Sunday, September 25, 2016

UNITED NATIONS: Genital cutting called "child abuse" - but only of girls

All good, but why specify "female"?

BBC News
July 15, 2016

FGM is child abuse, says UN Population Fund chief

The head of the United Nations Population Fund has, for the first time, described female genital mutilation as "child abuse".

Dr Babatunde Osotimehin told the BBC that the custom was a human rights abuse and needed to end immediately.

More than 200 million women and girls around the world have undergone the procedure, where parts of the female genitals are removed.

The UN estimates a further three million are at risk of being mutilated.

Dr Osotimehin said: "There is absolutely no reason to cut anybody, and it seemed to us that it is part of the gender imbalance that has always existed in these communities which are based on patriarchy. I think it's child abuse."

The organisation had previously referred to the practice as a human rights violation, but has stopped short of calling it child abuse.

FGM is practiced mainly in parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

It involves the partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

Some countries in Africa are working to change traditional perceptions of FGM.

At the moment about one in five women in Kenya has been cut.

But the UN children's charity, Unicef, says Kenya could eradicate the practice in the next 15 years.
However, deeply entrenched traditions in some communities in this region, and across the world, make this a major challenge.

UGANDA, KENYA: ARVs and education send HIV down, genital cutting gets credit

Deutche Welle
July 15, 2016

Africa's progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS

by Hilke Fischer
The South African city of Durban is the venue for the 2016 World Aids Conference. Sub-Saharan Africa will feature prominently on the agenda, a region where the infection rate has decreased by over 40 percent since 2000.

Which strategies are most effective in the battle against HIV/AIDS? DW looks at how four African countries are responding to the challenge.
Kenya: compulsory HIV/AIDS education
Fewer than six percent of Kenyans live with HIV/AIDS. That's about 1.5 million people. The number of new infections also fell significantly in recent years. In 2005, 28.3 percent of infected mothers transmitted the virus to their children. Five years later, that figure had gone down to 8.5 percent.
Meanwhile, more than 90 percent of all pregnant Kenyan women go for AIDS tests. In 2000, there were only three health facilities where Kenyans could consult medical practitioners and get tested for HIV. In 2010, the number of health facilities offering HIV consultations had increased to more than 4,000.

The main reason for the reduction in the HIV/AIDS prevalence in Kenya is the supply of ARVs. In 2003, only 6,000 people had access to the medication. Ten years later, that figure increased to more than 600,000.

The Kenyan government also regards voluntary male circumcision as a weapon in the fight against AIDS. This reduces the risk of infection among men by about 40 percent, according to studies. Since 2003, HIV/AIDS education has been a compulsory element in school curriculums. About 70 percent of the cost in fighting HIV/AIDS in Kenya is footed by external donors.

[Could it be that the education and the ARVs are entirely responsible for the reduction?]
Uganda: 'Abstinence, faithfulness and condoms'
In Uganda, the AIDS epidemic reached its peak in the 1990s. Approximately 18 percent of the population was infected with the virus. The Ugandan government and international aid agencies launched ambitious and expensive educational programs with the slogan "Abstinence, faithfulness and condoms."

The campaign was a success. In 2000, only five percent of the population was HIV-positive. But, in the meantime, a contrary trend is emerging. The number of new infections in Uganda is rising again for the first time in ten years. The HIV prevalence rate in the country is now about seven percent of the population.

Surprisingly, a major reason for this is the widespread usage of ARVs and the circumcision of men. Many Ugandans believe that the ARV therapy can cure the disease completely and that male circumcision rules out any risk of infection - as a result, more people are abandoning the use of condoms.
[This is NOT surprising - in fact we predicted it, years ago..]

WINDHOEK, NAMIBIA: Men are resisting genital cutting

Namibian men aren't buying it...
July 2, 2016

Namibia’s male circumcision initiative to prevent HIV faces headwind

WINDHOEK (Xinhua) -- Circumcised and ready for action?

These four words that are part of a radio advertisement currently gracing the airwaves have aroused mixed feelings among Namibians.

The advertisement is being run by the health ministry as part of a campaign to educate and encourage men to opt for voluntary medical male circumcision.

Namibia aims to circumcise 330, 000 men by 2025 but since the program was officially launched in 2014, just above 30, 000 have taken up the offer.

Most Namibian men, like Windhoek security guards Simeon Hafeni and Gottlieb Kalandu, are refusing to let go of their foreskins.

Hafeni, who is from the northern regions of the country where circumcision is not compulsory under tribal beliefs, says he does not see any reason for him to be cut.

What if I get the cut now, and then tomorrow another disease that needs the foreskin comes by?” he asks.

His workmate, Kalandu quips: “God was not a fool to create men with a foreskin.
[These are not the best reasons to stay intact. The best reasons are that the foreskin is valuable, and that the protection offered, even if true, is insufficient to substitute cutting for the vastly more protective condoms.]
These two could symbolize the difficulty the health ministry’s campaign faces even after rolling out the program as far back as 2009 when the World Health Organization and the United Nations AIDS Organization (UNAIDS) recommended circumcision as one of an HIV preventative measure.

Namibia went on to train more than 260 health care workers to provide deal with circumcision, while 33 district hospitals were made available for the program.

A national strategic plan for 2010/11-2015/16 drawn up and revised in 2013 lists six core program to prevent and control the spread of HIV in the country including circumcision.

The strategic plan states that there is need to reach out to HIV negative adult men and initiate services for adolescents.

Although health ministry spokesperson Ester Paulus said that circumcision is a “low-cost medical intervention”, the strategic plan shows that more than 200 million Namibian dollars (13 million U.S. dollars) was set aside for the first three years.

“Male circumcision is a one-time, low cost medical intervention, which has been recommended by the WHO as part of a comprehensive package of HIV prevention.”

The country also carried out a pilot project in Aug. 2009 in capital Windhoek and at Oshakati, in the north of the country about 700 kilometers from Windhoek.

Realizing that fewer men were volunteering, the health ministry has been on an aggressive campaign. Apart from the advertisements, the health minister, Bernard Haufiku, has also been vocal about the need for men to get the cut.

When the advertisements were launched in May, Haufiku said in high HIV prevalence countries like Namibia, circumcision will at least prevent one in five infections as it reduces the risk of contracting HIV by 60 percent. [This is a dangerously false way of applying this already-misleading statistic.]

Hafeni and Kalandu say they have heard the advertisements, which they think are humorous.
“But radio is radio. I don’t believe everything I hear on radio,” Kalandu says.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

COPENHAGEN: Government claims it is a human right to cut (male) babies' genitals

Business Insider
June 16, 2016

Denmark defends circumcision as a human right - even though 75% are against it

by Vilhelm Carlström
Even though a large majority of Danes are against the circumcision of boys, and even though the circumcision of girls is strictly prohibited in Denmark, the government has now officially accepted that it's a human right for parents to circumcise their sons.

