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Ritual Circumcision Ban Recommended In Sweden And Denmark By Medical Associations

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Medical associations in Sweden and Denmark have strongly recommended a ban on the non-medical circumcision of boys, reports the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

The Sweden Medical Association, which counts 85% of the country's physicians as members, recommended setting twelve as the minimum age for the procedure and requiring a boy's consent in a resolution which was unanimously passed by the ethics council, reported the Svenska Dagbladet.

The Danish College of General Practitioners, a group with 3,000 members, made a statement that ritual circumcision of boys was tantamount to abuse and mutilation, according to Danish newspaper BT. They polled their readers and found that 87% were in favor of a ban on non-medical circumcision.

In the Jewish tradition, the ritual circumcision is usually carried out eight days after a baby's birth. Ritual circumcision is also a part of the Muslim faith, usually taking place before the age of ten.

Current Swedish legislation states that both medical and non-medical circumcision must be carried out by a licensed professional. Jewish ritual circumcisers (mohels) receive licenses from the national health board, but are required to be attended by a doctor or nurse during the procedure.

In September 2013, the Child Rights International Network released a joint statement from the Nordic Ombudsmen for children and pediatric experts which said, "As Ombudsmen for Children and pediatric experts we are of the opinion that circumcision without medical indication is in conflict with Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which addresses the child’s right to express his/her own views in all matters concerning him/her, and Article 24, point 3, which states that children must be protected against traditional practices that may be prejudicial to their health." It was signed by representatives from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, and Greenland.

Though some see these recommendations as needed step forward for children's rights, others perceive them as a reflection of anti-Semitism and anti-immigrant sentiment in Nordic society.

Erik Ullenhag, Sweden's minister for integration, said that existing rules on circumcision would not be changed. "I have never met any adult man who experienced circumcision as an assault,” Ullenhag said, according to JTA. “The procedure is not very intensive and parents have the right to raise their children according to their faith and tradition."

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