There is no religious or cultural right to self-harm or bodily injury

Dear Joseph,

I am Ümmühan Karagözlü, a colleague of Cees, and would like to join the discussion between Cees and you. Thank you for your efforts to find out what is important to him and also to me in our fight for mental, emotional and physical health and genital intactness of individuals, who aren’t mature to consent in not medically indicated surgeries.

I think I agree with you in many places, for instance that an adult person of at least 18 years is free to undergo surgery for cosmetic reasons, unless a psychiatric or similar authorized specialist can prove, that the patient is suffering from a disease called Body Integrity Identity Disorder, BIID [also referred to as Amputee Identity Disorder]. In my opinion, then the physician has to clear up this point with this person, and he has to deny his patient’s demand to be operated, for ethical reasons and has to follow his oath: first, do no harm. But, there is no doubt, under the circumstances of a psychological disorder no one can decide voluntarily.

Coercions, and, as I would like to add, veiled or open threats and unsubstantiated accusations, whatever their origin, are expressions of verbal violence and therefore have to be condemned. Such conditions impede free choice, impair autonomous decision, and damage the public opinionforming process. Consenting under such psychological strain can’t be recognized as legal valid.

The German discussion about circumcision

For a long time, in the FRG [Bundesrepublik Deutschland] non-therapeutic MGM was considered harmless. Nobody suspected that this operation violates child’s well-being and hurts children’s rights. Not until a Cologne court [Landgericht] had judged, that ritual circumcision of boys has to be recognized as bodily injury, a heated public discussion inflamed, whether this religious ceremony, a not medically indicated surgery with a huge rate of complications, must be punished and forbidden by law or must be tolerated as religious / cultural ceremony respectively as parental custody. In particular, the pressure exerted by the Jewish religious communities, which saw themselves threatened by a possible ban in their right to exist in Germany, the German Parliament [Bundestag] felt compelled to resolve the dispute and clarify and regulate the issue [1].

[1] Circumcision Cologne judgment provides criticism

My translation:

Parental consent violates childhood because children have a right to non-violence education under the Civil Code. The intervention runs counter to the right of the child to be able to decide later on his religious affiliation. „Conversely, parents‘ right to education is not unduly impaired if they are held to wait to see whether the boy later, if he is mature, decides himself for circumcision as a visible sign of belonging to Islam,“ said Judge Thomas Beenken. –

Original:

Beschneidung: Kölner Urteil sorgt für Kritik

Die elterliche Einwilligung verstoße gegen das Kindeswohl, weil Kinder laut Bürgerlichem Gesetzbuch ein Recht auf gewaltfreie Erziehung haben. Der Eingriff laufe dem Recht des Kindes zuwider, später selbst über seine Religionszugehörigkeit entscheiden zu dürfen. „Umgekehrt wird das Erziehungsrecht der Eltern nicht unzumutbar beeinträchtigt, wenn sie gehalten sind abzuwarten, ob sich der Knabe später, wenn er mündig ist, selbst für die Beschneidung als sichtbares Zeichen der Zugehörigkeit zum Islam entscheidet“, sagte Richter Thomas Beenken.

http://www.ksta.de/koeln/beschneidung-koelner-urteil-sorgt-fuer-kritik-5021478

During the German parliamentary debate, which closed up to legalize circumcision on little boys without specific reason, just because parents wish their sons being mutilated [§ 1631d BGB], media, politicians and especially representatives of Jewish Faith Community exerted great pressure to anyone who criticized that non therapeutic surgery. Representatives of Jewish faith communities, journalists and even the German chancellor Angela Merkel accused everyone as radical right wing, although this did not apply to most critics. In fact up to few exceptions, activists only were engaged to protect newborn and infant boys to undergo severe risks to health without medical indication. Nevertheless, even the efforts of those, who pointed out to be committed to the universal, indivisible and inalienable human rights [UDHR, Paris 1948], which are entitled to all children by UN Convention on the Rights of the Child [CRC], without regarding their gender, descent, race and their parents’ membership in a religious community, were discredited as a new attempt to persecute, expel and annihilate the Jewry. I want to give you some examples.

Representatives of Jewish Faith Community

My translation:

Conference of European Rabbis

Rabbi: „Most severe attack since Holocaust“

The Conference of the European Rabbi regards in the decision of a Cologne court [Landgericht] on circumcision the most serious attack on Jewish life in Germany since the Holocaust. The rabbi will ignore the ruling and calls for further circumcision, despite the decision. […]

No future for Jewish community in Germany

„If the law is adopted, there is no future for the Jewish communities in Germany.“

Original:

Konferenz Europäischer Rabbiner

Rabbiner: „Schwerster Angriff seit Holocaust“

Die Konferenz Europäischer Rabbiner sieht im Kölner Entscheid zur Beschneidung den schwersten Angriff auf jüdisches Leben in Deutschland seit dem Holocaust. Das Urteil wollen die Rabbiner ignorieren und sie rufen dazu auf, trotz des Entscheids weiter Beschneidungen durchzuführen. […]

“Keine Zukunft für jüdische Gemeinden in Deutschland“

„Wenn das Gesetz angenommen wird, gibt es keine Zukunft für die jüdischen Gemeinden in Deutschland.“

http://www.fr.de/politik/beschneidung-rabbiner-schwerster-angriff-seit-holocaust-a-824837

German media

My translation:

Under the cover of secularism

Self-declared defenders of the well-being of children condemn boy circumcision. They do not have an exaggeration too cheap, commented Ludwig Greven.

