Principle 32 (YP+10)

The Right to Bodily and Mental Integrity

Everyone has the right to bodily and mental integrity, autonomy and self-determination irrespective of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or sex characteristics. Everyone has the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics. No one shall be subjected to invasive or irreversible medical procedures that modify sex characteristics without their free, prior and informed consent, unless necessary to avoid serious, urgent and irreparable harm to the concerned person.


A)  Guarantee and protect the rights of everyone, including all children, to bodily and mental integrity, autonomy and self-determination;

B)  Ensure that legislation protects everyone, including all children, from all forms of forced, coercive or otherwise involuntary modification of their sex characteristics;

C)  Take measures to address stigma, discrimination and stereotypes based on sex and gender, and combat the use of such stereotypes, as well as marriage prospects and other social, religious and cultural rationales, to justify modifications to sex characteristics, including of children;

D)  Bearing in mind the child’s right to life, non-discrimination, the best interests of the child, and respect for the child’s views, ensure that children are fully consulted and informed regarding any modifications to their sex characteristics necessary to avoid or remedy proven, serious physical harm, and ensure that any such modifications are consented to by the child concerned in a manner consistent with the child’s evolving capacity;

E)  Ensure that the concept of the best interest of the child is not manipulated to justify practices that conflict with the child’s right to bodily integrity;

F)  Provide adequate, independent counselling and support to victims of violations, their families and communities, to enable victims to exercise and affirm rights to bodily and mental integrity, autonomy and self-determination;

G)  Prohibit the use of anal and genital examinations in legal and administrative proceedings and criminal prosecutions unless required by law, as relevant, reasonable, and necessary for a legitimate purpose.