Posted on 4. June 2014 in Work with Institutions

European Social Charter Committee prompts member states over sterilisation-requirement


The European Social Charter (ESC) guarantees a number of important social and work-related rights. In its last national reporting cycle the Social Charter Committee asked member states to report on the right to health (Art 11). TGEU, ILGA Europe and local partner organisations to the opportunity to submit shadow reports for 25 countries on the issue of forced sterilisation and trans-related health care.

The NGO-reports expressed the concern about two aspects of the health of transgender persons: first, the fact that many European countries impose medical treatment, including often sterilisation, as a requirement for legal gender recognition, something that amounts to coerced medical treatment and is a clear human rights violation; and second, for those transgender persons who wish to undergo gender reassignment treatment, the fact that in many countries they do not have access to the necessary medical treatment, and/or that state insurance systems do not bear a reasonable proportion of the cost of treatment which is clearly medically necessary.

In its Conclusions 2013, “the Committee asks States Parties whether legal gender recognition for transgender persons requires (in law or in practice) that they undergo sterilisation or any other invasive medical treatment which could impair their health or physical integrity.”

State Parties have four years to respond until the next reporting cycle reviews the right to health article again. If a state does not respond within two cycles an automatic decision of non-conformity will be found.

Read more about the European Social Charter here: