognition has caused human rights violations against intersex people, says Human Rights Commission principal planning and collaboration officer Lisbon Chaamwe.

During an Intersex Society of Zambia sensitisation workshop, Chaamwe said the mandate of the HRC was to protect human rights.

Intersex is a condition in which a person’s genitals do not appear to be clearly male or female. The genitals may be incompletely developed or the person may have characteristics of both sexes.

Chaamwe said there was too much stigmatisation and discrimination due to lack of knowledge on the subject.

He said intersex children were sometimes withdrawn from school and their right to health violated.

He said at times not knowing if a baby is a boy or girl, they end up having an operation to assign the sex of that person, affecting their future.

Chaamwe said intersex persons were often grouped together with homosexuals.

He said the commission was ready to receive any complaint associated with this situation and would carry out investigations based on its mandate.

Chaamwe said intersex persons were human beings like any one else.

Speaking earlier, ISSZ board member Redges Mubiana said intersex issues had been in communities from time immemorial in Zambia but there had been no advocacy and a voice to speak on their rights.

Mubiana said the ISSZ was formed to be a voice for intersex persons.

She said the media had a big role to play to disseminate information of intersex persons to the public.

“Intersex persons have been in existence in our communities and because of myths and ignorance, some of these have been killed at birth or committed suicide because of confusions in their sexual identity,” she said.

She said such incidences could reduce if the media report and take awareness to communities.

Mubiana said other minority groups such as the physically challenged and the visually impaired had associations which speak for them.

She said at the moment there was no voice for the intersex.

ISSZ founder and executive director Mphatso Sakala said the organisation believes that intersex persons were an important part of human diversity and that the birth of an intersex infant should be celebrated no less than the birth of any other infant.

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