The Local reports that a YouGov survey from 2014 showed that 74% of Danes were against the circumcision of boys, while only 10% supported the practise. Despite that, about 1000-2000 boys ar circumcised each year in Denmark, according to the CPH Post.

Since 2014, the matter has been reviewed but without much to show for it.

In 2015, Denmark decided to delete its registry of circumcised individuals, reports the Local. Now, in a report to the United Nations the Danish government officially accepts an Egyptian convention which recognizes circumcision as a human right, writes CPH Post.

The basis is that circumcision of boys is rarely associated with medical complications, when performed under medical supervision [this is equally true of the "circumcision" of girls in Indonesia and Malaysia], and that it's viewed as a religious expression and therefore falls under the freedom of religion right.

Circumcision of boys will therefore remain legal as it complies with Danish law and is carried out by a doctor.

Male circumcision can lead to a more problematic sex life. 
Contrary to claims that circumcision in males is unproblematic, however, a Danish study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology in 2011 finds that circumcision leads to frequent orgasm difficulties in Danish men. The study also finds that women who are the sexual partners of circumcised men also have significantly higher orgasm difficulties, more problems with painful intrcourse (dyspareunia), and more often feel a sense a incomplete fulfillment of sexual needs.

JERUSALEM: Metzitzah: Two boys contract herpes

The Jerusalem Post
June 3, 2016

Two recent cases [of] herpes in babies following Brit Milah

by Jeremy Sharon
The Schneider Children’s Medical Center for Israel in Petah Tikva has reported two recent cases in which baby boys have been infected with the herpes virus following their brit mila.

The infections are believed to be the result of ritual circumcisions in which the metzitza ba’peh procedure was used, whereby the mohel, or person performing the circumcision, uses his mouth to suction blood off the penis after the foreskin has been cut off.

This practice is mentioned in the Talmud and codifications of Jewish law, but is now uncommon outside of the haredi community because of the risk of infection, and suction is achieved instead by means of a sterile plastic tube.

According to Schneider, one baby was released last week after having been infected with herpes, while another baby was admitted to the hospital two months ago with the same disease.

“Both children were quickly examined, treated appropriately and released in excellent condition. Both of them will continue to receive oral treatment until the age of six months,” Schneider said.
The hospital reiterated its backing of suction via a tube instead of by mouth “to avoid this difficult infection.”

According to Rabbi Moshe Marciano, director of the circumcision division of the Chief Rabbinate, the infected babies did not have the same mohel.

In one case, the mohel was the father of the infected baby, and is not an authorized mohel, while the second family refused to give the details of the mohel who performed the circumcision.

The Health Ministry confirmed that only one mohel had been identified, but did not indicate that is was the father of the baby.

Marciano said metzitza ba’peh is an approved practice for mohels authorized by the Chief Rabbinate, but added that parents can request that it not be used and the mohel is obliged to conform.

He also said that rabbinate guidelines state if the mohel has any wound or infection in his mouth he must not do metzitza ba’peh.

Metziza ba’peh has caused controversy in recent years, most notably in New York where at least 17 cases of herpes have been reported since 2000, resulting in two deaths.

Earlier story

CAIRO: Girl dies after genital cutting

The Inquistr
June 2, 2016

Female Genital Mutilation Results In Death Of 17-Year-Old Egyptian Girl Maya Mohamed Mousa

by Lindsay McCane
Maya Mohamed Mousa, a 17-year-old Egyptian girl, has died after undergoing an illegal procedure known as female genital mutilation, or female circumcision.

According to Reuters, Mousa and her twin sister arrived at the private El Canal Hospital in Suez to undergo female circumcision on Sunday. Although the procedure was performed under anesthesia, Mousa died after experiencing heavy bleeding. Thankfully, Maya’s sister survived.

Sedkhi Sidhom, an official from Egypt’s health ministry, said the hospital has since been shut down, and Egyptian prosecutors are investigating Mousa’s death.

“Not all cases of female circumcision are reported across Egypt. There are cases of circumcision where the women die and are then buried without a word being mentioned,” Sidhom said.

While there are thousands of deaths due to FGM each year, many go without being acknowledged. However, there are some that make headlines like Mousa’s. Last year, Raslan Fadl, a medical doctor, was convicted of manslaughter in Egypt’s first female genital mutilation trial after a 13-year-old girl died during a botched procedure. Suad Abu-Dayyeh, Middle East and North Africa consultant at rights group Equality Now, said Fadl was sentenced to more than two years in prison, but has yet to serve time behind bars.

“It is incredible that the Egyptian police are not taking a tough line on ending FGM in a country where over 27 million have been affected,” Abu-Dayyeh said in a statement. “The death of the 17-year-old should be yet another shocking wake up call for Egypt.”

WASHINGTON, DC: Bill protects boy-baby-genital-cutting, ritual slaughter as "religious freedom"

Freedom to cut babies, but not from being cut

The Jerusalem Post
May 19, 2016

House passes bill protecting circumcision, ritual slaughter as religious freedoms

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A bill unanimously approved by the U.S. House of Representatives would extend religious protections to advocates of circumcision and ritual slaughter as well as atheists, addressing what its sponsors describe as an increase in religious persecution in recent years.

The bill, passed Monday, would broaden the definition of “violations of religious freedom” in the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 to include the persecution of advocates of male circumcision or ritual animal slaughter. [Does that include any opposition to male genital cutting or ritual slaughter?] Atheists would become a new protected class. 

The measure, which moves to the Senate for consideration, was named for retired Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., a longtime champion of human rights who authored the 1998 law.

2D Session

May 17, 2016
Received; read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations

To amend the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 to improve the ability of the United States to advance religious freedom globally through enhanced diplomacy, training, counterterrorism, and foreign assistance efforts, and through stronger and more flexible political responses to religious freedom violations and violent extremism worldwide, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SEC. 102. Annual Report on International Religious Freedom.
(a) In general.—Section 102(b)(1) of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (22 U.S.C. 6412(b)(1))
["Each Annual Report {of the Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom} shall contain the following:"]
is amended—
(3) in subparagraph (B) ["Violations of Religious Freedom"], in the matter preceding clause (i) ["An asseessment and description of the nature and extent of violations of religious freedom in each foreign country, including persecution of one religious group by another religious group, religious persecution by governmental and non-governmental entitites, persecution targeted at individuals or particular denominations or entire religions..."—

(A) by inserting “persecution of lawyers, politicians, or other human rights advocates seeking to defend the rights of members of religious groups or highlight religious freedom violations, prohibitions on ritual
animal slaughter or male infant circumcision,” after “entire religions,”...

