Sunday, July 21, 2013

LONDON: Court ducks for cover in circumcision/custody case

UK Human Rights Blog
July 20, 2013

UK court ducks position on circumcision

by Rosiland English

605islamSS (Malaysia) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2013] EWCA Civ 888 - read judgment
Background facts
The appellant and her husband were Roman Catholics and their six year old son (C) had also been brought up as a Catholic. While the appellant and her son were visiting her sister in the United Kingdom, the husband converted to Islam. The mother claimed asylum on the grounds that if she were returned to Malaysia, she would be arrested and risk ill-treatment from her husband, who would also insist that C be raised as a Muslim and be circumcised.

She submitted that to deny her the opportunity of teaching C about her own religious faith was a “flagrant” breach of her right to respect for her private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and of her right under Article 9 to practise her religion (flagrancy being a base-line requirement for resisting immigration controls). Whilst she acknowledged that circumcision need not violate a child’s rights in the context of loving family relationships and where supported by both parents, the appellant was strongly opposed to the procedure and maintained that it would not be in C’s best interests to return him to Malaysia where his father’s wishes would prevail over her own. She also contended that the tribunal below had failed to consider C’s best interests except in its assessment of proportionality.

The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.

Reasoning behind the judgment
... As for the circumcision question, it was unnecessary to decide whether the procedure could infringe a child’s rights under Article 3 or Article 8 as the first instance tribunal had found that C would have the positive emotional support of his father and would be conforming to the broad expectations of his culture, both significant factors. Indeed, Moore-Blick LJ found it “difficult to see how C’s circumcision would involve any infringement of the appellant’s Convention rights”


Male circumcision is a widespread religious and cultural practice which has ancient origins…it is regarded as an acceptable practice among communities of all kinds, provided it is carried out under appropriate conditions.

Slavery, capital punishment, racial or gender discrimination and many other practices are also widespread and sanctified by ancient tradition: the obvious riposte is that neither popularity nor antiquity shield such institutions from scrutiny by the Human Rights Convention or other international instruments. It is interesting that no mention was made in this case of the widely-covered German regional court ruling on circumcision, where the court paid particular regard to the fact that circumcision led to the child’s body being “permanently and irreparably changed” and that it could affect his own religious interests later should he decide, for example, not to be a Muslim (see Adam Wagner’s post with its link to the English translation of the ruling). In that case the Cologne Regional Court decided that

The circumcision of a boy unable to give medical consent, correctly performed by a doctor for religious reasons with the consent of the parents, is not excluded from the definition of the offence [in German law of assault]…the occasioning of the circumcision by the parents has no effect of justification, since the parents’ right to religious upbringing of their children, when weighed against the right of the child to physical integrity and to self-determination, has no priority, and consequently their consent to the circumcision conflicts with the child’s best interests.

The appellant mother in this instant case was, in effect, asking the court to take a position on a doctrinal matter: the centrality of the circumcision procedure to Islamic observance. And it balked at the challenge, because doing so would get it embroiled in the controversy over rival religious practices. Was it right to do so? Yes, because religious experience should be inviolately private and therefore out of place in a public forum. No, because in a case where religion touches on a child’s interests, and the welfare of children is meant to be a paramount consideration, the courts are under a duty to square up to the issue, even if it is normally kept under wraps. If circumcision is one of the sharp demands placed on the child by religious faith, it should be scrutinised with the same rigour as any other practice which affects the interests of the child.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

UGANDA: Man loses penis in circumcision botch

New Vision (Uganda)
July 16, 2013

Man loses penis in medical circumcision

by Paul Kiwuuwa and Simon Masaba

At 44 years, Patrick Izimba, is a lost man after he lost his penis to a botched male medical circumcision procedure in a private clinic. Izimba is at Mulago Hospital... , where he has endured pain for the past three weeks.

Speaking with teary eyes, Izimba curses the day he read a sign post at the private clinic that offers free male medical circumcision.

“I underwent an operation at Medik Medical Centre Limited in Kawempe,” he says. “Free things are expensive they have cost me a life. I depend on pain relievers. My penis is falling off and requires me to wear a skirt.”

“Pain killers have become my daily bread because if I do not take them, I cannot sleep,” Izimba narrates. Izimba has a catheter connected to his bladder to allow urine to flow out.

He says Dr. Francis Kakooza, an employee with Medik Medical Centre, carried out the operation under the supervision of Dr. Edward Kunoya, the clinic’s director and proprietor. ...

