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surveyork
15:48

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.

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Schweinderl