Original:

Unter dem Deckmantel des Säkularismus

Selbsterklärte Verteidiger des Kindeswohls wettern gegen die Jungen-Beschneidung. Dabei ist ihnen keine Übertreibung zu billig, kommentiert Ludwig Greven [Political editor at ZEIT ONLINE and freelance author]

http://www.zeit.de/politik/deutschland/2012-07/Beschneidungsdebatte-Minderheiten

Politicians (1st source)

My translation:

The circumcision of boys „is a central part of our millenniums-old tradition,“ said Schalom in the FOCUS interview. To prevent them „just in Germany“ was a scandal and meant „Jews out“.

Original:

Israels Vize-Premier Silvan Schalom: Beschneidungsverbot heißt „Juden raus“

Die Beschneidung von Jungen „ist ein zentraler Teil unserer Jahrtausende alten Tradition“, sagte Schalom im FOCUS-Interview. Sie „ausgerechnet in Deutschland“ zu unterbinden, sei ein Skandal und bedeute „Juden raus“.

http://www.focus.de/politik/deutschland/israels-vize-premier-silvan-schalom-beschneidungsverbot-heisst-juden-raus_aid_811026.html

Politicians (2nd source)

My translation:

Religious tolerance required. Merkel complains anti-Semitism

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has „mourned a great extent of anti-Semitism“ in Germany. As examples Merkel mentioned attacks on rabbis, but also statements in the debate on circumcision.

Original:

Religionstoleranz gefordert. Merkel beklagt Antisemitismus

Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel hat „ein großes Maß an Antisemitismus“ in Deutschland beklagt. Als Beispiele führte Merkel Angriffe auf Rabbiner, aber auch Meinungsäußerungen in der Debatte über Beschneidungen an.

http://www.n-tv.de/politik/Merkel-beklagt-Antisemitismus-article9602136.html

The reactions by the authorities of the Jewish communities are comprehensible because of the genocide on the European Jews, systematically planned and carried out by Hitler, the leadership of the NSDAP and other followers between 1941 and the unconditional surrender of the Wehrmacht [German Army] on 8 May 1945. But this should be considered: to offend intactivists as anti-Semites and to condemn their arguments across the board, without to listen to or to consider about, just because those critics probably are Germans and therefore generally racists, who want to eradicate the Jewry like Hitler’s supporters and executors did 75 years ago, is not helpful. These resentments and prejudices only aggravate conflicts, obstruct an open and fair discussion, and do not contribute to a just solution, that gently equalizes all titles by interpreting conflicting rights in a balanced manner, like, for example, a principle of German constitutional law, practical concordance, does.

Freedom of press and political independence of media are vital principles of any liberal democracy. Print media, audiovisual media, websites and panels have numerous significant purposes: Such as to control and criticize parliamentarians and politics, to reveal undesirable or even dangerous developments or inappropriate decisions and attitudes, and to be obliged in preventing abuse of power. Without disseminating information, too, it is impossible to implement an objective and multifaceted discussion, to form public opinion, or to increase political education and participation. But if journalism can be tempted to exert its influence in order to white wash political decisions, to veil the very real power interests and to defame and to harm the critics’ reputation, this misinterpretation of liberty of press is a serious attack on democratic values.

For the German Government, too, there is no reason to compare citizens engaged in criticizing HGM [human genital mutilation] and to protect children’s rights, to be fascists. Those politicians have to hang their heads in shame due to the Armenian Resolution. Though the parliamentarians had recently adopted almost concordantly that document, which apologized for the German collaboration in the massacres that murdered according to estimates about 800.000 – 1.5 million Armenian and other Christian minorities and recognized the atrocities as genocide the first time, the top-level politicians buckled and yielded to Erdogan’s ruthless threats and hostile pressures owing to his attitude to the Turkish extermination of the Armenians. Instead of rejecting sovereignly those baseless accusations and despicable insults, Steffen Seibert, government spokesman, had to declare, that Merkel and her cabinet are not legally forced and are not committed to that statement.

My translation:

Armenian resolution: „Take care of your own history“

The Turkish Minister of Justice, Bekir Bozdağ, calls the Armenian resolution a slander. He claims that Germany should instead deal with the Holocaust.

Original:

Armenien-Resolution: „Kümmere dich um deine eigene Geschichte“

Der türkische Justizminister Bekir Bozdağ nennt die Armenien-Resolution eine Verleumdung. Er fordert, Deutschland solle sich stattdessen mit dem Holocaust beschäftigen.

http://www.zeit.de/politik/ausland/2016-06/tuerkei-ruft-wegen-armenien-resolution-botschafter-zurueck

My translation:

Armenia’s resolution Merkel gives in to Erdogan’s requirements

According to SPIEGEL, the government wants to dissociate itself from the Armenian resolution of the Bundestag. This is probably due to the ban on visiting the Bundeswehr soldiers stationed in Turkey.

Original:

Armenien-Resolution Merkel geht auf Erdogans Forderung ein

Die Regierung will sich nach SPIEGEL-Informationen von der Armenien-Resolution des Bundestags distanzieren. Dafür wird wohl das Besuchsverbot bei den in der Türkei stationierten Bundeswehrsoldaten aufgehoben.

http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/armenien-resolution-angela-merkel-geht-auf-erdogans-forderung-ein-a-1110505.html

Zero tolerance campaign and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5

In circumcising cultures, male and sometimes female children are under great pressure to be cut at least in puberty; otherwise they dishonor their parents and family members, who are to be despised with the effect, that their social status falls with substantial social and economic impact. As every girl, every boy wants to be part of her / his clan / community and to be respected by her / his peers as a full member, the children will strive to comply the traditional or religious rules of conduct, for not to be cast out by their own family, not be degraded and shunned or not to be compelled to forgo important rights [family law, marriage, inheritance law].

