you must cut this flesh from off his breast: the law allows it, and the
court awards it." - The Merchant of Venice
Female circumcision 'was not persecution'
Thursday 16th June 2005
Law report by barrister Kate O'Hanlon in the Independent
on 14 June 2005 records the judgement by the UK Immigration
Appeal Tribunal that female circumcision was clearly accepted by
the majority of the population of Sierra Leone and that the
applicant could avoid discrimination by submitting to
[Lord Justice Auld found that] "Far from ostracism by
society and discrimination by the state in its failure to
protect human rights, the persecution in the present case would
result in full acceptance by Sierra Leonean society of those
young women who underwent the practice into adulthood, fit for
marriage and to take full part as women in the life of their
communities", writes [O']Hanlon.
But does that include babies?
makes circumcision an assault
June 16 2005 at 11:46AM
South Africa: A Bill outlawing virginity testing and making
parents and doctors liable to charges of assault for
circumcising children is one step closer to enactment.
The Children's Bill was finalised by the National Assembly's
social development committee this week and includes a number of
controversial clauses. At least one opposition party voted
against the Bill's adoption, saying the version finalised by the
portfolio committee was "watered down" compared to
previous drafts. ...
Under the heading Social and Cultural Practices, the Bill
also outlaws virginity testing, putting it in the same league as
female circumcision and saying that children have the right not
to be subjected to cultural and social practices which are
"detrimental to the well-being, health or dignity of the
It adds that taking into consideration the age, maturity and
"stage of development" of a male child, he has the
right to refuse circumcision.
"A male child that was subjected to circumcision against
his will may lay a charge of assault, indecent assault or
assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm, as the case
may be, against the person that performed the circumcision or a
person that is under an obligation to protect that child from
maltreatment, abuse or degradation and failed to fulfil this
obligation," it says. ...
Does the baby have any standing, then?
Saturday, May 21, 2005
by infant's cries, man wants ban on circumcision
By JAMES WARDEN Associated Press Writer
Mervin Gajewski remembers hearing an infant's wails while he
was having blood tests done in a Watford City hospital a few
"Somebody better help that baby. He sounds hurt,"
the 78-year-old Alexander man says he told a nurse.
"You would be, too, if you were being circumcised,"
When a friend's daughter chose to circumcise her son last
year, Gajewski decided to sue, in an attempt to get North Dakota
courts to ban circumcision. A judge dismissed Gajewski's case
last week, but he said he intends to continue, perhaps with an
appeal to the North Dakota Supreme Court.
"I don't intend to be done with this case one way or
another," he said.
Circumcision involves the removal of sensitive foreskin from
the penis. The procedure is usually done on infants. Nationally,
about 56 percent of male infants are circumcised, according to a
2003 survey compiled by the federal Centers for Disease Control
The Midwestern region, which includes North Dakota, had a 78
percent circumcision rate, which is the highest in the country,
said CDC spokesman Bill Crews.
In a March 1999 policy statement, the American Academy of
Pediatrics said there are "potential medical benefits"
to circumcision, including a lessening of the risk of getting
urinary tract infections. However, existing
data "are not sufficient to recommend routine ...
circumcision" of newborns, the statement says.
Gajewski says the reasons justifying the procedure are
speculative, using the assumption that "somewhere down the
line, it's going to be good for you."
"Surgery isn't done that way," he said. Gajewski
believes male circumcision is tantamount to genital mutilation.
The Legislature made female genital mutilation a felony crime in
1995. Gajewski's lawsuit argued that courts should extend the
ban to boys.
Northwest District Judge Gerald Rustad dismissed the case
last week, saying Gajewski had no standing
to bring the case. Gajewski was suing on behalf of North Dakota
boys younger than 18, but he is 78 years old, and does not
represent any young boys, the judge said.
"Although the topic is one which could result in
interesting information and analysis in the proper forum, this
court has not been presented any precedent which would persuade
it that (Gajewski) has standing to bring the action,"
Rustad wrote in his dismissal order.
