The Cologne judgment: a curiosity or the start sign for condemning circumcision of male children without their consent as a human rights violation?

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Bernaerts, Jonathan
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Following the Cologne judgment the debate on circumcision of male children has received a new impetus. Nonetheless, this debate is still too often contaminated with biased opinions, as such this thesis attempts to give an objective analysis of the human rights aspects of the circumcision of male children. In this thesis the circumcision of male children is examined singly without an attempt to argue a non-discrimination violation against men given the alleged similarities with some forms of female genital mutilation. From a medical point of view on the practice, three distinct types of male circumcision can be defined. In the legal analysis these three types are examined with regard to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Consequently, this thesis concludes that a human rights violation is apparent with regard to Type 3, the circumcision of male children lacking either a medically trained or well- experienced circumciser to the level of a medical practitioner, clinical conditions or the use of anaesthesia. The importance of this thesis lies in its new typology of circumcision of male children and the extensive examination of the applicable rights of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, including the recent General Comment No. 14 of the Committee on the Right of the Child on the best interests of the child.
Second semester University: University of Vienna
children rights, circumcision, Convention on Rights of the Child, human rights violations