Agence France Presse
Thursday 23 August 2012
Last Update 23 August 2012 9:12 pm
BERLIN: Germany’s ethics committee supported the practice of religious circumcision but with conditions, an official said on Thursday after a court ruled the practice was tantamount to grievous bodily harm.
Christiane Woopen, chairwoman of the 26-member committee which advises the government, said the body had supported a compromise allowing for the rite to be carried out in Germany under certain provisos.
“There must be a green light for circumcision but under the conditions of a full explanation to the parents, the agreement of both parents, the treatment of pain and the expert carrying out of the circumcision,” she told AFP.
In a ruling published in June, a court in Cologne said removal of the foreskin for religious reasons amounted to grievous bodily harm and was therefore illegal, sparking an outcry at home and abroad.
Diplomats admit that the ruling has proved “disastrous” for Germany’s international image, particularly in light of its Nazi past, following uproar from religious and political leaders in Israel as well as Muslim countries.
In July, German MPs adopted a cross-party motion calling on the government to protect religious circumcision.
The resolution urges the government to draw up legislation in the autumn that “ensures that the circumcision of boys carried out to medically professional standards and without undue pain is fundamentally permissible.”
The Professional Association of Pediatricians called the outcome of the ethics committee’s discussions “a scandal.”
“Child welfare and the right of children to physical integrity obviously played no role in today’s decision,” its president, Wolfram Hartmann, said in a written statement.
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