“The world is experiencing an unprecedented crisis of international religious freedom, a crisis that continues to create millions of victims; a crisis that undermines liberty, prosperity and peace; a crisis that poses a direct challenge to the U.S. interests in the Middle East, Russia, China and sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere,” Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., who authored the bill, said in a statement.

There have been increasing calls in recent years in northern European countries for an end to circumcision and ritual slaughter, spurred in part by anti-Muslim hostility [but mainly by a well-founded concern for human rights], U.S. government and European Jewish officials have said. [And that constitutes "persecution of advocates" how?]
The bill’s tier system for how well or poorly countries protect religious freedom would be similar to the one used in the annual State Department report on human trafficking. That report is influential, and countries seeking the good graces of the United States strive to improve their ranking by cracking down on the practice.

Smith is the chairman of the House subcommittee on human rights, and as a co-chairman of the Helsinki Committee, the congressional panel that monitors human rights overseas, has made the resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe a focus.

Smith’s office, announcing the passage of the bill, headlined the statement “Combating Persecution of Christians and Anti-Semitism,” although many of its protections would extend in the current climate to moderate Sunni Muslims and non-Sunni Muslim sects in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Myanmar.

Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., the bill’s lead Democratic sponsor, said in the same statement that the bill would “better address the religious freedom and violent extremism problems being experienced in the 21st century.”

The bill integrates the 1998 law’s protections into U.S. national security priorities, mandating that the ambassador at large for religious freedom – currently Rabbi David Saperstein, a veteran Reform movement leader — report directly to the secretary of state. It also adds new requirements for presidential reporting to Congress on religious freedom violations and training for diplomats in identifying violations of religious freedoms.

ZIMBABWE: 14-year-old dies from genital cutting in hospital

Manica Post (Zimbabwe)
May , 2016

Circumcision goes terribly wrong. . . as boy dies during procedure

by Samuel Kadungure, Senior Reporter
A 14-YEAR-OLD boy, Ashley Matsvaire, died while undergoing voluntary medical male circumcision at Triangle Hospital in Chiredzi, on Tuesday, The Manica Post can reveal.

The incident left the boy’s parents seething with anger and alleging negligence on part of the hospital staff.

Mr Daniel Matsvaire, the boy’s father, said they had since requested an independent pathologist to ascertain the actual cause of his death.

The Matsvaires have since met the medical team whose explanation for Ashley’s death was internal secretion which resulted in water being leaked into his lungs.

His mother, Mrs Tendai Jamela, said her son was in a jovial mood when she escorted him to the hospital for circumcision around 6am.

“There is an element of negligence on the part of the team involved because when he returned from the theatre, he was lifeless. I was called in to look at him, but his body was very cold. I asked Dr Ziki why he was lifeless, but he told me that he had injected him with another injection to stop the pain. I insisted again after some time as he remained in that state of unconsciousness and again the doctor told me not to worry,” said Mrs Jamela.

She said the boy was given an epileptic tablet and water as they prepared him for surgery.

“Ashley was epileptic and they gave him some medication as they prepared him for theatre. They went on to inject him to cause him to sleep while they perform the process, but he never regained consciousness,” said Mrs Jamela, who said she never left the hospital premises and became suspicious when the process dragged for nearly two hours.

Mr Daniel Matsvaire, the boy’s father, said he met the hospital authorities late Wednesday afternoon where he was advised by one Dr Ziki that they had opted to inject the child due to his epileptic condition.

“The doctor said the circumcision surgery was successful and at some point the boy showed signs of life, but became unconscious again. Their explanation was that he developed an internal secretion and released water into the lungs and died.

We are requesting a second specialist opinion from an independent pathologist because their explanation does not add up....

Masvingo police spokesperson, Inspector Charity Mazula, said ...“I ... have tasked someone in Chiredzi to investigate the matter[.]”...

Friday, April 29, 2016

ILLINOIS: American Academy of Pediatrics backs down, a bit, sort of.

May 2016

The Circumcision Debate: Beyond Benefits and Risks

by Andrew L. Freedman and M.D. Faap

In 2007, following a flurry of reports describing a benefit of circumcision in the fight against HIV, the American Academy of Pediatrics reconvened the task force on circumcision to update its policy statement of 1999.[1] Rather than simply incorporating this new information, the committee chose to start from scratch and rereview the medical literature. The task force’s work culminated in a policy statement published in 2012, the centerpiece of which was the statement that “the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks.”[2] This formulation of the debate, “benefits versus risks” rather than “medical necessity,” [or "benefits and harms", or "functions of the foreskin" or "ethics"]  resulted in wide-ranging ramifications.

To many, especially in the lay press, this was interpreted as moving the needle from a neutral stance, as the 1999 guidelines were viewed, to being pro circumcision. It was vigorously criticized by anticircumcision activists, as well as many, primarily European, physicians and medical societies. Difficulties with this approach included the lack of a universally accepted metric to accurately measure or balance the risks and benefits.  [In fact, the AAP made no effort to balance them at all] In particular, there was insufficient information about the actual incidence and burden of nonacute [or acute] complications [or death].[3] In this issue, Sneppen and Thorup[4] use meticulous epidemiologic technique to assess the likelihood of needing a circumcision in a society in which the cultural norm is to preserve the prepuce. [And they find that likelihood to be less than one in 200] Work such as this, along with the subsequent avalanche of reports evaluating the risks and benefits [What "avalanche" apart from a flurry of advocacy articles by wild-eyed Brian Morris?], has helped to inform and animate the dialogue among physicians with a stake in the circumcision debate. But has this really helped to inform the public? Or are we just arguing among ourselves?

What is often lost in the reporting on the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines was the second half of the benefits/risk sentence, “the procedure’s benefits justify access to this procedure for families who choose it, ” and later “health benefits are not great enough to recommend routine circumcision.” [This line was missing from most summaries.] What was the task force really saying?

To understand the recommendations, one has to acknowledge that when parents decide on circumcision, the health issues are only one small piece of the puzzle. In much of the world, newborn circumcision is not primarily a medical decision. [In most of the world it is not a decision at all.] Most circumcisions are done due to religious and cultural tradition. In the West, although parents may use the conflicting medical literature to buttress their own beliefs and desires, for the most part parents choose what they want for a wide variety of nonmedical reasons.