Under these circumstances minors can’t agree reliably and voluntarily in genital surgeries, even when affirming that it would be their greatest desire to undergo HGM and even ensuring they wouldn’t be afraid of the pain or the health consequences. Under the age of 18 years, girls and boys have a lack of life experience and aren’t able to reason or to justify their decision to be cut, as they are neither mature to overlook especially the sexual impact of genital surgeries, nor to evaluate the numerous, sometimes grievous side effects.

There are no benefits in fact for any non-therapeutic form of HGM and it turned out, that the hygienic advantages and prophylactic effects of male circumcision, avidly promoted by VMMC campaigners, either are refuted or couldn’t be verified. Non-therapeutic circumcision of underage boys has been subjected to nine tests by contemporary standards of medical ethics. It has failed all nine [2].

[2] To read more about misinformation, myths, violation of human rights, medical ethic problems, or alleged immunological and preventive effects or certain cancer-diseases, please search for those keywords in:

Verfassungsbeschwerde gegen § 1631d BGB | Schariagegner (Dezember 2013)

https://schariagegner.wordpress.com/2013/12/28/verfassungsbeschwerde-gegen-%C2%A7-1631d-bgb/

The operations cause considerable health damages as well for female as for male children instead. MGM irreversibly alters the appearance of the penis and provokes extreme pain too. By amputating the male foreskin, important sensory, biomechanical, and immunological functions are irrecoverably lost and sexual response is durably impaired. MGM definitely can be compared with FGM, it corresponds to a female mutilation Typ I or II classified by WHO [3]. These facts must finally be acknowledged.

Differently than still asserted, even when performed in a hospital, these archaic, cruel customs cause huge surgery sequences and sometimes harmful short and long term secondary effects on physical, mental, emotional health of a girl / woman, boy / man. Evidently the various complications of the procedures aren’t associated to the intensity or invasiveness of the mutilation / cutting. Even a medical so-called de minimis alteration of the genitals of little girls [FGA] by trained medical staff, for instance a pinprick, as promoted by the two Ob-Gyns, Kavita Shah Arora and Allan Jacobs, injures tissue and can induce severe infections by multi-resistant bacteria, spread out especially in hospitals, and some of the little patients even die therefore.

[3] Frequently Asked Questions About Circumcision

Ryan McAllister, Ph.D., Executive Director of NotJustSkin.org and others.

One of NotJustSkin’s primary missions is to educate the public about violations of informed consent or bodily integrity. […]

Child Circumcision: an Elephant in the Hospital from Ryan McAllister on Vimeo

http://www.notjustskin.org/node/7

Non consenting circumcisions principally are traumatic, as they violate the bond of mother and child. Basic trust, usually developed in early childhood, will be destroyed, therefore both gender have great difficulties to develop self-confidence, aren’t sure to be successful, don’t have the courage to face new challenges and to reach a decision autonomously. Those people don’t tolerate even reasonable criticism, aren’t able to solve conflicts, to overcome strokes of fate ore life crisis in an adequate manner. They suffer on several phobias, like fear to confidence, fear to establish a relationship, fear the future.

First off it might be successful to persuade parents to prefer such so called milder forms of FGM, but such attempts ignore, that girls can undergo FGM several times, if the procedure was not carried out correctly as required by tradition or religious law. Medicalized circumcision of newborns is very agonizing, as they indeed feel pain, even more than adults. But there is no effective local anesthesia procedure existing and below the age of four years general anesthesia are life-threatening and only appropriate in medical emergencies.

My translation:

Babies feel pain more intensely than their parents

Decades it was surmised, that neonates don’t suffer from pain. A British study has proven now that infants feel even more pain than adults.

Original:

Babys fühlen Schmerzen stärker als ihre Eltern

Jahrzehntelang wurde von einer Schmerzunempfindlichkeit Neugeborener ausgegangen. Eine britische Studie konnte nun beweisen, dass Säuglinge Schmerzen sogar stärker empfinden als Erwachsene.

https://www.tb-guide.de/ratgeber/gesundheit/babys-fuehlen-schmerzen-staerker-als-ihre-eltern

All types of not indicated HGM on children under 18 years, whether conducted for religious, cultural, aesthetic or other reasons, deny the violation of a child’s undividable, inalienable and universal human rights, recognized under international law, such as International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights [Art. 3, 5, 7], CEDAW General Recommendation No. 14: Female Circumcision, and Istanbul Convention [Art. 38]. There is no cultural or minority right to self-harm or bodily injury. Therefore each form of HGM, whether there are to consider numerous side effects, and health- and sexual impairments or not, has to be prohibited by law.

To allow slighter forms performed by medical professionals, undermines the banning of FGM all over the world till 2030 and to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 5, gender equality and empowerment of all women’s and girls’ rights. It would lead to confusion for circumcising communities and for human rights activists, and strengthen those, who controvert any harm affected by each of those practices. Women who apply for asylum to save their daughters from those cruel customs, may be declined that status, because there allegedly are slighter alternatives that would not harm. Those attempts to legalize some “mild” forms of FGM, undermine 30 years of extraordinary challenging work to end this torture. Instead of giving up Zero Tolerance Campaign on each type of FGM, it must be completed to Zero Tolerance Campaign on each type of HGM, as boys suffer too on this archaic health damages and live threatening custom respectively the violation of his rights.