Start of his woes
On the fateful day, Izimba met Dr. Kunonya who told him the circumcision was free, but he had to pay sh20,000 [$US 7.73] for the drugs. Izimba paid the money and was asked to bring Jik [bleach] and a polythene bag to place on the surgical table.

He recalls that before the surgery, Dr. Kakooza administered an injection which was painful. “I objected to the operation, but Kunonya shouted at me: ‘Be a man, don’t fear.’ Meanwhile, Kunonya sprayed something on my nose that threw me into sudden deep sleep,” Izimba recalls.

He woke up three hours later. “My penis was very stiff and I had lost a lot of blood. They bandaged the penis to prevent further bleeding. ...

“Kunonya transferred me to another room and I was put on a drip. I was weak. They gave me tablets to swallow. I had a sleepless night due to the pain and the penis remained stiff. The following day I reported for dressing in terrible pain, the penis skin became dry and pale,” he says.

On the third day, Izimba’s penis was still stiff; the skin had tuned so dark and began to peel off.

... Dr. Kunonya said: ... “Izimba developed a complication during the recovery period during the dressing when the skin started peeling off. ... Probably Izimba did not use the drugs as instructed. [Blame the victim.] Many patients have undergone operation in the clinic, but they heal within one week,” Kunonya said.

Expert opinion
A medical worker on routine ward duty at Mulago Hospital who preferred to speak on condition of anonymity described Izimba’s condition as “gangrene.” This means that blood supply to the penis has been cut off, evidenced by the pale skin.

“I suspect they injected certain drugs in the penile vein which blocked the supply of the blood to the penis, rendering the skin dry, causing the rotting,” the medical doctor says. He, however, says there is hope with plastic surgery to reconstruct the penis, to enable him pass urine, but not fulfill his conjugal rights. ... Izimba is married with two wives and seven children. ...

Sunday, July 14, 2013

SASKATCHEWAN: Doctors unwilling to circumcise

CTV News (Regina, Saskatchewan)
July 13, 2013

It's hard to find a doctor willing to circumcise

by Dale Hunter

In Regina Saskatchewan, fewer and fewer doctors are willing to circumcise a healthy baby.

Watch video

Friday, July 12, 2013

PERTH: "Keep talking about female cutting"

WA News
July 9, 2013

Genital mutilation talk 'deterrent'

by Aleisha Orr

The first female genital mutilation case believed to have made it to court in Western Australia may have fallen through but a researcher with expertise in the field says the issue needs to remain in community discussions to act as a deterrent to others.

Curtin University researcher Anne Aly said the fact that charges were initially laid in relation to the matter sent "a very powerful and strong message" to those who may be considering organising the procedure.

A northern suburbs mother and father were alleged to have organised the illegal circumcision of their baby girl in Bali and were arrested at Perth Airport in August 2012.

Their identities were suppressed throughout the matter.

Prosecutors dropped the charges on the grounds that there was not a reasonable prospect of conviction.

The lawyer of the couple who had the charges against them dropped, Hylton Quail told media outside the court on the couple's last appearance "there was never any offence, there was never any medical evidence to support the charge in the first place."

Dr Aly said the dropping of the case did worry her, that the only way for a case to be proven would be once the procedure had already gone ahead.

"How do you prove intention and get enough evidence," she said.

"It unintentionally says you have to go through with the process to prove intention.

"It certainly is a test case for the law."

Dr Aly said rather than sending the message; "don't do it, it is illegal" the focus should be more on the health and welfare of children.

"You have to put children's welfare first, that's a much better deterrent," she said.

Dr Aly said education needed to be a continuous process as the practice was most prevalent within those who had moved here from other countries where it was done as a cultural practice.

"As more migrants and asylum seekers come in they need to be aware of the legal implications and health and psychological affects."

In Victoria the practice has "significantly increased" as a result of a rise in migration and refugee settlement according to the state's health minister who is now calling for federal funding to match state funding to cover support and prevention services.

Female circumcision is performed in some cultures and religions, but is illegal in Australia.

It is illegal to perform, arrange or take a child out of the state for such a procedure.

Its occurrence is believed to be underreported in WA.

Earlier story

EASTERN CAPE: 5 men held for botched circumcision deaths

News 24
July 7, 2013

5 held for botched circumcision deaths

Johannesburg - Police have arrested five people on suspicion of murder for botched circumcisions, which led to the deaths of about 30 boys in the Eastern Cape, a police spokesperson said on Monday.

