This chapter considers recent socio-legal developments with regard to circumcisions performed for religious and cultural reasons (‘ritual male circumcision’ (RMC)), driven by evolving understandings of children’s interests and well-being, and parental rights or care. The chapter considers a convergence in approach based on international law and case studies of England, Germany and The Netherlands that focuses on medicalisation, parental consent and strict boundaries stated by civil and criminal law. National courts play an important role in this regard, as international bodies, governments, and higher courts are seeking to avoid having to pronounce themselves on the justifiability of RMC. It is argued that such avoidance is undesirable, and a wider societal discussion should be had that looks at matters including children’s physical and psychological wellbeing and concepts of autonomy (each discussed in this chapter). Prospects for such a debate are nonetheless undermined by hypocrisy on the part of those who wish to ban RMC but not other non-therapeutic interventions on children’s healthy bodies, and rising xenophobia, which undercuts the mutual respect required for a genuine reconsideration of RMC.
|Title of host publication||Child Safety, Welfare and Well-being|
|Subtitle of host publication||Issues and Challenges|
|Place of Publication||Singapore|
|Number of pages||26|
|Publication status||Published - 2022|
- Male circumcision