Among opponents of male infant circumcision, Brian D. Earp, Associate Director of the Yale-Hastings Program in Ethics and Health Policy at Yale University and Research Fellow in the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford, is well known as publisher, expert and panelist with reference to non consenting MGM and activist for genital autonomy. But, whoever has believed that he is a supporter of the ban of any type of HGM on minors, must recognize on closer reading of his texts and more thorough research, that she / he has mistaken in Earp’s intentions. His provocative equidistant view, without any empathy, and a disturbing ethic must disgust several human rights universalists. I’m sorry I do not speak English so well, but I try to explain my opinion by three examples:

First: Age of consent and genital autonomy

Cees and I found a statement referring to a conception, called Gillick competency.[4]

[4] Gender and Genital Cutting: A New Paradigm

http://euromind.global/en/brian-d-earp-and-rebecca-steinfeld/

In the 1980’s, Victoria Gillick, a Catholic mother of ten children, launched a campaign to try to prevent doctors from any longer giving contraceptive advices or treatments like prescribing the pill to under 16-year-olds without parents’ agreement or knowledge. In 1982, Mrs. Gillick took her local health authority [West Norfolk and Wisbech Area Health Authority, and the Department of Health and Social Security] to court in that matter.

The case went to the High Court in 1984, where Harry Kenneth Woolf, Baron Woolf, already at that time recognized as honorable judge, disproved Mrs. Gillick’s view and dismissed her appeal. Of course to the Catholic activist the case was too important to give up. And indeed, first she seemed to be successful, the Court of Appeal invalidated that previous judgement, but in 1985 the legal dispute was submitted to the House of Lords, where Lord Scarman, Lord Fraser and Lord Bridge rejected the interpretation of the Court of Appeal and ruled to the detriment of Mrs. Gillick. They argued:

„…whether or not a child is capable of giving the necessary consent will depend on the child’s maturity and understanding and the nature of the consent required. The child must be capable of making a reasonable assessment of the advantages and disadvantages of the treatment proposed, so the consent, if given, can be properly and fairly described as true consent.“ [Gillick v West Norfolk, 1984]

Lord Scarman’s comment:

„it is not enough that she should understand the nature of the advice which is being given: she must also have a sufficient maturity to understand what is involved.“

„parental right yields to the child’s right to make his own decisions when he reaches a sufficient understanding and intelligence to be capable of making up his own mind on the matter requiring decision.“

In order to support physicians to be able to evaluate whether a young girl under 16 meets this so-called Gillick competency in matters of contraception, Lord Fraser developed the following guidelines applying to those cases:

1. that the girl (although under 16 years of age) will understand his advice;

2. that he cannot persuade her to inform her parents or to allow him to inform the parents that she is seeking contraceptive advice;

3. that she is very likely to continue having sexual intercourse with or without contraceptive treatment;

4. that unless she receives contraceptive advice or treatment her physical or mental health or both are likely to suffer;

5. that her best interests require him to give her contraceptive advice, treatment or both without the parental consent.

To ascertain the requirements of child protection [best interest], the judges postulated, that in particular professionals, like social workers, teachers, school nurses, pediatricians, attorneys, or evaluators in a family law case, have to be fully cognizant of the fact, that underage sexual activity should be understood as a possible indicator of child sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. Sexual activity with a child under 13 is a criminal offence and must always result in a child protection referral.

While there seems to be no dissent to transfer Lord Fraser’s clues to prove if a girl is complying with Gillick competency to all questions of legally valid informed consent to medical treatments of under aged patients, since several years a heated debate is on the rise, to reduce the minimum age of consent owing to acceleration of human development, pluralism, and minority rights. Obviously no agreement has yet been reached, but there are serious considerations existing, whether a 12-year maturity has been granted [5], some physicians even regard younger girls and boys as capable to understand the effect of a medical treatment, to know about the risks and to be aware of what they are getting into. For instance Canada stipulated by law the „right of participation“ of children aged at least five years regarding their own medical issues.

[5] Original:

Children and Competence to Consent: Gillick Guiding Medical Treatment in New Zealand

One GP [general practitioner] commented that „It [capacity to consent] seems to have moved down to 12 [years of age] or even less in some circumstances“.

http://www.nzlii.org/nz/journals/VUWLawRw/2000/31.html

[6] My translation:

Child’s welfare and child’s intention

Chemotherapy, inoculation without consent or a secret abortion: even minors are confronted with medical decisions. Experts discuss how – and when – the young patients should be involved in their treatment.

[…] Especially those, who are seriously sickened like Hannah and have long experience with different treatments, are considered as „experts“ for their illness. „There is another culture developing in hospitals,“ says Baumann-Hölzle. In Canada, a „right of participation“ of children from five years onwards is laid down by law [6].

Original:

Kindeswohl und Kindes Wille

Chemotherapie, Impfung wider Willen oder eine geheime Abtreibung: Auch Minderjährige werden mit medizinischen Entscheidungen konfrontiert. Experten diskutieren, wie – und wann – die junge Patienten über ihre Behandlung mitbestimmen sollen.

