The Global Campaign for Men and Boys

Male circumcision is a human rights violation that must be stopped say European leaders….


The Council of Europe has told its 47 member states (including the UK) that medically unnecessary circumcision is a violation of boys’ human rights.

In a groundbreaking move the council’s Parliamentary Assembly has declared that it is “particularly worried about a category of violation of the physical integrity of children” which includes “the circumcision of young boys for religious reasons”.

The Assembly has strongly recommended that its member states, which include the UK, take the following action:

1. Get clear on the extent of medically unnecessary circumcision in their country (around half a million boys in the UK are thought to be at risk but there is not official figure available)

2. Clearly define the medical, sanitary and other conditions that all male circumcisions should meet (this would include defining whether or not circumcision without anaesthetic or consent, by non-medical staff in non-medical settings should continue to be tolerated in the UK).

3. Promote greater awareness of how medically unnecessary male circumcision is performed and what the risks are.

4. To introduce legislation and policies to improve the protection of boys from the risks of medically unnecessary male circumcision.

5. To raise awareness of the alternatives to medically unnecessary male circumcision.

6. To actively initiate public debate, including intercultural and interreligious dialogue, aimed at reaching consensus on striking the balance between boys’ human rights and the rights and religious freedoms of parents and families.

7. To raise awareness about the need for boys to participate in decisions concerning their physical integrity and to consider introducing an age of consent preventing boys from being circumcised until they are old enough to choose.

The Council of Europe is larger than and separate from the European Union and its role is to promote human rights, democracy and the rule of law across the continent. Unlike the EU, the Council of Europe cannot make binding laws, but it does create conventions—like the European Convention on Human Rights—that member states commit to.

In recent years the Council of Europe has been working to protect children’s human rights, through its Strategy for the Rights of the Child. This strategy does not currently include guidance on male circumcision. One of the recommendations the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has made is that medically unnecessary male circumcision is included in the preparation and adoption of the new Strategy for the Rights of the Child which launches in 2015.

The move to regulate and potentially ban medically unnecessary male circumcision in Europe has been led by the German politician, Marlene Rupprecht.

To find out more about Rupprecht’s reasoning see our post on her 10 reasons to ban male circumcision In Europe.

If you think boys of all backgrounds should be protected from unnecessary male circumcision they why not join our campaign to #StopTheChop today.

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8 comments on “Male circumcision is a human rights violation that must be stopped say European leaders….

  1. Pingback: 10 reasons German Socialist wants Europe to ban male circumcision…. | EQUALITY 4 MEN

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  5. concerned cynic
    November 1, 2013

    A likely compromise is requiring that ritual circumcision be performed by a doctor using anesthetic. This is not a problem for Islam. The requirement that mohelim also have to be doctors will be bitterly resisted, because it will put many mohelim out of business.

    • Tina O
      November 1, 2013

      I dont understand how the use of anesthetic and the procedure being completed by an ‘actual doctor’ negates the fact that this is still an unnessesary violation of a child’s rights and person and therefore should be postponed until he is of a consenting age, 16 or 18..

  6. Pingback: Council of Europe says circumcision violates children’s right to bodily integrity. Reaction of biased media | CircWatch

  7. Sonny
    March 23, 2014

    It is interesting to me that Human Rights Europe would close the comments section before HUMAN BEINGS could respond!

    Do I detect a bit of hypocrisy here? Are they afraid that human beings will label them as anti-human rights? Or is there something else going on? If so, what is it? Why don’t you share the “oh-so-important reason” that you closed the comments section? I bet you KNOW that infant male circumcision is INDEED a human rights violation, but you are afraid of the flack you will get. By opening the section to debate, each person can judge if the evidence favors or opposes human rights.

    Jagland deserves no respect, and he should leave his position and hand it over to someone who will protect human rights over and above religious impositions!

    Threatening “the Jewish tradition of circumcision” is what MUST be done if we are to protect “the physical integrity of children.” If we do not have a right to our most basic property which is our own bodies, then human rights become meaningless.

    Religious people who cannot live by the laws of the land should move to a country where their religion will be respected above human rights.

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