North Dakota's state and federal courts have taken up the
issue previously. Last September, the North Dakota Supreme Court
ruled in favor of a Fargo doctor who had circumcised an infant
in March 1997. The boy's mother argued she was not told in
detail about the procedure's benefits and potential risks. The
woman, Anita Flatt of Hawley, Minn., also had argued that North
Dakota's law barring female genital mutilation did not offer
equal protection to males.
The Supreme Court said Flatt did not
have standing to make that argument.
In June 1996, a Bismarck woman, Donna Fishbeck, made similar
equal-protection arguments in a federal lawsuit against the
state. Fishbeck's infant son had been circumcised with the
consent of the boy's father, even though she objected to the
procedure. U.S. District Judge Patrick Conmy dismissed the case,
ruling that Fishbeck did not have legal
standing to bring the lawsuit. [???]
A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
upheld Conmy's ruling in June 1997.
"Even if we were to declare the North Dakota statute
invalid because it is underinclusive, and even if ... we could
enter some kind of decree that would criminalize male
circumcision, there is no assurance at all that the injury
claimed by Fishbeck, either on her own behalf of on behalf of
her son, would be redressed," the appeals court's decision
says. [That could be said with equal
truth of almost any law at all.]
Circumcision opponents say the foreskin protects the penis
and can enhance sexual pleasure. Gajewski, who is not
circumcised, said those benefits are being taken away without
"It's unnecessary and detrimental to a male," he
said. "You destroy too much potential."
Human Rights Commission slams unnecessary genital surgery
Intersex Report Released
Bay Area Reporter
May 5, 2005
by Zak Szymanski, assistant editor
In a groundbreaking report released this week, the San
Francisco Human Rights Commission publicly called
for an end to medically unnecessary interventions on intersex
children and revealed that nonconsensual genital
surgeries on children are more common in the Bay Area than
previous testimony revealed.
The May 3 report -- entitled "A Human Rights
Investigation into the Medical 'Normalization' of Intersex
People" -- is the result of two years of investigation,
including a public hearing held last year attended by activists,
advocates, and members of the medical community. This is the
first time that a governmental entity in the United States has
addressed intersex issues from a human rights perspective.
The HRC report noted that these surgeries are motivated by
parents' and doctors' needs to assign a gender to a child -- one
that is in line with arbitrarily defined gender conformity --
which very well may be at odds with how the child will come to
live or identify.
"These treatments are not performed for the treatment of
illness or to alleviate pain. Instead, these surgeries are
irreversible, often causing disruption of bodily functions,
pain, and the need for additional surgeries," said a
statement released by the HRC. "The Commission found that
'normalizing' interventions are medically unnecessary, are not
medical or social emergencies, and that such
interventions performed without the patient's informed consent
are inherently human rights abuses."
Specifically, HRC recommendations include never performing
"normalizing" interventions in infancy or childhood,
and only performing medically unnecessary
procedures when a patient gives legal consent.
Activists told the Commission that intersex interventions are
usually informed by homophobia, as the success of treatments is
often measured by a child's ability to have heterosexual
intercourse in the future. In the case of hypospadias, society
dictates that a male cannot be expected to sit to urinate,
resulting in surgical interventions based upon sex stereotypes.
Such interventions are not without risk, considering the small
size of the genitals receiving surgery. The intersex movement
advocates that people be able to decide for themselves, without
shame, what to do with their own bodies, and the report from the
Dr. Lawrence Baskin of the Department of Urology of the
University of California, San Francisco, (UCSF) wrote to the
Commission to dismiss the testimony from intersex activists who
said they were unhappy with the gender-normalizing interventions
they received as children. "Of these 10 testimonies, it is
quite clear that nine of these individuals have had severe
emotional problems secondary to their status as intersex
patients," he wrote.
Intersex activists have long pointed to such comments as
examples of the obstacles they face when advocating for their
rights. But ISNA Executive Director Cheryl Chase noted that the
fact that a government's human rights commission has recognized
the issue should be the beginning of the end to such dismissals.