Police were also investigating suspected assault, gross bodily harm and unlawful circumcisions that left 300 others injured across the province over the last week, police spokeswoman Sibongile Soci said.

Deaths are mainly caused by blood loss or infection from circumcisions poorly performed by traditional practitioners.

The ANC called the deaths and injuries "tragic" and said the government must act immediately.

"Authorities can no longer pay lip service to dealing with this disaster that afflicts our nation during the traditional initiation season," it said in a statement.

In May, more than 20 youths died in Mpumalanga, prompting rare cross-party calls for reform of the initiation practise.

Earlier story

EASTERN CAPE: 20 more die, nearly 300 in hospital
July 8, 2013

Circumcision ritual kills 30 tribesmen in South Africa's Eastern Cape

BOTCHED circumcisions killed 30 young men and landed almost 300 more in hospital during traditional initiation rites in a South African province.

The 30 deaths in rural Eastern Cape province occurred during the annual season when young males undergo a rite of passage into manhood.

Ten other youths were hospitalised after being rescued from a forest on Sunday, said provincial health department spokesman Sizwe Kupelo in a statement.

"The ten initiates' private parts are rotten. They are badly damaged. Their condition is scary," he said.

A further 293 young men were undergoing hospital treatment for dehydration, gangrene and septic wounds, Kupelo added. Some had lost their genitals.

Teenagers from ethnic Xhosa, Sotho and Ndebele groups typically spend around a month in secluded bush or mountains areas for their initiation to manhood.

This includes a circumcision as well as lessons on masculine courage and discipline.

Traditional surgeons perform the procedure in the bush, sometimes with unsterilised instruments or lacking in technique.

Botched circumcisions leading to penis amputations and deaths are an annual tragedy.

In May around 34 deaths in two other provinces were reported.

The ruling African National Congress said Sunday it was "distressed" over the latest deaths.

It called for basic medical training of the traditional surgeons to render "an entrenched and necessary part of our cultural fabric" safer.

[So was apartheid once "an entrenched and necessary part of our cultural fabric".]

Earlier story

GUANGZHOU, CHINA: man loses penis after botched circumcision

Malaysia Chronicle
July 7, 2013


A 30-year-old man in Guangzhou has been forced to have his penis amputated after experiencing complications following what he believes to have been a botched circumcision operation and subsequent treatment. The dispute has become public after the orthopedic clinic where he was circumcised failed to reach a settlement with the man regarding compensation.?

The man, surnamed Liu, uploaded numerous pictures of his penis on Weibo, seeking help from the public.

Liu went to the Jiahan orthopedic hospital for a circumcision procedure on May 23. After the surgery, Liu experienced an edema or swelling in his penis. The doctor and his assistant told him this was a normal reaction after the surgery.

On June 6, Liu returned to the hospital for microwave radiation treatment and said the radiation light had been placed as close as 30 millimeters to his penis.

On the evening of June 7, Liu found that the tip of his penis had started turning dark, and two days later his entire penis turned black.

"I kept asking the hospital to transfer me to another hospital, but they kept turning me down at first," Liu said, adding that he had missed the optimal time for the problem to be treated.

The hospital, Liu said, not only refused to pay him the US$490,000 he requested in compensation, but also "threatened me and my wife."

Another hospital that performed the surgery to remove Liu's penis said it was not sure whether this would affect Liu's fertility.

ZIMBABWE: "Voluntary" circumcision of babies planned - without pain relief

July 8, 2013

Voluntary neo-natal circumcision planned

by Lindani Dube

The Ministry of Health and Child Welfare says plans to introduce neo-natal circumcision on voluntary basis are at consultation and research stage. In an interview recently, the director of Aids and Tuberculosis Unit in the ministry, Dr Owen Mugurungi said the population's approval on the matter was important before its inception.

"Foremost, neonatal circumcision has proven to be more sustainable than the catch up phase as it is possible to circumcise about 200 000 infants a year compared to reaching out to the adult population," said Dr Mugurungi.

He said the benefits of neonatal circumcision out weigh the risks as it is a simpler procedure.
"There is virtually little to no bleeding on the infants and no need for pain killers or anaesthetics. The healing process is quicker than the adult's six week period," said Dr Mugurungi.

