September 21, 2012
Genital Autonomy Under AttackVANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA, Sep 21, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- From Sunday 30 September 2012 international experts will gather in Helsinki, Finland, to examine the human right of children to make their own decisions about the most private and personal part of their bodies.
The 4 day symposium "LAW, GENITAL AUTONOMY & CHILDREN'S RIGHTS" is a joint project by international child rights charity GENITAL AUTONOMY (GA), US coalition NOCIRC and Finnish non-profit sexuality foundation SEXPO.
Says Spokesman and Trustee of GA Richard Duncker: "Every day all over the world for many reasons adults cut, trim and re-shape the genitals of girls, boys and the often forgotten proportion of children born with indeterminate gender, intersex children - in almost every case without asking the child and with no medical need."
"Sometimes by surgeons in a modern hospital under anaesthetic," he says "Sometimes by lay people in a dusty village hut or a plush middle class apartment. In all cases the outcomes - good, bad or merely cosmetic - are permanent and affect the child's bodily experience for life."
In June 2012 a Cologne Regional Court (Landgericht Koln) decided medically unnecessary circumcision of a non-consenting child can be assault. Governments immediately mobilised to legalise these assaults on children in the name of religious freedom.
In August 2012 the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) echoed other peak medical bodies in declaring that circumcision of healthy boys should not be routine. Attention immediately turned to tax-funded government subsidies and foreign aid to pay for it.
How do scientists' own cultural or personal identity shape the questions they ask? Why are harms ignored in the search for benefits? Do parents use religion as an excuse for conformity? Why is there one rule for girls and another for boys? What degree of intentional pain and risk for children is unacceptable? How do we distinguish unnecessary surgery from child abuse?
Says Mr Duncker, "The science is controversial and incomplete. Religious beliefs of parents, researchers and legislators are a given. Children are People. How do they say: NO!"
These and other questions will be explored by speakers from all over the world, from different religious and cultural origins, including doctors, nurses, lawyers, and anthropologists as well as adults who still suffer the harms inflicted on them as babies.