There can be no doubt that religion, culture, aesthetic preference, familial identity, and personal experience all factor into their decision. Few parents when really questioned are doing it solely to lower the risk of urinary tract infections or ulcerative sexually transmitted infections. Given the role of the phallus in our culture, it is not illegitimate to consider these realms of a person’s life in making this nontherapeutic, only partially medical decision. [The owner of a phallus, unlike a mere penis, is an adult man. He is the only one with any right to make this nontherapeutic, only partially medical decision.] The task force was sensitive to the fact that as physicians, although we claim authority in the medical realm, we have no standing to judge on these other elements.

The ethical standard used was “the best interest of the child,” and in this setting the well-informed parent was felt to be the best proxy to pass this judgment. [But there is no need for a judgement, and hence no need for a proxy.] Protecting this option was not an idle concern [Who said this option has to be protected, or that paediatricians have any role in protecting it?] at a time when there are serious efforts in both the United States and Europe to ban the procedure outright. [No, only to agre-restrict it until the owner is of an age to decide for himself whether  he wants less penis. ]


In circumcision, what we have is a messy immeasurable choice that we leave to parents to process and decide for themselves rather than dictate to them. [False dichotomy. The real choice is between leaving the baby alone and anyone being allowed to cut healthy parts off her or him or them.]  This may seem odd in a society in which circumcision is rarely sought, but makes perfect sense in the multicultural world in which many of us live. [The elephant in the room here is the ethics of performing unnecessary, nontherapeutic, only partially medical reductive genital surgery on a non-consenting person.]

To the medical community, your efforts to improve our ability to accurately educate parents are needed. [Physician, educate thyself. Learn about the complex structure and many functions of the foreskin before you claim any right to educate others about it.] But we have to accept that there likely will never be a knockout punch that will end the debate.


To the anticircumcision activists, I would suggest that rather than directing an angry focus on the negative and the courts, your efforts would be better spent to educate and promote the prepuce positively [which is why we call ourselves "intactivists"] , to win in the court of public opinion, and to change the culture, so as to make having a foreskin be the “popular thing to do.” {He still doesn't get it. Having a foreskin is not something you do, because it is "popular". A foreskin is something you have as of right because you were born with it, unless someone steals it from you.]

I know it sounds naïve, but my challenge to all of us is to imagine a day we can peacefully live in a world in which not all penises have to look the same. ['Why can't we just get along?' They don't have to look the same, but how they look should be up to their owners, nobody else. And it's not all about looks.]


 1. American Academy of Pediatrics. Circumcision Policy Statement. Task Force on Circumcision. Pediatrics. 1999;103(3);686-693. Reaffirmation published on 116(3);796

 2. American Academy of Pediatrics Task Force on Circumcision. Circumcision policy statement. Pediatrics. 2012;130(3):585–586

 3. Blank S, Brady M, Buerk E, et al; American Academy of Pediatrics Task Force on Circumcision. Male circumcision. Pediatrics. 2012;130(3).
Available at: www. pediatrics. org/ cgi/content/ full/ 130/ 3/ e756

4. Sneppen I, Thorup J. Foreskin morbidity in uncircumcised males. Pediatrics. 2016;137(5):e20154340
POTENTIAL CONFLICT OF INTEREST: The author has indicated he has no potential confl icts of interest to disclose. [Except being paid to cut babies' genitals, and cutting his own son on his parents' kitchen table, contrary to all surgical protocols.]

To cite: Freedman AL and FAAP M. The Circumcision Debate: Beyond Benefi ts and Risks. Pediatrics. 2016;137(5):e20160594

LONDON: Secular Doctors hail Exeter ruling

National Secular Society (UK)
April 22, 2016

Secular medics welcome religious circumcision ruling

A High Court judge has ruled against a devout Muslim who wanted his children circumcised, finding that the boys should be able to make the choice themselves in a judgement welcomed by the Secular Medical Forum.

Dr Antony Lempert of the SMF described the ruling as a small but "welcome" step "towards safeguarding children from forced genital cutting."

Religious requirements "should not be allowed to override a person's most fundamental right to grow up with an intact body and to make their own choices about permanent bodily modifications," he said.

"It is a procedure that permanently removes healthy, erogenous and functional tissue from the most intimate part of a person's body without that person's consent and for no medical reason.

"That it should take a parental disagreement in court for a child to be protected from forced genital cutting remains a serious concern from a child safeguarding perspective."

The judge said that the boys' mother was "resolutely opposed" to having the children circumcised and ruled that "There is no guarantee that these boys will wish to continue to observe the Muslim faith with the devotion demonstrated by their father, although that may very well be their choice."

She added: "They are still very young and there is no way of anticipating at this stage how the different influences in their respective parental homes will shape and guide their development over the coming years."

James Chegwidden, who acted as junior counsel for the mother in the case, said that while he could not comment on the specifics of the case, the ruling was "an encouraging step towards the legal protection every child deserves."

He said that the decision was "a reminder that, together with the freedom to practise a religion or philosophy for oneself, comes the necessary obligation not to impose that religion or philosophy on others."

But he warned that the case revealed "just how limited our current legal protection of our children is."

"Bodily autonomy is a right of every child – it cannot be reduced or ignored simply because both its parents happen to be religious. For a right so fundamental as bodily autonomy for a child to depend totally on the whim of an adult is simply unacceptable.

"The court has still yet to classify infant circumcision as 'significant harm', despite the significant evidence that male genital cutting is at least as invasive as some forms of FGM."

The father, an Algerian-born Muslim who has lived in England for fifteen years, is now separated from the boys' mother, whom he had met ten years ago and subsequently lived with. He entered the UK using false travel documents but was subsequently given a British passport.

The couple separated after the mother, from Devon, and the two boys had to flee their home when he violently attacked her in 2012. He was described as "an increasingly controlling and violent individual who sought to impose restrictions on how she lived her life." He had previously "threatened many times that he will abduct the children to Algeria" and was "violent, threatening and controlling towards the mother."

Mrs Justice Roberts said ..."There are risks, albeit small, associated with the surgery, regardless of the expertise with which the operation is performed.

"There must be clear benefits which outweigh these risks which point towards circumcision at this point in time being in their best interests before I can sanction it as an appropriate course at this stage of their young lives."

The judge's warning about the risks of circumcision came as a medical tribunal heard the case of Dr Muhammad Chaudhary, a doctor accused of bungling a circumcision on a two month old baby, who then allegedly tried to bribe the child's family into dropping a claim against him.

He reportedly told the Muslim family that "Litigation in Muslim culture is not usually a route to adopt especially in ritual matters" in an attempt to stop action being taken against him.

Dr Chaudhary failed to repair the damage he had caused during four further surgeries. After he failed to fix the damage he had caused in the initial operation, he advised the family to "treat him [their son] like the Quran and be gentle."

The child was finally referred to a specialist surgeon, the Mirror reported, and had to endure three additional operations in a hospital.