HRC investigator Marcus Arana said that despite Baskin's
displeasure with the HRC report, UCSF has responded separately
and positively, designing a task force to address the issue and
inviting input from the community.
Link to the
HRC report (110pp, 929KB pdf file)
VHS tapes or DVDs of the May 27, 2004, intersex public
hearing are available online at http://sunset.ci.sf.ca.us/sfgtv.nsf
[Bay Area Reporter volume 35, number 18, 5 May 2005]
[This raises the question: If
medically unnecessary surgical interventions are inherently
human rights abuses when performed on children with
"abnormal" genitals, what makes circumcision of a
"normal" child acceptable? ]
Tuesday, May 3, 2005
Accused of Assaulting Son Through Circumcision
By James Tapsfield, PA
A Muslim “assaulted” his five-year-old son by having him
circumcised against his mother’s wishes, a court heard today.
The father is alleged to have secretly taken the boy to a
doctor in north London for the procedure.
Lewes Crown Court heard he then told the mother – an
English Christian – what had happened and said: “There is
nothing you can do.”
The 27-year-old man – who lives in Crawley, West Sussex,
but cannot be named for legal reasons – denies committing an
assault occasioning actual bodily harm in August 2003.
Irena Ray-Crosby, prosecuting, told the court today that the
parents had been involved in a three-month relationship and the
mother realised she was pregnant after they broke up.
Once the defendant, who is of Moroccan origin, realised the
child was his he began raising the issue of circumcision in line
with his religious beliefs.
“He told (the mother) he wanted to have the boy circumcised
and she said she would agree with that only for medical reasons
and never for religious ones.”
The court heard that in August 2003 – shortly after the
boy’s fifth birthday – he went to stay with his father.
The defendant telephoned the mother and asked her to come out
of her house to talk to him, at which point he told her about
According to Ms Ray-Crosby, the mother accused him of
assaulting their son, and the defendant responded: “There’s
nothing you can do. I’ve looked into it and it’s perfectly
He later sent her a text message saying she should give the
boy salty baths in order to help him heal.
The court heard that the father had been “under pressure”
from fellow Muslims to get his son circumcised, and paid £100
in cash for the procedure to be carried out.
Ms Ray-Crosby said the defendant had admitted when arrested
and interviewed by police that he had not told the mother in
advance of his plans. She added that there had been no medical
reason why the boy needed to be circumcised.
“This is not a case that is anti-Islam or anti-any other
faith. It’s simply about a boy who was circumcised without his
Ms Ray-Crosby said the father had never applied for legal
parental responsibility, and therefore could not have provided
proper consent for the operation to take place.
British court has ruled that consent of both parents is
required for circumcision.
14 down, 36 to go
cuts Medicaid funding for circumcision
Yesterday Governor Kempthorne signed the bill (House
Bill No. 385) that ends Medicaid funding of non-therapeutic
circumcision in Idaho. The provision becomes effective on July
Medicaid, the health insurance programme for the poor, covers
25% of the births in the state.
The section of the bill that ends Medicaid funding is:
"SECTION 8. NONMEDICALLY NECESSARY PROCEDURE. The
Department of Health and Welfare shall discontinue paying for
nonmedically necessary circumcision for male infants as
recommended to the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee by
the House of Representatives Health and Welfare Committee. The
estimated savings from discontinuing this procedure are
$172,800 from the General Fund. Major private insurers in
Idaho have discontinued this procedure based upon the newest
evidence that it is medically unnecessary."
states have ended Medicaid funding of non-therapeutic
circumcision: Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, Maine,
Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, North
Dakota, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.
This means the whole of the Pacific Coast and Mountain region
has now defunded circumcision, about one third of the area of
"Joyful" - except for the guest of honour
April 13, 2005
to celebrate Crown Prince Moulay El Hassan circumcision
Idrissid city, dressed in festivity attire, is ready to
celebrate, as of today Wednesday and for three joyful days, the
ceremonies of the circumcision of the two-year old Crown Prince
Moulay El Hassan.
