After securing necessary 50,000 signatures, proposal to outlaw child circumcision goes to parliament
A petition calling for a ban on male circumcision in Denmark will now go to parliament after organizers said last week that it had attracted more than the 50,000 signatures required.
“We’re really happy, but now the real work begins. It’s an important but small step,” said Lena Nyhus of the Intact Denmark group told Danish news agency Ritzau.
The petition however faces little chance of success because it has not attracted support from any of the main political parties.
In Denmark, citizens can require parliament to debate an issue by gathering a minimum of 50,000 signatures.
The petition, which cites the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, calls for a six-year prison sentence for those carrying out circumcisions on boys under the age of 18, unless there is a medical reason.
The same penalty has existed since 2003 for the internationally condemned practice of excision, or female genital mutilation.
“Society has a special obligation to protect the fundamental rights of the child until they’ve reached an age and maturity where they can take on this responsibility themselves,” the petition reads.
Between 1,000 and 2,000 circumcisions are carried out in Denmark per year, according to health officials.
The Jewish community has protested against the petition, saying the ritual has been practiced in Denmark without any problems for more than 400 years.
Back in October of 2014, JTA reported that a poll among the Danes indicated that 74 percent of them believe circumcision should be fully or partially banned.
The 2014 survey was released the day before a parliamentary hearing in implementing a circumcision ban. At the time, two Danish parties favored a ban, while others were divided on the issue. Only 10 percent of the 1,000 people surveyed believed the decision should be left to parents.
“As I see it, [circumcision] goes against the [United Nations] Convention on the Rights of the Child to circumcise children. I’m leaning toward a ban until the person is of legal age,” Hans Christian Schmidt, a former health minister and a Venstre member of parliament, told Metroxpress in 2014, (the newspaper that conducted the poll), according to Denmark’s The Local.
In 2013, the Danish Health and Medicines Authority determined that there was not enough evidence to merit either banning or encouraging the practice. The authority made its determination following a study on the health risks and benefits of circumcision.
According to Danish health officials, between 1,000 and 2,000 circumcisions are performed in Denmark annually, primarily on Jewish and Muslim boys. Both faiths require the circumcision of boys.
Edited by: JV Staff