[…] Gerade schwerkranke Heranwachsende, die wie Hannah lange Erfahrungen mit verschiedenen Behandlungen haben, werden inzwischen als „Experten“ für ihre Erkrankung ernst genommen. „Es kommt zu einer anderen Kultur in den Krankenhäusern“, sagt Baumann-Hölzle.

http://www.tagesspiegel.de/wissen/behandlung-von-minderjaehrigen-kindeswohl-und-kindes-wille/9724300.html

There are several publications, reflecting those questions to empower children’s rights to express themselves autonomously, to participate in and to be asked for their consent in terms of medical treatment as well as to carry over the standards to other contexts of life like principles of parental / family rights, cultural / religious rights and minority rights. Besides Earp, Associate Director of the Yale-Hastings Program in Ethics and Health Policy at Yale University, such authorities like emeritus Professor of English Law, LLM Barrister Michael Freeman, Marilyn Milos, one of the mothers of the fight against male infant circumcision, and Rebecca Steinfeld, political scientist researching the politics of reproduction and genital alteration, are addressed with those issues.

In her dissertation, titled: ‘If children have a different opinion – The ethical problem of the best interest of the child and child`s choice in Pediatrics’, also the doctoral candidate Sabine Peters tried to explore ethical conflicts between the welfare of the child and the child’s choice, to reject strongly medically indicated treatment. She detected that the majority of pediatricians considers it necessary already to respect the child’s choice related to children aged between 8 and 14 years, even if it may counter their parents’ intention.

Sabine Peters

https://ediss.uni-goettingen.de/handle/11858/00-1735-0000-0001-BBDB-8

People who support this opinions claim to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child [CRC] which requires: a girl or boy, as soon as she / he is able to develop her / his own minds and beliefs, to decide independently, to explain and to justify this choice self-intended without being guided or patronized by an adult person, has to be listened in all matters affecting the female or male child. That has to be heeded especially in judicial or administrative processes relating its interests.

Under-eighteens have the right to voice their thoughts, interests, needs and wishes freely and independently. Their views have to be attached importance and taken in account, regarding their age, rationality and competences. Freedom of thought, conscience and religion of any girl or boy has to be respected even by well-meaning parents, as well as the right not to believe, not to be a member of a particular faith community and not to submit to any divine commandments, rules of conduct and rituals.

Children and teenagers can seek for all information everywhere. However, when minors make use of this human right, they, just like the adults, have to accept a few restrictions which are necessary and required by law, such as the law to protect children and young people, the rights of others, and the need to protect national security, public health and order.

The right of parents and legal guardians to educate, to care, and to nurse according their own religious / ideological views is limited. To raise, teach and advise their daughters and sons or wards, they have to tolerate, that the minors’ well-being, their talents, interests, and convictions related to their maturity have to be considered. It is their duty, to give underage as much guiding, alignment and protection as demanded, evolving their age and capability, without restricting their free and individual development and open future for example by overprotection or fundamentalism. The challenge is to find out a balanced way between to demand, to control, and to restrain on the one hand and to support, to advice, to promote self-determination and autonomy, on the other, in order to save the welfare of girls and boys and to prevent female and male teenagers from sliding into delinquency.

However, my colleague and I are very concerned, that those contemporary considerations to empower freedom, independence, self-confidence, and self-reliance of minors, might neglect three aspects, which could lead to impede unalienable children’s rights, in this context especially the right to best emotional, physical and mental health, to non-violent up-bringing, intactness, and, last but not least, to be protected by us adults. First: Like the European and American constitution, the German one, called Grundgesetz, is a coherent framework, with constitution-immanent barriers. To interpret legal terms, that are not precisely defined, those limits must be respected.

Second:

All states that have signed and ratified UDHR are obliged to transfer those rights into national law. To evolve entitlements established there, everyone, even girls and boys under eighteen years, as far as they are capable to, have to handle those issues in a responsible, humane, equal treating and just manner.

As social workers Cees and I see every day how childlike, spontaneously and irrationally female and male pupils of primary and secondary schools argue, act and think, and we know very well, that even adolescents between the age of 18 and 23 occasionally blunder and later on regret seriously their grave error [7]. These behaviors are completely age-appropriate and developmental. Being engaged in well-being, interests, needs and legal claims of children and young people for many years, private and professional experiences have taught us, that it is neither in the best interest of little children nor that it is a good idea to give teenager too much self-determination or autonomy, and with that, to burden them much more responsibility than they can bear. It is about leading, teaching and encouraging girls and boys, not to overwhelm them.

[7] My translation:

In bed with and without

In the circumcision debate, a question came too short: does sex change when the foreskin is gone? Unfortunately yes. An experience report.

Original:

Im Bett mit und ohne

In der Vorhautdebatte kam eine Frage zu kurz: Ändert sich der Sex, wenn sie weg ist? Leider ja. Ein Erfahrungsbericht.

http://www.taz.de/!5084054/

Much more, infants, children and preteen are in need of protective accompaniment, advising support, clear and unambiguous rules, in order that they don’t feel abandoned and left to their own devices. During puberty female and male teenagers are involved in the typical problems of growing up, like identity-doubt, lack of self-confidence – or hubris, moodiness, inconstancy, rapidly changing preferences, desire for recognition and independence, constant conflicts with parents and other authorities, awakening sexuality, and first love. All girls and boys depend on us to allow them having time and rest to cope with the significant physical, emotional and social changes to be able to grow up to a healthy, intact, matured and independent individual and liberal-democratic citizen.

Third:

Europe and the USA are societies, basing on a constitution ensuring universal entitlements like freedom, equality, and protection against abuses of power, as well as values like rule of law, solidarity, individuality, self-determination and constitution-immanent barriers. However, Cultural Relativism, the main theory of Cultural Anthropology, represents an important part of multiculturalism and contradicts some general ethical, sociological and legal principles and entirely rejects certain concepts respectively for instance to the axiom of medical treatment first do not harm, sociological patterns of gender, legal certainty, rule of law, universal, indivisible inalienable human rights. Cultural Relativism limits the transferability and applicability of those concepts and categories due to the culture which has produced them. There might be a partial correspondence, but there never is a translation into the concepts of another culture accepted. Cultural Psychology, too, is a similarly, psychologically oriented scientific research area, that deals with the interaction of culture and human thinking, experience and action.