Adorned in the most splendid finery ever, and ornamented by
all forms of beatitude and bliss that reign all over the
eleven-century old city, Fez expresses its happiness to share
with the royal family these memorial days.
The populations of the imperial city, and those of adjacent
regions flooded in masses towards the emblazoned squares and
parks of Fez where musical bands of the four corners of kingdom
will be performing popular music genres of Ahidous, A•ssaoua,
Hmadcha, Gnaoua, Ahouach, Abidat Rma, Taqtouqa Jabalia and
Guedra, and where horsemen from all over the country joined the
city to perform, on ornamented horses the famous Moroccan
Though circumcision, removal of the prepuce, is primarily a
tradition of Moslems and Jews, it has gained universal
practice. In the United States of America more than one
million male infants are circumcised each year.
In Morocco, this "operation" was until some decades
ago an exclusivity of the barber, who, on appointment, would
come to the house of the family, armed with his scissors, and
his many archaic utensils. Today, the barber is gradually
loosing ground to the physician or male nurses well specialized
in the matter.
After the performance of the "surgery," [quotation
marks in the original] the young boy, center and
source of happiness
for the whole family, is then dressed in
"miniaturized" groom attire, with white "djellaba,"
white long-sleeved shirt, white traditional trousers, and red or
In many families, it is the grandparents who take care of the
event. They would make all the necessary preparations, take the
young boy, without his father's knowledge, to the barber's or
the physician to get circumcised. This old custom is still
largely prevailing in many regions.
Some families would hire a horse to take the circumcised
young boy on a ride in the neighborhood, amid zaghroudas, cheers
and clapping of family, friends and neighbors.
According to scientific findings, circumcision can spare men
a number of diseases
that they might attract.
Crown Prince Moulay El Hassan's circumcision
4/14/2005 | 1:20 pm
... The circumcision operation of the Crown Prince Moulay El
Hassan took place this morning, Thursday, in the Royal Palace in
Fez. It was followed, after the Al-Asr prayer, by an offer
procession of gifts in front of Bab Nhas in the Royal Palace. In
addition to this, official estimates revealed that for two days 50.000
of Moroccan children will be circumcised throughout
Forced circumcision of a 45-year-old is controversial
held after husband's forced circumcision
April 02 2005 at 02:30PM
Five people accused of circumcising a 45-year-old family
member by force appeared in the Khayelitsha magistrate's court
They were arrested on January 2, seven days after Nceba
Cekiso from Site B was "caught" and circumcised
against his will.
The five, who face assault charges, include his wife
Nosakhumzi Cekiso, his sister Sindiswa Cekiso, neighbour
Monwabisi Ndlebe and relatives Mcebisi Majeke and Thami Neke.
They were not asked to plead and their case was postponed
until April 13 to allow them to obtain legal aid.
It is alleged that the five noticed that Nceba Cekiso was
still a "boy" during a mojiso of another initiate on
Christmas Day and his family decided that he be
Xhosa culture allows people to forcibly circumcise boys
deemed to have passed the age of initiation or who have bad
habits, as a way of rehabilitation.
In this instance the ritual was half done; Cekiso was
circumcised but was removed by the police on his seventh day in
the bush and taken to hospital, preventing other initiation
processes. In such cases men can still be regarded as umkhwetha
Forcing people do undergo the ancient ritual, which marks the
transition from boyhood to manhood has, in recent times, caused
concern among human rights organisations.
Cases of forced initiation have been reported to the police
and in one instance two Rastafarians objected to the procedure
on religious grounds.
The incident has sparked a debate on whether or not
traditionalists should still be allowed to force people against
their will into the bush to undergo initiation.
Mwelo Nonkonyana of the Congress of National Traditional
Leaders of South Africa, who is also an advocate, said both
parties had acted within their rights and it was up to the court
"to weigh which right overrides the other".
