October 31, 2014
Falkland Islands considers law against male cuttingThe Falkland Islands Legislative Assembly has considered adding male genital cutting to a law against female cutting.
Dr the Hon Barry Elsby MLA moved that clauses of the Crimes Bill concerning FGC be removed from it and brought back later in conjunction with a Bill on Male Circumcision.
"Ritual circumcision in baby boys for non-medical reasons is something that this Bill singularly fails to address in its present form," he said. "I fully support the outlawing of the horrible, barbaric practice of Female Genital Mutilation."
"However, as the ‘children’s champion’ I have a duty to speak up on behalf of children and try to ensure that their needs are listened to. It was shocking to hear an interview on the BBC World Service last week with a lady from Sudan who had been conducting these mutilations for many years. I would suggest that her inability to realise that girls have the right to be protected from such practices, even if they are based on religion or tradition is mirrored by the reluctance of many countries to effectively deal with the practice of ritual circumcision on baby boys by non-medically trained people.
"The United Nations Convention on the Right of the Child provides that the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration and require the state to take all appropriate measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, inhuman treatment, injury or abuse ... . It also provides that state parties shall take all effective and appropriate measures with a view to abolishing traditional practices that are prejudicial to the health of children."
"There are no proven health benefits for routine circumcision in an ... eight day old baby boy but there are risks of harm and of deaths from this procedure."
"In 2012, a Muslim child having a circumcision in Germany for religious reasons was seriously harmed. The case went to the [Cologne] Regional Court where the judge found that the practice was a breach of a child’s human rights. The Government did not challenge the Court’s decision, presumably because they knew the judge was correct. What they did instead was to pass a new law that made circumcision for religious reasons legal. ...
"Later in 2012 the council of Europe passed a resolution condemning male circumcision as – and I quote – “a violation of the physical integrity of children” and called for a total ban.
"... Last year the children’s commissioners from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Holland, Iceland and Australia amongst others called for a ban on non-medical circumcision in boys. The professional medical bodies in almost all of those countries have also called for a ban. ...
Though several other Legislative Assembly Members were sympathetic to the purpose of Dr Elsby's motion to add a clause regulating ritual circumcision, it failed.