Doctor Lempert said these cases occurred with "nauseating regularity."

There are practically no restrictions on who can perform forced genital cutting on young (male) children in the UK. The procedure is almost wholly unregulated in the UK. The reality is that we simply don't know the extent of harm caused to young children by ritual circumcision. We do know that many such children turn up in A&E and some need treatment in paediatric Intensive Care Units as a direct result of non-therapeutic circumcision.

"Dr Chaudhary is being investigated because he is a doctor who is alleged to have behaved dishonestly. Ironically, should Dr Chaudhary be removed from the medical register, he would no longer be required to satisfy even the limited requirements of the GMC in this matter and would be free to continue cutting young boys' genitals."

Earlier story

EXETER, UK: Court rules against cutting boys, (4, 6) till they are old enough to choose

BBC News
April 18, 2016

Muslim father loses circumcision court battle over sons

A Muslim father has failed to persuade a judge to rule his sons should be circumcised.

The man argued that circumcision would be in accordance with his religious beliefs.

But the boys' mother, who is separated from their father, disagreed.

At a Family Court hearing in Exeter, Mrs Justice Roberts said the boys, who are six and four, should first reach an age where they can make the decision for themselves.

'Individual choices'
The man had argued that it would be "in the children's best interests to allow them to be circumcised" in accordance with his "Muslim practice and religious beliefs".

His former partner "opposes that course until such time as the children have reached an age where they are competent to give consent to such a procedure," the judge added.

"There is no guarantee that these boys will wish to continue to observe the Muslim faith with the devotion demonstrated by their father, although that may very well be their choice.

"They are still very young and there is no way of anticipating at this stage how the different influences in their respective parental homes will shape and guide their development over the coming years."

Mrs Justice Roberts said she was deferring that decision "to the point where each of the boys themselves will make their individual choices once they have the maturity and insight to appreciate the consequences and longer-term effects of the decisions which they reach."

ONTARIO: Foreskin more sensitive to touch - study: headlines wrong

Cutting destroys foreskin sensitivity

by Hugh Young
The foreskin is more sensitive to touch than other sites on the penis, a study at Queens University, Ontario, has found.

It further implicitly found that the foreskin is infinitely more sensitive than its absence.
But that is not what the headlines would have you believe. Quite the reverse.

Psychology student Jennifer Bossio, her tutor Caroline Pukall and urologist Stephen S. Steele studied the sensitivity of the penises of 62 men, 32 intact and 30 cut. The men, aged 18 to 37, were excluded if they had sexual dysfunction. (Thus it was impossible to establish whether cutting has any effect on sexual dysfunction.)

The men were asked about their sexual functioning in five areas: erectile function, intercourse satisfaction, orgasmic function, sexual desire, and overall satisfaction. Genital cutting is likely to impact on ability to withhold orgasm until ready, pleasurable sensations during intercourse and before orgasm, and the quality of those sensations . The cut men of course could only rate their own satisfaction, not compare it with anyone else's.

The researchers measured touch sensitivity, touch pain threshhold, warmth detection and heat pain threshhold on four sites, two on the shaft, one on the glans and one on the outside of the foreskin, if any. (They also made the same measurements at a point on the forearm as a control.)

It is not clear why heat pain was studied. Few couples use painful heat as part of their lovemaking. (The notion that pain is an integral part of sex may be an artifact of male genital cutting.)

They established that the outside of the foreskin is no less sensitive to  the pain of pricking, to warmth, or to heat pain than the other sites of the penis (or to the site on the forearm). Thus its removal can only negatively impact on sexual sensation, just as the removal of the rest would. But they express this finding as a lack of  greater sensitivity, thereby stacking the deck.

They confirmed the finding of Sorrells et al. that "the foreskin was the most sensitive to tactile sensation stimuli." They comment that "given the high prevalence of fine-touch pressure receptors (Meissner corpuscles) in the preputial mucosa, this finding was not unexpected" and thereafter ignore it.

None of the many reports of this study picked up on this strange omission. Instead, under headings like:

- they promoted a finding quite the reverse of what the study actually established.

These misleading headlines and more have been collected by Circwatch.

The study has been thoroughly rebutted in the Huffington Post by Brian D. Earp

MEXICO: Male cutting officially discouraged

Pediatria Jovel
April 7, 2016

Mexico discourages infant male genital cutting

México desalienta la mutilación genital masculina infantil

Today April 7, 2016,  Mexico adopted the official standard for the care of women during pregnancy, childbirth and around it, and the newborn person.
El día de hoy 7 de abril de 2016, se aprobó en México la norma oficial para la atención de la mujer durante el embarazo, parto y puerperio y de la persona recién nacida.
This law fixed, in a nutshell, the minimum criteria for care during pregnancy, childbirth and puerperium of the woman and her baby; which will be of obligatory observance a day after its publication (from April 8, 2016) in all Mexico for all the public and private facilities that provide care to pregnant women and their babies before and after birth.
Esta ley fija, en pocas palabras, los criterios mínimos para la atención durante el embarazo, parto y puerperio de la mujer y su bebé; la cual será de observancia obligatoria un día después de su publicación (a partir del 8 de abril de 2016) en todo México para todos los establecimientos públicos y privados que brindan atención a mujeres embarazadas y sus bebés antes y después del nacimiento.
5.7.13 "avoid circumcision as a routine practice, since there is no scientific evidence proving a direct benefit to the newborn person".
5.7.13 "Evitar como práctica rutinaria la circuncisión, toda vez que no existe evidencia científica que compruebe un beneficio directo a la persona recién nacida"

SOUTH AFRICA: Youth kills himself after removal of his penis

Dispatch Live (South Africa)
March 25, 2016

Stricken teen ends his life after penile amputation due to circumcision complication

by Lulamile Feni
Instead of celebrating his grandson’s passage to manhood, a grieving archbishop now has to bury him.

Next Monday, Zion Methodist Church’s Archbishop Sipho Dlanaye will lay 16-year-old Minentle to rest at Ntsonyini village in Ngqeleni.

Minentle was found hanging by a rope at his grandfather’s house in Mchoncho village in Ngqeleni last Wednesday after a 10-month battle with a circumcision complication that saw him having a penile amputation.

The teenager had lived with his grandparents because his parents work in Johannesburg.

Dlanaye, who is also a police lieutenant, and his wife Noluthando Dlanaye spent months trying to counsel the stricken teen.

At an initiation school in May last year Minentle was ill-treated, assaulted with sticks and burnt on his buttocks.

He was treated in hospitals in Mthatha and Libode for complications following the circumcision.

“He could not take it any more. It was too heavy for him to deal with it and he could not see a future as a man after he had a penile amputation following the illegal circumcision that went horribly wrong,” said Dlanaye.

