Malta declaration (International Intersex Forum)

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Participants at the Third International Intersex Forum where the Malta declaration was made, December 2013

The Malta declaration is the statement of the Third International Intersex Forum, which took place in Valletta, Malta, in 2013. The event was supported by the ILGA and ILGA-Europe and brought together 34 people representing 30 organisations from multiple regions of the world.[1][2]

The declaration affirmed the existence of intersex people, and demanded an end to "discrimination against intersex people and to ensure the right of bodily integrity, physical autonomy and self-determination". For the first time, participants made a statement on birth registrations, in addition to other human rights issues:[3][4][5]

The declaration[edit]

  • To put an end to mutilating and 'normalising' practices such as genital surgeries, psychological and other medical treatments through legislative and other means. Intersex people must be empowered to make their own decisions affecting own bodily integrity, physical autonomy and self-determination.
  • To put an end to preimplantation genetic diagnosis, pre-natal screening and treatment, and selective abortion of intersex foetuses.
  • To put an end to infanticide and killings of intersex people.
  • To put an end to non-consensual sterilisation of intersex people.
  • To depathologise variations in sex characteristics in medical guidelines, protocols and classifications, such as the World Health Organization's International Classification of Diseases.
  • To register intersex children as females or males, with the awareness that, like all people, they may grow up to identify with a different sex or gender.
  • To ensure that sex or gender classifications are amendable through a simple administrative procedure at the request of the individuals concerned. All adults and capable minors should be able to choose between female (F), male (M), non-binary or multiple options. In the future, as with race or religion, sex or gender should not be a category on birth certificates or identification documents for anybody.
  • To raise awareness around intersex issues and the rights of intersex people in society at large.
  • To create and facilitate supportive, safe and celebratory environments for intersex people, their families and surroundings.
  • To ensure that intersex people have the right to full information and access to their own medical records and history.
  • To ensure that all professionals and healthcare providers that have a specific role to play in intersex people's wellbeing are adequately trained to provide quality services.
  • To provide adequate acknowledgement of the suffering and injustice caused to intersex people in the past, and provide adequate redress, reparation, access to justice and the right to truth.
  • To build intersex anti-discrimination legislation in addition to other grounds, and to ensure protection against intersectional discrimination.
  • To ensure the provision of all human rights and citizenship rights to intersex people, including the right to marry and form a family.
  • To ensure that intersex people are able to participate in competitive sport, at all levels, in accordance with their legal sex. Intersex athletes who have been humiliated or stripped of their titles should receive reparation and reinstatement.
  • Recognition that medicalization and stigmatisation of intersex people result in significant trauma and mental health concerns.
  • In view of ensuring the bodily integrity and well-being of intersex people, autonomous non-pathologising psycho-social and peer support be available to intersex people throughout their life (as self-required), as well as to parents and/or care providers.

The forum called on:

  1. International, regional and national human rights institutions to take on board, and provide visibility to intersex issues in their work.
  2. National governments to address the concerns raised by the Intersex Forum and draw adequate solutions in direct collaboration with intersex representatives and organisations.
  3. Media agencies and sources to ensure intersex people's right to privacy, dignity, accurate and ethical representation.
  4. Funders to engage with intersex organisations and support them in the struggle for visibility, increase their capacity, the building of knowledge and the affirmation of their human rights.
  5. Human rights organisations to contribute to build bridges with intersex organisations and build a basis for mutual support. This should be done in a spirit of collaboration and no-one should instrumentalise intersex issues as a means for other ends.


The Forum was organized by ILGA Europe's Silvan Agius and Ruth Baldacchino, and three intersex activists selected from an open call application process managed by ILGA Europe: Mauro Cabral, of Argentina, Mani Bruce Mitchell, of New Zealand, and Hida Viloria of Intersex Campaign for Equality.[6] Attending participants included Sean Saifa Wall and Pidgeon Pagonis for AIC (now interACT),[7] Morgan Carpenter and Tony Briffa from Organisation Intersex International Australia,[8] Intersex Austria[9] Holly Greenberry from Intersex UK,[10][11] Miriam van der Have and Inge Intven of Nederlandse Netwerk Intersekse/DSD (NNID),[12] and representatives of Zwischengeschlecht,[13] and IVIM/OII Deutschland[14]

Adoption and legacy[edit]

The declaration has been cited by numerous human rights institutions around the world,[15] including intersex human rights papers published by the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights,[16] and the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions,[17] and by organizations allying themselves with the intersex human rights movement.[18]

In 2015, Malta adopted world-first legislation to protect intersex infants and children from non-consensual medical interventions.[19][20][21][22]

