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Concluding Observations, CAT/C/CHN-HKG/CO/5, 3 December 2015: China (Hong Kong)

B. Positive aspects

4. The Committee welcomes the following legislative measures in areas of relevance to the Convention:

(a) The adoption of the Immigration (Amendment) Ordinance 2012 (Ord. No. 23 of 2012), which establishes a statutory process to request the non-refoulement protection of article 3 of the Convention;

(b) The 2008 and 2010 amendments to the Domestic Violence Ordinance, extending its protection to former spouses, former cohabiting couples, same-sex cohabitants and former same-sex cohabitants.

5. The Committee also welcomes the initiatives of Hong Kong, China to adopt measures or to amend policies and administrative measures to give effect to the Convention, including:

(e) The set-up of an interdepartmental working group on gender recognition, to consider legislation and incidental administrative measures that may be required to protect the rights of transsexual persons in Hong Kong, China.

C. Principal subjects of concern and recommendations

Transgender and intersex persons

28. While welcoming the set-up of an interdepartmental working group on gender recognition (see para. 5 (e) above), the Committee is concerned about reports that transgender persons are required to have completed sex-reassignment surgery, which includes the removal of reproductive organs, sterilization and genital reconstruction, in order to obtain legal recognition of their gender identity. The Committee is also concerned that intersex children are subjected to unnecessary and irreversible surgery to determine their sex at an early stage. Furthermore, the Committee is concerned at the long-term physical and psychological suffering caused by such practices (arts. 10, 12, 14 and 16).

29. Hong Kong, China should:

(a) Take the necessary legislative, administrative and other measures to guarantee respect for the autonomy and physical and psychological integrity of transgender and intersex persons, including by removing abusive preconditions for the legal recognition of the gender identity of transgender persons, such as sterilization;

(b) Guarantee impartial counselling services for all intersex children and their parents, so as to inform them of the consequences of unnecessary and non-urgent surgery and other medical treatment to decide on the sex of the child and the possibility of postponing any decision on such treatment or surgery until the persons concerned can decide by themselves;

(c) Guarantee that full, free and informed consent is ensured in connection with medical and surgical treatments for intersex persons and that non-urgent, irreversible medical interventions are postponed until a child is sufficiently mature to participate in decision-making and give full, free and informed consent;

(d) Provide adequate redress for the physical and psychological suffering caused by such practices to some intersex persons.

Link to full text of the report: Concluding Observations-CAT-China-HongKong-2015-eng