No chance to appeasement and cultural relativism

To save the rights, well-being, and holistic health of all minors under 18 all over the world without discrimination by gender, religion / conviction, culture, and race, it is unavoidable, to guarantee their universal, indivisible and inalienable human rights. To enjoy those legal entitlements, each girl and boy must be free and equal and it must no longer be due to the family in which a child is born into, the country and culture it grows up, and to which faith community its parents belong to. Therefore, being committed to those juridical guidelines, social workers have to realize, to defend and to spread out these constitutional principles. To meet those targets, all people being engaged in child-protection and universal human rights must opt out from cultural relativism and combat its philosophy, which denies the general validity of human rights, but frames them “in a meaningful, cultural sensitive way” [Gordon JS, 2017] instead.

To supporters of universalism of human rights, as well as to intactivists, those points of view include discriminatory collective agreements or group privileges, women’s oppression, gender apartheid, so called arranged marriages, honor killings, political, religious or cultural coercions to rules of conduct, dress codes or boundless tolerance. There is no need for concepts that encourage separatism, establish parallel societies, demand a cultural sensitive approach that restricts freedom, equality and justice, as promoted by cultural relativists, anthropologists, MA, BA in Philosophy and History and Researcher for practical ethics, like the following scientists.

Fourth: Promoters of cultural relativism

Richard Shweder’s “universalism without uniformity”

Shweder is an American cultural anthropologist and cultural psychologist, who has presented a large number of essays on controversial debates which are essentially about the recognition of the other and his cultural and religious practices. He is studying above all the conflicts of norms that arise when migrants from Africa, Asia, and Latin America come to the rich countries of the northern hemisphere and bring with them their cultural and religious practices, which they perform further on: Such as arranging marriages, circumcision among boys, circumcision among girls, doing gender. He published What about „Female Genital Mutilation“? And Why Understanding Culture Matters in the First Place.

John-Steward Gordon’s mediating approach relating to make the removal of the clitoris foreskin compatible with the high demands of universal human rights

It is commonly assumed that FGC, in all its versions, constitutes a gross violation of the universal human rights of health, physical integrity, and individual autonomy and hence should be abolished. This article, however, suggests a mediating approach according to which one form of FGC, the removal of the clitoris foreskin, can be made compatible with the high demands of universal human rights. The argument presupposes the idea that human rights are not absolutist by nature but can be framed in a meaningful, culturally sensitive way. It proposes important limiting conditions that must be met for the practice of FGC to be considered in accordance with the human rights agenda.

Reconciling female genital circumcision with universal human rights

Gordon JS.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28922561

Fuambai Ahmadu

Fuambai Sia Ahmadu is a Sierra Leonean-American anthropologist. Contrary to the official position of the World Health Organization, she has argued that the health risks of FGM are exaggerated, its effect on women’s sexuality misunderstood, and that critics are wrong to see it as an oppressive practice. Since 2009, Ahmadu works together with another anthropologist, who decried how the anti-FGM movement has worked to marginalize and discredit the voices of dissenting African women.

As in 1991 Fuambai and Sunju, her little sister, and a few other female family members had been invited by the mother, an aunt and the grandmother to celebrate the mysterious Ceremony that was unavoidable to join the Bundu, the 21-year-old still studied, the little girl was only seven years old. Obviously both didn’t know the exact course of the custom and had almost no idea what they were going to do. The student had only a vague experience that „something down there“ would be cut off, because a younger aunt had betrayed her once to have secretly observed such a ritual. As Ahmadu admitted, it was not usual that the girls were previously informed about the initiation ritual, but that allegedly would be different today. Nevertheless both sisters performed the traditional rite which includes having the external part of her clitoris and her labia minora excised by a sowei, a woman in charge of such ceremonies.

[ Text will be ready soon … „work in progress“ ]

[ In a few days, a German translation will be available | In einigen Tagen wird eine deutsche Übersetzung verfügbar sein: „Lieber Joseph, …“ ]

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4 Antworten to “There is no religious or cultural right to self-harm or bodily injury”

  1. Edward von Roy Says:

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    Kindeswunsch auf Beschnittenwerden auch für Mädchen bald Gesetz?

    Britischer Medizinethiker fordert das verstaatlichte Befragen des männlichen oder weiblichen Kindes nach dessen baldiger Genitalverstümmelung (MGM oder FGM). Von Jacques Auvergne (August 2017).

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    Das jeweils geltende Gesetz, so fordert es der Research Fellow am Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, soll endlich sicherstellen, dass Kinder befragt werden dürfen, ob sie einen Teil ihres Geschlechtsorgans der Religion oder Tradition opfern. Zitate aus dem jüngsten Text des Verharmlosers der Jungenbeschneidung (MGM) und Wegbereiters der Mädchenbeschneidung (FGM) Brian D. Earp: Hat die weibliche Genitalverstümmelung gesundheitliche Vorteile? Das Problem mit der Medikalisierung der Moralität, Originaltitel: Does Female Genital Mutilation Have Health Benefits? The Problem with Medicalizing Morality.