...Noluthando told the Daily Dispatch her grandson had shown no sign of suicidal tendencies during their weekly visits to him in hospital.

It was only last Monday that they realised he was looking drained and feeling frustrated.

“He denied that there was something worrying him. But two days later Minentle committed suicide,” said the grandmother.

She said she spoke to him on the phone an hour before he took his life and “he sounded happy”.

SYDNEY: Two jailed for 15 months for cutting girls, despite "no significant injury"

ABC News
March 18, 2015

Pair given jail time over genital mutilation of young sisters

by Jayne Margetts and staff
A mother and former midwife convicted over the genital mutilation of young girls have been sentenced to a maximum 15 months' imprisonment in a case believed to be the nation's first successful prosecution over female genital mutilation.

Former midwife Kubra Magennis, 72, and the mother of the victims, who cannot be named, were convicted in November of mutilating two sisters in separate procedures during religious ceremonies at homes in Wollongong and Sydney's north-west between 2009 and 2012.

The girls were about seven at the time.

A third offender, senior community leader Shabbir Mohammedbhai Vaziri, was found guilty of acting as an accessory after the fact by directing community members to lie to police about the practice.

He was also sentenced to 15 months' imprisonment.

The procedure, known as "khatna", involves nicking or cutting a girl's clitoris in the presence of several female elders and is considered a rite of passage by some members of the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community.

Supreme Court Judge Justice Peter Johnson said these kinds of cases were "difficult to prosecute" because of their "unusual and novel circumstances".

He said the mother of the two girls requested that the former nurse and midwife carry out the procedure.

"I am satisfied KM affected injury to the clitoris of each child instructed by A2" and "used a metal instrument for the purpose of cutting," Justice Johnson said.

The court heard the girl's mother had been subjected to the same procedure as a child in Kenya.
The judge said A2 was a qualified pharmacist and an, "intelligent and well-educated woman".

One of the girls, known only as C1, told police "it hurt" when the procedure was carried out.

Justice Johnson said she was "told by her mother not to discuss it with anyone ... this is a big secret. Never tell anyone".

The judge found no significant physical injury had been inflicted on either child but there were "likely to be some adverse psychological effects".

During a sentencing hearing in the New South Wales Supreme Court, crown prosecutor Nanette Williams said the girls were "effectively voiceless" in the face of their mother and Magennis.

She said none of the offenders had shown any remorse and they had only given "qualified, ambiguous and self-serving" apologies.

All three offenders will be assessed for their suitability for home detention.

SOUTH AFRICA: Another botch

Cape Times
March 6, 2016

Op left teen without tip of penis

by Zelda Venter
PRETORIA: It was meant to be a routine circumcision, but the procedure left a Pretoria teenager without the tip of his penis.

His mother had taken him to the Soshanguve Community Health Care Clinic on May 2, 2014 for the circumcision. The mother said when they arrived, her 16-year-old son was taken to a room where a doctor was to perform the procedure. However, the doctor mistakenly amputated the tip of the penis during the operation.

Thereafter, the tip was placed on ice in a plastic bag and taken to the Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital, along with the boy. There doctors tried to reattach the tip without success.

The botched circumcision has resulted in a R1.1 million [$US72, 180] damages claim against the Gauteng MEC for Health.

The teenager’s mother, who is unemployed and lives in North West, instituted the R1.1m damages claim in the high court of Pretoria on behalf of her son.

According to the mother, it took three months for the private part to heal and doctors have told the boy that it is still too early to do reconstructive surgery.

The series of operations required will cost around R150 000 [$US9,840], the court heard.

The mother is blaming the doctor for her son’s deformity, saying the doctor was negligent.

She also charges that had the reaction been quicker, and the tip of the penis placed on ice and delivered to another hospital sooner, it was possible it could have been reattached. She said the doctor took his time in placing the penis tip on ice and arranging for her son to be taken to hospital.

If the tip and her son were rushed to hospital, his private part could have been saved, she said. Aside from the disfiguration, the boy suffered severe psychological shock and trauma, and had lost out on one of the “amenities” of life. She claimed R380 000 for his future medical expenses and R600 000 for trauma.

His lawyer, Greyling Erasmus, said the matter had been postponed to a date still to be determined.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

SOUTH AFRICA: 43 circumcision deaths

Genital cutting claims lives of 43...

18 December 2015

Heat claims lives of three initiates

by Patsy Beangstrom
Northern Cape - Three initiates have died in the Northern Cape as a result of heat exhaustion since the start of the summer initiation season in November.

The death toll from botched circumcisions has risen to 43 nationwide.

Xhanti Teki, media liaison officer of the provincial Department of Co-operative Governance, Human Settlement and Traditional Affairs, on Thursday confirmed the three deaths of initiates in the Northern Cape due to heat exhaustion which he attributed to the soaring heat conditions.

...The department further stated on Thursday that an interdict has been sought against an illegal initiation school in Dithakong.

“The interdict was served to the respondent on December 11. The intention of championing the legal avenue is to clamp down on illegal initiation schools.”

Teki added that the Draft Northern Cape Initiation Bill, which will legally regulate the practice, was currently being processed and it was expected that it would be promulgated in 2016.

Newly appointed Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, David van Rooyen, told reporters in Pretoria earlier this week that the death toll from initiation schools nationally had risen to 43 which he added was “totally unacceptable”.

The Eastern Cape reported 30 deaths, followed by the Free State (six), Northern Cape (three), Western Cape (two), Gauteng and North West (one each).

Van Rooyen said the circumcision ritual faces challenges which include abductions, kidnappings, and the mushrooming of illegal and unregistered schools.

“We are working with various stakeholders across various sectors to ensure that our young men can undergo this rite of passage in a safe manner,” the minister said.

... Between 2005 and 2015, more than 500 initiates have died while 300 have lost their manhood, official statistics show.

FLORIDA: Boy spite-circumcised, has leukaemia, father keeps mother away

It's official: he's cut. Ah well, only 13 years till he can sue...

the Sun-Sentinal (Florida)
December 15, 2015

Boy at center of circumcision fight has acute leukemia; mom seeks visits

by Marc Freeman
The 5-year-old Palm Beach County boy whose parents' battle over circumcision was followed around the world now is in a fight for his life.

The child was diagnosed with acute leukemia last month — apparently soon after he was finally circumcised as his father long wished, according to developments revealed for the first time in court on Tuesday.

But the mother, Heather Hironimus — who was jailed for nine days in May until she consented to the circumcision — asked the court to let her see her boy as he undergoes chemotherapy treatments. The boy's father, Dennis Nebus, has had temporary full custody since mid-May, after Hironimus hid with the boy for almost three months in a Broward domestic violence shelter.