Nonkonyana said traditional leaders were fighting to change
the "Westernised" constitution to consider traditional
values. Submissions had been made to the Constitution Review
Committee and the issue was being considered.
Originally published on page 4 of The Saturday Argus
on April 2, 2005
Regina v K
There have been queries about interpreting statutes, burdens
on prosecution and defendant and the like recently. Below is a
case which has a look at these sorts of things, and may give
some insight into the minds of the Courts. It is from today's
Times Law Report. As ever if not interested please ignore.
Regina v K Before Lord Justice Roch, Mr Justice Rougier and Mr
Justice Gray Judgment October 31, 2000 Where a defendant was
charged under section 14 of the Sexual Offences Act 1956 with
indecent assault of a girl under the age of 16 there was no
requirement that the prosecution prove that the defendant at the
time of the incident did not honestly believe that the
complainant was 16 or over. The Court of Appeal, Criminal
Division, so held in a reserved judgment allowing an
interlocutory appeal by the prosecution under section 35 of the
Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996 against a judge's
ruling at a preliminary hearing in the crown court that the
prosecution had to prove the absence of genuine belief that the
complainant was aged 16 or over. Section 14 of the Sexual
Offences Act 1956 provides: "(1) It is an offence, subject
to the exception mentioned in sub-section (3) of this section,
for a person to make an indecent assault on a woman. "(2) A
girl under the age of 16 cannot in law give any consent which
would prevent an act being an assault for the purposes of this
section. "(3) Where a marriage is invalid under section 2
of the Marriage Act 1949, or section 1 of the Age of Marriage
Act 1929 (the wife being a girl under the age of 16), the
invalidity does not make the husband guilty of any offence under
this section by reason of her incapacity to consent while under
that age, if he believes her to be his wife and has reasonable
cause for the belief. "(4) A woman who is a defective
cannot in law give any consent which would prevent an act being
an assault for the purposes of this section but a person is only
to be treated as guilty of an indecent assault of a defective by
reason of that incapacity to consent if that person knew or had
reason to suspect her to be a defective." Mr Anthony
Scrivener, QC and Mr Anthony Heaton-Armstrong for the Crown; Mr
David Fisher, QC and Miss Irena Ray-Crosby for the defendant.
LORD JUSTICE ROCH, giving the judgment of the court, said that
the complaint in this case, made by a schoolgirl aged 14, was
that she was indecently assaulted by K touching her private
parts without her consent. K's case was that the girl told him
she was 16 and he had no reason to disbelieve her. She consented
to all the sexual activity which occurred between them. At a
preliminary hearing on the question whether the prosecution had
the burden of proving the absence of genuine belief that the
girl was 16 or over, the judge reminded himself of the decision
of the Court of Criminal Appeal in R v Maughan ((1934) 24 Cr App
R 130), where it was held that the predecessor of section 14 of
the 1956 Act did not permit a defence of honest but mistaken
belief that the girl was over 16. He went on to observe that the
House of Lords in B (a Minor) v Director of Public Prosecutions
((2000) 2 WLR 452) confirmed what he thought was settled law,
namely that when it was a question of a mistake of fact, the
belief need only be genuine, it did not have to be reasonable.
