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Intersex People’s Human Rights – ISIO Finland

Intersex People’s Human Rights – ISIO Finland was founded in January 2020. The main goal of the registered non-governmental organisation is to end stigma and discrimination and ensure intersex people’s access to their fundamental rights and human rights. To achieve this goal the organisation raises awareness, creates networks and co-operates with relevant stakeholders and shares information and provides expertise to law and policy drafting on the human rights situation of intersex people in Finland. ISIO Finland is committed to being an intersex-led organisation. ISIO Finland’s work is founded on the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international human rights conventions as well as the Constitution of Finland and ISIO Finland is a member of OII Europe.

Currently the right to bodily integrity and self-determination of intersex people, especially intersex children, is not respected in Finland. Babies and children are subjected to non-consensual medical operations aimed at “normalising” the sex characteristics of the individual. Intersex individuals and their parents are not provided with non-medicalised and non-stigmatised information about the diversity of the sexes and variations of sex characteristics. Neither are they provided with efficient psychosocial support and peer support.

On the other hand awareness-raising, education and information-sharing on intersex people’s human rights is very topical in Finland. ISIO Finland was founded in January 2020 to ensure that the voice of intersex people is being heard and the human rights of intersex people are ensured. The Programme of Prime inister Sanna Marin’s Government (2019) states that “intersex children’s right to self-determination will be strengthened, and cosmetic, non-medical surgeries on young children’s genitals will no longer be performed”. ISIO Finland builds co-operation with other national human rights, child protection and bodily diversity organisations, state officials and other experts. Through awareness-raising, networking and co-operation as well as sharing information and providing expertise to the law drafting process the organisation supports the law and policy efforts that guarantee legal protection of intersex babies and children.