    Medizinethiker Brian D. Earp schmuggelt den Kindeswunsch auf männliche oder weibliche Genitalverstümmelung in die Hörsäle und Parlamente. Stoppen wir diesen Mann, denn der Staat hat nicht die kindliche Wunschbeschneidung, sondern die kindliche genitale Intaktheit zu sichern. Schluss mit dem enthemmt religionsfreundlichen und wenig zufällig beschneiderfreundlichen Geplapper über Genitalautonomie (genital autonomy), Schluss mit dem Geschwätz über ein informiertes Einwilligen (informed consent) in Bezug auf eine nicht medizinisch indizierte Beschneidung an einem unter 18 Jahre alten Menschen.

    Übersetzung (gekürzt) und Kommentare von Jacques Auvergne (2017). UPDATE: Earp reagiert, Auvergne antwortet.

    https://schariagegner.wordpress.com/2017/08/28/minderjaehrige-maedchen-oder-jungen-koennen-ihrer-beschneidung-nicht-rechtswirksam-zustimmen-weil-sie-nicht-einwilligungsfaehig-sind/

  2. Hippokrates Says:

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    (Der Weltärztebund hat eine moderne Version des hippokratischen Eides veröffentlicht. Die neue Fassung verpflichtet Mediziner, Wissen zum Wohl der Patienten mit ihren Kollegen zu teilen.)

    Auf der ganzen Welt berufen sich Ärzte auf das Genfer Gelöbnis. In vielen Ländern ist es Teil der ärztlichen Berufsordnung, in manchen hat es sogar Gesetzescharakter. Der Weltärztebund rechnet damit, dass die überarbeitete Fassung weltweit als ethischer Kodex für alle Ärzte anerkannt wird. Die Änderungen waren von einer internationalen Arbeitsgruppe unter Leitung der Bundesärztekammer zwei Jahre lang vorbereitet worden.

    „Ich schwöre,…den Willen und die Würde des Patienten zu achten“ | DER SPIEGEL 20.10.2017

    http://www.spiegel.de/gesundheit/diagnose/hippokratischer-eid-fuer-aerzte-ueberarbeitet-a-1173866.html

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    World Medical Association (WMA)

    WMA Declaration of Geneva

    Adopted by the 2nd General Assembly of the World Medical Association, Geneva, Switzerland, September 1948
    and amended by the 22nd World Medical Assembly, Sydney, Australia, August 1968
    and the 35th World Medical Assembly, Venice, Italy, October 1983
    and the 46th WMA General Assembly, Stockholm, Sweden, September 1994
    and editorially revised by the 170th WMA Council Session, Divonne-les-Bains, France, May 2005
    and the 173rd WMA Council Session, Divonne-les-Bains, France, May 2006
    and amended by the 68th WMA General Assembly, Chicago, United States, October 2017

    The Physician’s Pledge

    AS A MEMBER OF THE MEDICAL PROFESSION:

    I SOLEMNLY PLEDGE to dedicate my life to the service of humanity;

    THE HEALTH AND WELL-BEING OF MY PATIENT will be my first consideration;

    I WILL RESPECT the autonomy and dignity of my patient;

    I WILL MAINTAIN the utmost respect for human life;

    I WILL NOT PERMIT considerations of age, disease or disability, creed, ethnic origin, gender, nationality, political affiliation, race, sexual orientation, social standing or any other factor to intervene between my duty and my patient;

    I WILL RESPECT the secrets that are confided in me, even after the patient has died;

    I WILL PRACTISE my profession with conscience and dignity and in accordance with good medical practice;

    I WILL FOSTER the honour and noble traditions of the medical profession;

    I WILL GIVE to my teachers, colleagues, and students the respect and gratitude that is their due;

    I WILL SHARE my medical knowledge for the benefit of the patient and the advancement of healthcare;

    I WILL ATTEND TO my own health, well-being, and abilities in order to provide care of the highest standard;

    I WILL NOT USE my medical knowledge to violate human rights and civil liberties, even under threat;

    I MAKE THESE PROMISES solemnly, freely and upon my honour.

    https://www.wma.net/policies-post/wma-declaration-of-geneva/

  3. Jacques Auvergne Says:

    Kolding

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    Weibliche Genitalverstümmelung: Fall von FGM in Dänemark?

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    Retsformand Lis Frost siger, at retten har fundet forældrene skyldige i at have ladet pigerne omskære under en rejse til Afrika i 2015.

    Her fik pigerne på 8 og 15 år bortskåret de yderste dele af klitoris.

    [ „Während einer Afrikareise vor zwei Jahren (2015) wurden den Kindern die äußersten Teile der Klitoris abgeschnitten.“ ]

    Landsret halverer straf til forældre for omskæring af døtre | JydskeVestkysten 18.10.2017

    http://www.jv.dk/krimi/Landsret-halverer-straf-til-foraeldre-for-omskaering-af-doetre/artikel/2550822

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    [ Ab hier eigene Übersetzung ]

    (…) Im April 2017 wurden die Eltern vom Gericht in Kolding (Stadt im Osten Jütlands, Region Syddanmark) zu eineinhalb Jahren bedingungsloser Haft verurteilt, weil sie während einer Reise nach Afrika (2015) ihre zwei Töchter im Alter von acht und 15 Jahren haben beschneiden lassen. (…)

    Zwei Jahre Gefängnis hingegen hatte die Staatsanwaltschaft gefordert. Das Landgericht West (dän. Vestre Landsret, Sitz in Viborg) hätte dieses höhere Strafmaß durchsetzen sollen.