Nebus wants Circuit Judge Jessica Ticktin to bar Hironimus from any visits because of claims she "willfully" violated a prior court order by posting on social media about the child — in his case the leukemia diagnosis — in Facebook posts that apparently were distributed on the Internet by anti-circumcision activists.

"She has shown total disregard for this child," argued May L. Cain, attorney for Nebus, further blasting Hironimus and her attorney for their decision to "feed the press" by announcing in recent court pleadings the circumcision has happened.

"You know that all of the things that have gone on in this case and in the pleadings have been picked up by the media," Cain told Hironimus while asking her questions Tuesday. "You were on the front page of the Sun Sentinel, right? You didn't think that putting out there that your child was circumcised is a private matter that should have been private for him? Do you think that the world has the right to know that he's been circumcised?" [But the ownership of his genitals was not a private matter that should have been private for him?]
Brian M. Moskowitz, the West Boynton mom's lawyer, told the judge that because the boy has been circumcised there is no longer a reason for the court to keep her from the child because she would have no reason to kidnap him.

"The issue of circumcision has been removed, and that was the underlying basis for the order" giving Nebus, of Boca Raton, custody, Moskowitz said. "The circumstances have changed."

The attorney also said the child's medical crisis is even more reason for the court to allow her access to the boy.

"This is when the child needs both parents more than ever," Moskowitz said. The 31-year-old mother has seen the child only one time — in his hospital room on Nov. 10 after Nebus, 48, told her about the boy's condition — since her arrest in May.

The child is now in remission and living with Nebus, but still has chemotherapy treatments ahead to ensure the boy has a good chance of being cured, according to Dr. Carmen Ballestas, his pediatric oncologist.

Ticktin said she would consider the positions of both sides before issuing her ruling on the mother's request for visitation rights "as soon as I can."

In September, before the diagnosis, Hironimus was granted permission for supervised visits with the child at a neutral site, a Delray Beach family center, with a plan for an off-duty cop watching at her expense. But the visits never happened because of continued quarrels among the parents over details about the meetings, such as Nebus insisting she not accompany the boy into a bathroom.

Then, in early November, Hironimus was suddenly summoned to the hospital for her long-awaited reunion with her son — just not as she ever envisioned. She spent 3-1/2 hours in the hospital room with him, playing together with his toys and watching the movie "Finding Nemo."

After she told the boy she would be back the next day, "He had a big smile on his face," she said. But when Hironimus returned to the hospital she said she was met by security guards preventing her from coming to the room.

Hironimus testified that she only posted online about the boy's diagnosis so her family and friends could pray for him. She said she's no longer in direct contact with the circumcision opposition groups that supported her after she decided to fight the procedure she agreed to in a 2012 parenting plan.

"We have a mother here who consistently does not follow the rules," Cain told the judge. [We have a mother here who consistently puts her son's welfare ahead of "rules" unconscionably imposed by a control-freak father through a compliant court.]

Hironimus still remains bound by the conditions of a pretrial intervention agreement that resolved her criminal case in July. Hironimus was not required to plead guilty, but she admitted "responsibility for interfering with a lawful custody order."

She's required to undergo a mental health evaluation [but Nebus isn't?] and finish all recommended treatment; submit to random drug testing; and check in with a probation officer once a month.

The State Attorney's Office will drop the felony count in the summer if Hironimus successfully meets the requirements, including the completion of a four-hour parenting course. If she fails, she could once again face prosecution and a maximum punishment of five years in prison for a conviction.

Earlier story

SYDNEY: Botched circumcisions part of child abuse at boy's home (Australia)
December 12, 2015

Boys had penises cut off, Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse hears

by Megan Palin
WARNING: Disturbing content
A MAN who alleged his penis was cut off by a male staff member at a Sydney boys’ home was one of many children who were mutilated and severely abused at the facility, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has heard.

Gordon Myers, 50, told he was 13 when he was sent to the institution for the first time in 1978.

In his submission to the commission, Mr Myers said he was raped and bashed by various staff at the home on a regular basis over the five years he lived there.

He said a male staff member who “didn’t like little boys with foreskins” used to perform illegal and botched circumcisions on the children at Daruk.

“He cut my penis off,” Mr Myers told

“I had just turned 13. He took me into the clinic and said ‘we have permission to circumcise you’. I said ‘no you don’t’.

“He knocked me out with a needle and I woke up in the middle of it and there was (a second staff member there as well), I screamed in pain.

“Because I was so tiny, he probably thought, stupidly, ‘don’t give him as much anaesthetic to put him under’.”

Mr Myers said there was “blood everywhere” and that he was sent to Windsor Hospital where a surgeon “sewed (his) penis back on”.

He claims the hospital “covered up” the incident.

A spokeswoman for Hawkesbury District Health Service — which replaced Windsor Hospital — told there were no records of the incident because they had likely been destroyed.

“Having checked with our hospital’s Medical Records Department, the records for the old hospital would have been destroyed if the patient had not presented again within a certain period of time,” the spokeswoman said.

“The Medical Records manager confirmed that she has previously discussed the subject with the patient identified, and advised that unfortunately no records can be located.”

Mr Myers said his penis “never grew” as a result of the trauma.

“All the nerve endings aren’t there,” he said. “It was a complete reattachment of the top of it.”

He said the deformity had a profound effect on his life.

“I can’t have children and I can’t have sex,” he said.

Mr Myers provided with copies of medical documents which reveal Dr Philip Sutherland examined him in March this year for his submission to the Royal Commission.

“I can confirm that the size of Gordon’s penis and scrotum are childlike,” the report read.

Mr Sutherland referred Mr Myers to urologist Stephen Ruthven for further assessment.

Dr Ruthven concluded in a report sighted by that Mr Myers had “testicular microlithiasis”, a condition where small clusters of calcium form in the testicles.

Dr Ruthven could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Mr Myers said he was not the only child whose penis was severed by the staff member at Daruk Training School.

“Every now and then he’d grab a kid to rape or circumcise and I was one of them,” he said.
Mr Myers said he was returned to the boys’ home following surgery.

“(The staff member) wanted to have another go and rape me a second time,” he said. “He raped me heaps of time before that but I wasn’t going to let that happen again.

“I just lost the plot and flogged him. I turned very violent.”

Mr Myers said dozens of boys were brutally, sexually and physically abused by staff at the home and that the perpetrators hadn’t been brought to justice.

He said an extensive cover-up linked to a VIP paedophile ring had protected the offenders and prevented them from being investigated.

Senator Bill Heffernan recently campaigned for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse to expand its investigation to include the judicial system.

