Circumcision in boys: Time for doctors to reconsider

“The Convention on the Rights of the Child from 1989 states in Article 19 that States “shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violation, injury or abuse…” Article 24.3 urges all States “to take all effective and appropriate measures with a view to abolishing traditional practices prejudical to the health of children”. Article 37 states that “no child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment…”.

In the UNICEF Implementation Handbook for the Convention (1998) it is stated in relation to Article 24.3 that a review is to be undertaken regarding “all forms of genital mutilation and circumcision”. Other traditional practices which are to be reviewed include “binding, scarring, burning, branding, forced holding under water…” and similar cruel treatment of children. No doubt it is time to act!

Apparently no such action has been taken and the Convention is not applied in any country as regards circumcision of boys – let alone regarding mutilation of girls ( which is done by the hundreds of thousands every year).”

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