Dutch law violates transgender rights: rights group

13th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

The Dutch civil code which asks transgender people to take hormones, undergo surgery and be sterilised before their gender can be legally recognised should be changed immediately, a rights group said Tuesday.

"The requirements violate transgender people's rights to personal autonomy and physical integrity and deny them the ability to define their own gender identity," Human Rights Watch said in a press release, saying "the government should amend it without delay".

The statement comes as HRW released an 85-page report called "Controlling Bodies, Denying Identities: Human Rights Violations Against Trans People in the Netherlands" which investigates the 1985 law, article 28, of the Dutch civil code.

The rights group said it interviewed 28 transgender people, medical professionals, legal experts, government officials, NGO representatives as well as academics for its findings.

"The law should be amended to respect transgender people's human rights by separating medical and legal questions," HRW said.

"Legal recognition of their identity should not be conditional on any form of medical intervention," it added.

The Netherlands was among the first countries in Europe in 1985 to adopt legislation that enabled transgender people to change their registered gender, subject to the medical requirements.

But "over a quarter of a century later, the Netherlands has lost its edge", HRW said, with several other countries like Portugal, Britain and Spain already having done away with the surgical and hormonal requirements.

© 2011 AFP

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