    „Diese FGM hat die offensichtliche Konsequenz, dass die beiden Mädchen nie einen klitoralen Orgasmus bekommen können. Ihre Sexualität wird für immer betroffen sein. Weder heilt der Schaden noch ist er reparabel“, sagt Staatsanwältin Rikke Simonsen. (…)

    Der Vater war 1996 auf der Flucht vor dem Bürgerkrieg in Somalia nach Dänemark eingewandert. 1999 durfte seine Frau einreisen im Rahmen der Familienzusammenführung. Das Paar lebt in Fredericia mit ihren Kindern, die alle in Dänemark geboren und aufgewachsen sind. (…)

    Der Verteidiger der Mutter, Palle Viuff, sagt in seinem Verfahren, dass es für die Familie verheerend sein wird, falls sein Mandant aus Dänemark ausgewiesen wird. (…)

    Die Eltern indessen weisen jeden Tatvorwurf zurück.

    Eine ein neuere, auf Initiative der Eltern veranlasste und in einer Privatklinik durchgeführte medizinische Untersuchung vermochte nicht zu erkennen, dass die Mädchen beschnitten worden sind. (…)

    Anklager kræver skærpet straf for omskæring af piger | Berlingske 18.10.2017

    https://www.b.dk/nationalt/anklager-kraever-skaerpet-straf-for-omskaering-af-piger

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    (…) Fredericia: Sådan lyder det fra anklager Rikke Simonsen, der opfordrer tre dommere og tre domsmænd ved Vestre Landsret til at skærpe straffen for et somalisk forældrepar.

    Forældrene blev i april idømt halvandet års ubetinget fængsel ved Retten i Kolding for at have ladet to døtre på otte og 15 år omskære under en rejse til Afrika. (…)

    – Det har den åbenlyse konsekvens, at de to piger aldrig kan få en klitorisorgasme. Deres seksualitet vil for altid være påvirket. Det heler ikke, det kan ikke gøres om, siger Rikke Simonsen. (…)

    Landsret bør ifølge anklager skærpe straf til forældre for omskæring – også selv om det ikke gavner pigerne | fyens (Dänemark) 18.10.2017

    http://www.fyens.dk/modules/mobile/article?articleid=3195384

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    Landsret halverer straf til forældre for omskæring af døtre | TV SYD

    https://www.tvsyd.dk/artikel/landsret-halverer-straf-til-foraeldre-omskaering-af-doetre

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    Für die Region Syddanmark gilt, dass alle jütischen Rechtskreise vom Landgericht West (Vestre Landsret) in Viborg abgedeckt werden, während die Insel Fyn und die südlich davon gelegenen Inseln unter das Landgericht Ost (Østre Landsret) in Kopenhagen fallen.

    http://www.region.de/region/de/regionswissen/verwaltung-infrastruktur/verwaltung/staatliche-behoerden.php

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  4. Adriaan Broekhuizen Says:

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    „Dazu gehört auch das Recht des Einzelnen, sein gesamtes Verhalten an den Lehren seines Glaubens auszurichten und seiner inneren Glaubensüberzeugung gemäß zu handeln. Dies betrifft nicht nur imperative Glaubenssätze, sondern auch solche religiösen Überzeugungen, die ein Verhalten als das zur Bewältigung einer Lebenslage richtige bestimmen.“

    BVerfG, 24.09.2003 – 2 BvR 1436/02

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    Art. 4 GG garantiert in Absatz 1 die Freiheit des Glaubens, des Gewissens und des religiösen und weltanschaulichen Bekenntnisses, in Absatz 2 das Recht der ungestörten Religionsausübung. Beide Absätze des Art. 4 GG enthalten ein umfassend zu verstehendes einheitliches Grundrecht (vgl. BVerfGE 24, 236 [245 f.]; 32, 98 [106]; 44, 37 [49]; 83, 341 [354]). Es erstreckt sich nicht nur auf die innere Freiheit, zu glauben oder nicht zu glauben, sondern auch auf die äußere Freiheit, den Glauben zu bekunden und zu verbreiten (vgl. BVerfGE 24, 236 [245]). Dazu gehört auch das Recht des Einzelnen, sein gesamtes Verhalten an den Lehren seines Glaubens auszurichten und seiner inneren Glaubensüberzeugung gemäß zu handeln. Dies betrifft nicht nur imperative Glaubenssätze, sondern auch solche religiösen Überzeugungen, die ein Verhalten als das zur Bewältigung einer Lebenslage richtige bestimmen (vgl. BVerfGE 32, 98 [106 f.]; 33, 23 [28]; 41, 29 [49]).

    Die in Art. 4 Abs. 1 und 2 GG verbürgte Glaubensfreiheit ist vorbehaltlos gewährleistet. Einschränkungen müssen sich daher aus der Verfassung selbst ergeben. Hierzu zählen die Grundrechte Dritter sowie Gemeinschaftswerte von Verfassungsrang (vgl. BVerfGE 28, 243 [260 f.]; 41, 29 [50 f.]; 41, 88 [107]; 44, 37 [49 f., 53]; 52, 223 [247]; 93, 1 [21]). Die Einschränkung der vorbehaltlos gewährleisteten Glaubensfreiheit bedarf überdies einer hinreichend bestimmten gesetzlichen Grundlage (vgl. BVerfGE 83, 130 [142])

    [ Entscheidung des Zweiten Senats des Bundesverfassungsgerichts vom 24. September 2003 (BVerfGE 108, 282) | (Zulässigkeit und Grenzen religiöser Bekundungen durch im Schulwesen beschäftigte Personen) ]

    https://www.bundesverfassungsgericht.de/SharedDocs/Entscheidungen/DE/2003/09/rs20030924_2bvr143602.html

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