In October this year he told Senate estimates that he had given the commission “very disturbing” police documents that named at least 28 alleged paedophiles, some of whom were prominent Australians.

But he said the commission had told him it could not investigate the cases because they were outside its terms of reference.

Carl Orme, 50, told he was also a resident of Daruk Training school in 1978.

Mr Orme said he was routinely physically and sexually abused by several staff members at the home and that one at the school often taunted the boys and severed some of their penises.

“There was a male (staff member) there, and I will never forget his name,” Mr Orme said. “He was a very sick man.

“He’d start fondling with you and things and he would always threaten to circumcise everyone. “He used to scare you and everything, he’d get scissors out and grab hold of the old fella’ saying, ‘I’m going to cut it off if you don’t sit still, I’m going to cut your willy off’.

His excuse was ‘it’s clean to be circumcised’.

Mr Orme said the new arrivals were often the staff member’s main targets.

“Sometimes he would tell one of the boys that he liked, especially the new arrivals, and then take them back to the hospital,” he said.

“Then a couple of days later, that same little boy would come back so traumatised, everyone felt for him, as most boys had already been in the same position.

“I was taken to the hospital and told that they were going to circumcise me. I went off my brain and started to fight the officers in the room.

“I threw everything that I could at them, as I’d heard that two months before, one of the little boys had his penis cut off and I was so scared, and wasn’t going to allow anything like that happen to me.

“All my life I have wondered about that little boy, I still to this day try and think of his name. I also wonder whether he made it through life.”

The Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse is the largest Royal Commission in Australia’s history. It is focusing on the sexual abuse of children in institutions that were supposed to care for them.

After being granted an extension last year, the commission will now conclude at the end of 2017.

HELSINKI: Finnish Ombudsman wants male cutting age-restricted


Finland Times
October 10, 2015

Ombudsman for ending non-consented circumcision

The Ombudsman for Children Tuomas Kurttila has proposed a legislation which forbids the circumcision of boys for non-medical reasons.

The Ombudsman has proposed the initiative to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.
Currently, the circumcision of underage boys is regulated by a ministerial guideline but not by legislation.

According to Kurttila, ministerial guidelines are not sufficient regulatory means since parents are not obliged to ask the children their opinion about circumcision in the current guidelines.

“The guidelines do not require the explicit consent of the child regarding the measure even though the child is unable to understand the significance of circumcision,” said Kurttila in a statement.

According to Kurttila, every child's right to physical integrity in the country has to be safeguarded.

EASTERN CAPE: Circumcision death toll; 29

Novewmber 30, 2015

E Cape on a drive to curb initiation deaths

by Yanga Funani
The campaign to curb the death toll in the coming initiation season in the Eastern Cape is shifting up a gear as the thousands of young Xhosa men will embark on the traditional rite of passage over the next few weeks.

The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs in partnership with the Department of Health and the House of Traditional Leaders will hand over vehicles to oversee the safety of initiates this season.

At least 29 young men lost their lives during the winter circumcision period in the province this year.
This season, partnerships have been forged between the stakeholders to address the issues directly.

The theme of the campaign is, “Back to basics: Ensuring a safe passage to manhood for our boys, we are proud of our tradition”.

The campaign also included public engagements and door-to-door awareness programmes to inform parents about the correct procedures to follow.

SWAZILAND: More cut men have HIV than whole men

Why are we not surprised?

Star Africa
November 29, 2015

Swaziland: HIV infection higher among circumcised men – Survey

by APA
A study has shown that circumcised men have a higher HIV infection rate than uncircumcised men since 2007 when the Government of Swaziland introduced a policy on male circumcision, APA reports.

The study availed to APA Sunday morning [and available on this site since 2009]  states that out of the 305 circumcised men who were interviewed 21.8 percent were HIV positive compared to the 19.5 percent of uncircumcised men who were also interviewed and tested.

AIDS activist Vusi Matsebula told local media that most circumcised men are infected with HIV because of their behavior as they fail to use protection after undergoing the procedure because they believe circumcision is a preventive measure.

An official of Population Services International (PSI), Mandla Matsebula said; “The survey was conducted before the circumcision campaign was intensified. If they could conduct another survey now the results would be totally different.”  [Why should a more "intense" campaign have any different outcome? This is grasping at straws.]
Male circumcision, which is offered for free in Swaziland’s public hospitals, was introduced as a measure to minimize chances of infection by about 60 percent. [And still they chant their theoretical "60%" mantra, in  the face of real-world data that shows an increase in infection - using their own arithmetic - of  11.8%]
During school holidays the campaign gains momentum as male pupils are often the main targets for the free procedure funded by the government.

JOHANNESBURG: Mohel struck off after botch

Sunday Times (South Africa)
November 29, 2015

Jewish circumciser slapped with life ban after botched bris

by Pericles Anetos
The botched circumcision of a newborn boy has landed a senior Jewish religious practitioner with a lifetime ban.

The Beth Din, the Jewish religious court responsible for settling disputes, established a commission of inquiry after the baby's penis was partially amputated during what is commonly known as the bris.

As a result of the incident, the Johannesburg practitioner will not be allowed to conduct this procedure again and all mohelim - Jews trained to perform the covenant of circumcision - will have to be accredited and seek registration every two years.

The drastic sanction against the practitioner follows an investigation commissioned by Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein and the Beth Din.

The inquiry was conducted by retired KwaZulu-Natal deputy judge president Phillip Levinsohn, specialist urologist Dr Michael Cohen and Rabbi Dr Pinchas Zekry.

Victims of botched circumcisions wait for penis donors
The circumcision was performed last year and the commission's findings were announced this month.
The Beth Din said: "In 2014, a circumcision was performed that resulted in devastating and permanent injury to the baby."

No details were revealed of why this circumcision went wrong .

The Sunday Times was unable to establish how the baby is doing now and whether there have been surgical attempts to rectify the partial amputation of his penis.

The Beth Din said the " mohel will never be accredited to perform circumcisions".

It was found that the sacred duty of the bris was generally performed "carefully and compassionately" with due regard for the babies.

Goldstein said Jews had been circumcising their sons for almost 4000 years, since God first commanded Abraham to do so.

" [It] has a longer track record of proven safety than any other surgical procedure," he said.

"Jewish circumcisions have been done in South Africa for more than 175 years and this case is the first time that an injury of this severity has been reported."

The commission recommended that, among other things, the age and state of health of the practitioner be taken into account when deciding on accreditation.

The chief rabbi and the Beth Din fully accepted the findings and recommendations of the commission.

The changes recommended, Goldstein said, were about further improving the oversight of a system.

Prior to the release of the findings, the case triggered some online debate in the Jewish community.

Some people felt it was necessary to identify the practitioner in question so as to alert parents.