Relevant articles

This page contains helpful documents and pamphlets for viewing and downloading.

  • The Child Rights International Network and the International NGO Council on Violence Against Children published in 2012 a report entitled “Violating Children’s Rights: Harmful practices based on tradition, culture, religion, or superstition.” The report refers to one of the provisions in the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child relevant to the practice of circumcision of male children. The Council was set up in 2006 as an advisory council to the UN to assure that the recommendations from the UN Study on Violence against Children were effectively implemented.

This document makes a powerful case for the rights of male children to be free from non-consensual genital cutting, in the context of the general rights of children to be free from violence. This is a very important document for nurses to be aware of and to reference when writing to policy-makers, or otherwise addressing the ethical problems of circumcision of male children. The report also addresses female genital cutting and surgical sex-assignment of intersex children among many other examples of harmful practices to which children are subject.

The section on Male Circumcision (pp. 21-22) states in part:

“Until recently, male circumcision has generally been challenged only when carried out by non-medical personal [sic] in unhygienic settings without pain relief. But a children’s rights analysis suggests that non-consensual, non-therapeutic circumcision of boys, whatever the circumstances, constitutes a gross violation of their rights, including the right to physical integrity, to freedom of thought and religion, and to protection from physical and mental violence. When extreme complications arise, it may violate the right to life.”