In March 2017, the Malta declaration was acknowledged by a consensus "Darlington Statement", published by Australian and New Zealand intersex community organizations and others.[23] The statement calls for legal reform, including the criminalization of deferrable intersex medical interventions on children, an end to legal classification of sex, and improved access to peer support.[23][24][25][26][27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ First ever international intersex forum Archived 2013-12-26 at the Wayback Machine, ILGA-Europe (Creative Commons statement), 6 September 2011
  2. ^ First ever international intersex forum Archived 2015-06-29 at the Wayback Machine, ILGA, 7 September 2011
  3. ^ 3rd International Intersex Forum concluded Archived 2013-12-04 at the Wayback Machine, ILGA-Europe (Creative Commons statement), 2 December 2013
  4. ^ Global intersex community affirms shared goals Archived 2013-12-06 at the Wayback Machine, Star Observer, December 4, 2013
  5. ^ (Chinese) 2013第三屆世界陰陽人論壇宣言 Archived 2013-12-26 at the Wayback Machine, Oii-Chinese, December 2013
  6. ^ 3rd International Intersex Forum in Malta Archived 2013-12-26 at the Wayback Machine, ILGA-Europe, 22 July 2013
  7. ^ "Public Statement by the Third International Intersex Forum". Interact Advocates for Intersex Youth. 12 December 2013. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017.
  8. ^ Public statement by the third international intersex forum Archived 2013-12-26 at the Wayback Machine, Organisation Intersex International Australia, 2 December 2013
  9. ^ (in German) Öffentliche Erklärung des Dritten Internationalen Intersex Forum Archived 2015-10-16 at the Wayback Machine, Intersex Austria, 8 December 2013
  10. ^ Holly is now sat chatting planning and catching up with... Archived 2014-03-26 at the Wayback Machine, Intersex UK on Twitter, 28 November 2013
  11. ^ IntersexUK consensus paper.3rd International IntersexForum concluded... Archived 2014-01-08 at the Wayback Machine, Intersex UK on Twitter, 3 December 2013
  12. ^ "Derde Internationale Intersekse Forum". Nederlandse Netwerk Intersekse/DSD (NNID) (in Dutch). 3 December 2013. Archived from the original on 20 December 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  13. ^ "Malta > Gesetzesentwurf der Regierung will IGM-Praktiken verbieten, unterstreicht Recht auf köperliche Unversehrtheit, Selbstbestimmung" (in German). Zwischengeschlecht. 31 December 2014. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 2015-01-12.
  14. ^ "Öffentliche Erklärung des Dritten Internationalen Intersex Forum". IVIM/OII-Germany (in German). 1 December 2013. Archived from the original on 1 February 2017.
  15. ^ "We Are Real" The Growing Movement Advancing the Rights of Intersex People". Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice. 2016. Archived from the original on 2017-02-03.
  16. ^ Council of Europe; Commissioner for Human Rights (April 2015), Human rights and intersex people, Issue Paper, archived from the original on 2016-01-06
  17. ^ Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions (June 2016). Promoting and Protecting Human Rights in relation to Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Sex Characteristics. ISBN 978-0-9942513-7-4. Archived from the original on 2017-01-15.
  18. ^ "Intersex Inclusion Policy". Kaleidoscope Australia Human Rights Foundation. Archived from the original on 2017-02-03. Retrieved 2017-02-02.
  19. ^ "Surgery and Sterilization Scrapped in Malta's Benchmark LGBTI Law". The New York Times. Reuters. 1 April 2015.
  20. ^ "Malta passes law outlawing forced surgical intervention on intersex minors". Star Observer. 2 April 2015. Archived from the original on 14 August 2015. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  21. ^ "OII-Europe applauds Malta's Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act. This is a landmark case for intersex rights within European law reform". OII Europe. April 1, 2015. Archived from the original on May 22, 2015. Retrieved 2015-07-03.
  22. ^ Carpenter, Morgan (April 2, 2015). "We celebrate Maltese protections for intersex people". Organisation Intersex International Australia. Archived from the original on July 4, 2015. Retrieved 2015-07-03.
  23. ^ a b Androgen Insensitivity Support Syndrome Support Group Australia; Intersex Trust Aotearoa New Zealand; Organisation Intersex International Australia; Black, Eve; Bond, Kylie; Briffa, Tony; Carpenter, Morgan; Cody, Candice; David, Alex; Driver, Betsy; Hannaford, Carolyn; Harlow, Eileen; Hart, Bonnie; Hart, Phoebe; Leckey, Delia; Lum, Steph; Mitchell, Mani Bruce; Nyhuis, Elise; O'Callaghan, Bronwyn; Perrin, Sandra; Smith, Cody; Williams, Trace; Yang, Imogen; Yovanovic, Georgie (March 2017), Darlington Statement, archived from the original on 2017-03-22, retrieved March 21, 2017
  24. ^ Copland, Simon (March 20, 2017). "Intersex people have called for action. It's time to listen". Special Broadcasting Service. Archived from the original on March 22, 2017. Retrieved 2017-03-21.
  25. ^ Jones, Jess (March 10, 2017). "Intersex activists in Australia and New Zealand publish statement of priorities". Star Observer. Archived from the original on March 22, 2017. Retrieved 2017-03-21.
  26. ^ Power, Shannon (March 13, 2017). "Intersex advocates pull no punches in historic statement". Gay Star News. Archived from the original on March 22, 2017. Retrieved 2017-03-21.
  27. ^ Sainty, Lane (March 13, 2017). "These Groups Want Unnecessary Surgery On Intersex Infants To Be Made A Crime". BuzzFeed Australia. Archived from the original on March 22, 2017. Retrieved 2017-03-21.