Iceland and the other Nordic countries have joined forces in a campaign against circumcision on young boys.
The campaign was prompted by an enquiry from a 16 year old boy in Iceland, asking whether his parents had had the right to circumcise him when he was a baby.
The ombudsman in Iceland, Margrét María Sigurðardóttir, told RÚV that such an operation, on a very young child, is a “violation of the child’s privacy and human sanctity. We consider this a very serious matter.”
There’s no record of how many boys have been circumcised in Iceland and Margrét said the reason could be that most of the operations are carried out at clinics across the city so it’s hard to get an overview of how many they are.
For the past two years, male circumcisions have not been carried out at the Children’s hospital.
“My stance is that such operations should not be carried out here at the hospital,” Þráinn Rósmundsson, paediatrician told RÚV. “It’s an operation that’s carried out for other reasons than medical and as such, it’s not justifiable to have them done in the hospital.”
Þráinn reckons that less than five circumcisions are carried out in Iceland each year.
Margrét has received tips about such procedures taking place in people’s homes but hasn’t been able to confirm that. She and the rest of the Children’s ombudsmen in the Nordic countries signed a joint statement this week, to fight for a ban against male circumcision under the age of 16.
In Norway alone, over 200 boys are circumcised every year. The Children’s ombudsman in Norway, Anna Lindboe, said she understands that the operation is an important, cultural procedure but that people should wait till the boys are old enough to make decisions about circumcision themselves.
“I hope this leads to a discussion in society and eventually that we stop doing this,” Margrét said. “Hopefully, one day, circumcision of boys will be banned entirely, just like female circumcision.”
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