An international organisation dedicated to halting "intersex genital mutiliation" has said that Malta continues to tacitly endorse the practice, despite it being the first country in the world to explicitly ban the practice.
Malta’s Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act, which was passed in 2015, outlawed gender normalising procedures on minors which could be deferred until the child could provide informed consent.
Such procedures were historically used to operate on children born with multiple sexual organs.
International intersex human rights NGO StopIGM.org has now said that despite having outlawed such procedures - which the organisation dubs "intersex genital mutilation" - on paper, the reality was somewhat different.
A report published by the organisation noted that Malta had only introduced sanctions for IGM in 2018. These included imprisonment not exceeding five years, or a fine of between €5,000 and €20,000.
These penalties were lower than their equivalent for the crime of female genital mutilation, which stipulated five to 10 years in prison.
Moreover, while in the case of FGM, a crime carried abroad could be prosecuted in Malta, this was not the case for IGM.
Parents who wanted their children to undero such procedures, the organisation said, were bypassing local laws by sending them overseas for surgery, reportedly to the UK, Belgium and Italy.
'Human rights for hermaphrodites too'
StopIGM.org demanded the prohibition of forced genital surgeries on children and adolescents with variations of sex anatomy. It called for "human rights for hermaphrodites too".
The people concerned, it said, should later decide for themselves whether or not they wanted surgeries and, if yes, which ones. The statute of limitation had to be adapted in such a way that adult IGM survivors could sue.