The Global Campaign for Men and Boys
The German politician Marelene Rupprecht, is leading the campaign to ban unnecessary male circumcision across Europe. Rupprecht is a member of the mainstream Socialist Democratic Party and has persuaded the Council of Europe , which represents 47 member states across Europe, to support her campaign to end unnecessary male circumcision in Europe.
Here are the 10 main reasons that Rupprecht gives for ending unnecessary male circumcision taken from her memorandum on circumcision to the Council of Europe:
1. Male Circumcision Can and Does Kill Boys and Young Men
The most compelling argument against medically unnecessary circumcision is that it can and does kill boys young men such as Goodluck Caubergs from Salford and the dozens of young men who die from ritual circumcision in South Africa every year. Rupprecht’s report lists a range of complications that boys can suffer as a result of medically unnecessary circumcision and concludes that “some of the complications are regularly fatal”.
2. Male Circumcision Causes Unnecessary Pain and Trauma
Rupprecht challenges the “erroneous belief” that very young children are not yet as sensitive to pain as older children or adults and that their pain can be relieved with local anaesthetic creams. She says: “there is scientific evidence that the pain suppressing system of children is only operational a few months after birth, and that a newborn child feels more pain than an adult. Medical studies have also shown that analgesic treatment available for small children (who are too young for general anaesthetics) do generally not have the intended effect, and are not recommended for children under 12 years of age anyway. The increased pain perception by young children and the lack of effective pain treatment for infants are, from my point of view, amongst the main arguments against circumcision of young boys, as they can be traumatising for the child.”
3. Male Circumcision Causes Unnecessary Damage to Men and Boys
Rupprecht’s report states that: “there is evidence that unprofessional circumcisions may cause infections, organ curvatures, perforated urethra and, finally, additional operations, whilst even wrongly applied bandages can have severe consequences such as necrotic tissue and other irreversible damage.”
4. Male Circumcision Is Not Medically Necessary
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has been promoting male circumcision in the fight against HIV /AIDS but medical experts are increasingly questioning the validity of this approach, according to Rupprecht. The circumcision of boys for medical reasons is also critically viewed and increasingly being replaced by alternatives across Europe, she says.
5. Male Circumcision Is a Human Rights Violation
Rupprechts says that “circumcision applied to young boys clearly is a human rights violation against children” and adds that “from an ethical point of view…infant circumcision applied in a routine manner is increasingly considered as an infringement of the human rights of a child, in particular if carried out by non-medically trained persons and in a non-sterile environment… as very often happens in the religious context.”
6. Male Circumcision Is Not a Religious Absolute
According to Rupprecht’s report: “more and more Jewish families seem to question the traditional ritual of circumcision today.” She points to the Jewish Circumcision Resource Center created by Jews who “openly call on Jews to listen to and feel the intense pain of the children, and the denied pain of the adults that they become, in order to realise that circumcision does not necessarily serve the best interest of the child or the community of Jews.” Rupprecht adds that: “the tradition is also increasingly questioned by members of the Muslim community” saying that “critical Muslims regularly point out that no sura of the Koran indicates an obligation to circumcise” and that Islam scientists are divided over the question of whether circumcision truly is an obligation or a simple recommendation.
7. Male Circumcision Without A Boy’s Consent Is Wrong
Rupprecht is one of a group of parliamentarians in Germany who believe that boys should not be circumcised until they reach the age of 14 and only if he has given his consent. In addition, Rupprecht asserts that the circumcision should always be carried out by a paediatric surgeon or urologist.
8. There Are Medical Alternatives to Male Circumcision
Rupprecht says that “in the medical context, there is increasing evidence that the operation is often applied too rapidly and alternatives are not sufficiently considered”. What this means is that paediatricians and urologists are often quick to circumcise boys when a cream or a less invasive operation would suffice.
9. There Are Religious Alternatives to Male Circumcision
Rupprecht says that alternative rituals to circumcision are regularly being considered in religious contexts, particularly within the Jewish community where some families opt for an alternative ritual, sometimes referred to as a “naming ceremony” or “bris shalom”.
10. Male Circumcision Is Unregulated Across Europe
According to Rupprecht “both medical professionals and religious communities are increasingly aware of the considerable harm inflicted on children through circumcision procedures, especially if performed in a routine, traditional manner”. She says that in some countries “there is a large consensus that minimum standards need to be guaranteed to ensure that male circumcision is carried out in healthy and safe conditions” but that this is not the case in many European countries.
As a first step to tackling problems relating to unnecessary male circumcision Rupprecht has proposed that all European governments examine the prevalence of unnecessary male circumcision in the UK and “clearly define the medical, sanitary and other conditions to be ensured for practices which are today widely carried out in certain religious communities, such as the non-medically justified circumcision of young boys”.
If you think boys of all backgrounds should be protected from unnecessary male circumcision they why not join our campaign to #StopTheChop today.
Photo courtesy of Flickr/miss_pupik