The judge expressed the view that because the House of Lords in
B overruled the decision of the Court of Criminal Appeal in R v
Prince ((1875) LR 2 CCR 154), their Lordships had implicitly
overruled the decision in Maughan. Mr Scrivener accepted that
the case of B had established that the presumption that mens rea
was an ingredient of an offence meant that, where the
presumption applied, a defendant was not guilty if he held an
honest belief that the facts were such that no offence had been
committed. He further accepted that the case established that
the presumption applied to all statutory offences unless
Parliament had excluded it expressly or by necessary
implication. Mr Scrivener conceded that section 14 did not in
express terms exclude the presumption but argued that by the way
in which it was drafted Parliament had excluded the presumption
by necessary implication. The House of Lords in B were careful
not to overrule R v Forde ((1923) 2 KB 400), R v Keech ((1929)
21 Cr App R 125) and R v Maughan when it came to the
interpretation of section 14 of the 1956 Act. Mr Fisher argued
that the authorities on which Mr Scrivener relied were old and
were decided before the passing of the 1956 Act. In the light of
the House of Lords decision in B those authorities should not
longer be considered good law. In addition he submitted that to
read section 14 as an example of Parliament implicitly
overruling the presumption would be contrary to article 6(2) of
the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and
Fundamental Freedoms because it would in part destroy the
presumption of innocence and allow the prosecution to obtain a
conviction where the prosecution were not able to prove all the
ingredients of the offence. In their Lordships' judgment
Parliament, in the 1956 Act, did exclude any defence of genuine
belief that the girl was over 16 to a charge of indecent assault
on a girl under the age of 16. That had to follow from the terms
of section 14 themselves. First, subsection (2) provided that in
the case of a girl under the age of 16, however willing a
participant she might have been in sexual activity between
herself and the defendant, her consent could not stop that
activity being an indecent assault upon her. Subsections (3) and
(4) of section 14 did provide defences based on genuine belief,
albeit that under subsection (3) the prosecution could defeat
the defence by establishing that there was no reasonable cause
for the belief. If Parliament had intended that genuine belief
should be a defence to the offence created by section 14(1) it
would have been unnecessary to enact subsections 3 and 4. It
followed, in their lordships' judgment, that Parliament had
excluded such a defence by necessary implication. The speeches
of their Lordships in B had been read with care to see if the
decision in that case allowed of a different conclusion. Lord
Steyn there pointed out that the scope of section 14 and 15 was
markedly narrower than section 1(1) of the Indecency with
Children Act 1960 with which that case was concerned. Sections
14 and 15 required the Crown to prove an assault which
necessarily required an intentional act and to that extent at
least mens rea was an ingredient which the prosecution had to
prove. The reading of section 14 which their Lordships
considered to be correct was not, in their judgment,
incompatible with article 6(2) of the Convention. The European
Court of Human Rights in Salabiaku v France ((1988) 13 EHRR 379
paragraph 28) obseerved: "Article 6.2 does not therefore
regard presumptions of fact or of law provided for in the
criminal law with indifference. It requires states to confine
them within reasonable limits which take into account the
importance of what is at stake and maintain the rights of the
defence." Parliament, in 1956, considered that the balance
between the demands of the general interests of the community
and the protection of the fundamental rights of the individual
required that girls under the age of 16 should be protected by
making it an offence for a person to touch them in circumstances
which were indecent. The rights of the defence were maintained
in that it was still for the prosecution to prove that the
complainant was under 16 years of age and that there had been a
deliberate touching of that girl by the defendant in
circumstances which made the touching indecent. Their Lordships
did not consider that by providing that the balance should be
struck at that point Parliament was being unfair or
unreasonable, although they expressed the hope that Parliament
might look again at this area of the law relating to sexual
offences. The appeal would be allowed. Solicitors: Crown
Prosecution Service. Donald Ramsbottom LL.B, BA (Hons).
RAMSBOTTOM & Co. Solicitors Internet Law & Global
Cryptology Law Specialists 5 Seagrove Avenue, Hayling Island,
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(023)9246 8349 Ramsbottom & Co is regulated by the Law
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cost to the country incompetence? Sloppiness and Negligence?
YOU ARE CONSIDERING RELOCATING TO WEALDEN YOU MAY WANT TO KNOW MORE OF
THE ADMINISTRATION THAN THE COUNCIL WILL LET ON :
residents of Wealden District
Council (WDC) are obliged to pay one of the highest rate levies
in the country.
council's Monitoring Officer refuses to report his administrative
errors and other reported injustices to the members of the council
as required by law. Ignorance is bliss for the councillors and
hell for the electorate.
INSTITUTIONALISED DISCRIMINATION IS APPARENT
the safety net is restored with a fully functional Monitoring Officer,
Do it online
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