Thanks to all those who attended, talked to us, took photos, hooted support, took videos, kept us in order, fed and watered us.
Join Men Do Complain for a vigil outside the German Embassy to mark the anniversary of the Cologne Ruling concerning the circumcision of a small boy. The Court in Cologne decided that;
“There was no consent by the child, who was four years old at the time, and since the child was not old enough to understand the situation, there was no question of such consent being given. There was consent by the parents, but this was not capable of justifying the commission of the elements of bodily harm.”
Sadly the cutting of children’s genitals continues despite this enlightened ruling.
We will be standing from 10:00 to 16:00. The address is 23 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8PZ.
The message is “Children’s rights not parents’ rites”. T-shirts and placards will be available on the day. There will also be an opportunity to engage the public and encourage them to sign our petition for the law that protects females from genital cutting to be made gender neutral.
Dear Mr Dobson,
I am writing to you today to remind you that on Human Rights Day 21st of March an unknown number of British baby boys and male children will have their normal healthy genitals cut without their informed consent, forever altering and potentially diminishing their lives.
The anachronistic practice of male circumcision breaches the human rights of males in several respects.
Article 2 – Right to Life
Recently baby Goodluck Caubergs bled to death after a negligently performed circumcision. The nurse who circumcised him was not tried on human rights grounds but was found guilty of Goodluck’s manslaughter following a wholly unnecessary operation.
Article 3 – Prohibition of Torture
There is good evidence that stress hormone levels in children being circumcised reach levels equal to the levels seen in victims of torture.
Article 8 – Right to Respect for Private and Family Life
It is difficult to see how a practice that casually discards a section of a boy’s private parts without his consent and without a medical imperative can be respectful of that boy’s private life.
Article 9 – Freedom of Thought Conscience and Religion
This right is a qualified right in that one person’s right cannot be used to override another person’s right to freedom of religion; an adult may not override a child’s right, no matter that they are that child’s parent. What if the child being circumcised chooses, when they are capable, a religion such as Sikhism? A central tenet of Sikhs is the perfection of the body that God made.
Please take note of Human Rights Day and let us try to make the world and this country in particular a safer place for children to grow up in. As the Member of Parliament for Holborn and St Pancras I expect that you consider it your obligation to represent the rights of all constituents including those not yet able to vote nor indeed able to give their consent to genital modification.
No one has ever been prosecuted under the FGM legislation.
Almost all cultures that practice the genital cutting of children cut both sexes. Female circumcision will continue as long as society tolerates male circumcision.
Female circumcision and male circumcision are always compared selectively. The very worst form of female circumcision is selected and contrasted with “normal” male circumcision. Females are protected by law from even a ritual pinprick that removes no tissue and quite right too. Men Do Complain believes it is right to protect females and all children from any unnecessary interference. Sadly the argument that all children should be treated equally works both ways, those in favour of cutting females say, with some justification, that if you tolerate the cutting of boys then you should tolerate the cutting of girls.
There are of course differences between male and female circumcision, although the tissues most commonly excised are similar in structure and function. The fixation on the differences between male and female circumcision loses sight of the greatest similarity, which is that all non-therapeutic genital cutting is an assault if there is no valid consent to the procedure. No one would argue that a black eye and a cut lip are the same; yet all would agree that if an adult hit a child in the face and left an injury then it was the blow that defined the offence not the nature of the resulting injury.
In an age where children’s rights are increasingly recognised, equal opportunities promoted, and human rights incorporated into our legislation it is difficult to see the non-therapeutic cutting of children’s genitals as anything other than a crime. All children should be protected from the inappropriate activities of adults.
MDC supporters took the message that no children should be discriminated against to the Department of Health. Whitehall was also the venue for another demonstration which provided a stream of people on a very cold afternoon. Ninety seven leaflets were handed out and some new friends were found among the passers by. The young man in the picture below certainly noticed our presence and asked if he could be photographed with Richard in the bloody overalls. The general public seems to get our message it is the politicians and institutions that are so very resistant to a change that is long overdue.
Men Do Complain is a secular organisation. We do not make policy based on faith, we make policy based on evidence. Most of the evidence is peer reviewed, some is anecdotal and some policy is based on secular law, The Human Rights Act 1998 for example.
Taking faith out of policy making is a logical step if you believe that all people are equal regardless of race, religion, culture, sexual orientation, anatomical difference or any other category that can be used by one group to denigrate another group.
Men Do Complain was delighted to march with friends from other organisations with a secular basis; the Secular Medical Forum working for faith free medical practice and Survivors Voice Europe representing children sexually abused by clerics. Many thanks to the organisers the Secular Europe Campaign.