Dr Mugurungi said circumcising neonates makes the condom contraception campaign easier later on as circumcision would have already been done.
"Like anything new we have embarked on accessibility and feasibility studies and also to research the best suited to perform the task, between a general nurse, midwife, doctor or pediatrician," said Dr Mugurungi.

He said if the programme was widely accepted training of ideal candidates would begin.
"The exercise will be voluntary and not imposed, as the final decision should still be left to parents to make. That is in the context of their religious, ethical and cultural beliefs. We are still consulting to get perspective of the population and everyone," said Dr Mugurungi.

He said the ministry will endevour to reach its target of having circumcised 1,2million males by the year 2015.
"We are hopeful that we will get close to the figure as more people are aware of the benefits of circumcision apart from HIV reduction. Benefits extend to hygiene, prevention of genital ulcers and the reduction of cervical cancer in women," he said.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

MALAWI: Men resist being circumcised
July 5, 2013

Malawi: Kasungu Registers Low Turnout for Male Circumcision

by Steven Chirombo

Blantyre — Kasungu Health Authorities have expressed concern that a few men are undergoing voluntary male circumcision in the district despite studies showing that the intervention reduces HIV transmission by about 60 percent.

District Medical Officer for Kasungu, Dr Sosten Lankhulani told the Malawi News Agency (Mana) that within the past two years, only 400 men have been circumcised in the district against the annual target of 21, 000.

"We are not fairing very well in terms of male circumcision because our target has been to have at least 21, 000 population circumcised every year.

"But in our district only 400 men have undergone circumcision for the past two years," said Lankhulani.

According to Lankhulani, there are a lot of factors that contribute to the low turnout in the district some of which could be wrong messages being propagated and also the perception of some other men regarding the circumcision itself.

"There are misconceptions bordering on culture and the health perspective about circumcision. We are dispatching several messages for example at the hospital where we are doing health education to the people who have come for medical consultation.

"Every morning we send health surveillance assistants to dispatch the messages to the community and we have engaged the chiefs as well as some religious leaders to deliver the message to the community," he said.

He said currently, the health officials in the district are advocating for the male circumcision because they are aware that it reduces the risk of HIV transmission by about 60 percent which according to Lankhulani is a fair percentage looking at the prevalence rate of HIV in the country.

HIV Rates:
Circumcised men
Intact men

EASTERN CAPE: 263 Circumcision injuries - "a crisis"

IOL (South Africa)
July 5, 2013

ECape circumcision situation a 'crisis'

Port Elizabeth - The influx of patients with circumcision-related injuries to Eastern Cape hospitals is a crisis, health MEC Sicelo Gqobana said on Friday.

“He described the situation as a crisis. Overall in the province there are 263 people who are being treated in hospitals for circumcision-related complications,” provincial health spokesman Sizwe Kupelo said.

The MEC visited the Mthatha General and St Barnabas hospitals on Friday to assess initiates who required immediate medical care.

He found many of the boys suffered from dehydration, gangrene, and septic wounds. Some had lost their genitals.

“He is going to make a strong recommendation (to deal with the situation) to the provincial cabinet,” Kupelo said.

“He will also consult the chair of the house of traditional leaders and the MEC for local government.”

Kupelo said the doctors and staff at the hospitals told Gqobana they had been “emotionally affected” by the extent of the injuries.

“The doctors and even the workers require counselling.”

He said the growing number of initiate patients was putting pressure on the hospitals, as the boys had to be given priority over other patients.

The health department concluded that the initiation season had been “hijacked by people motivated by greed”.

PERTH: Case dropped against parents for transporting daughter for cutting

Sydney Morning Herald
July 4, 2013

Female circumcision case in WA dropped

Charges against a Perth couple accused of arranging the illegal genital mutilation of their baby daughter have been dropped after prosecutors said there was no reasonable prospect of conviction.

The couple aged in their 40s, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were alleged to have taken their one-year-old daughter to Bali last year to have her circumcised.

But in Perth's District Court on Thursday, prosecutors discontinued the case.

Female circumcision is commonly practised in some parts of the world but is illegal in Australia.

Earlier story

SWEDEN: Woman arrested for illegal circumcisions

July 3, 2013

Woman arrested for illegal circumcision of two young boys

EKSJO, Sweden, July 3 (UPI) -- Swedish police have arrested a 36-year-old woman in connection with the illegal circumcision of two young boys in the town of Eksjo, authorities said.

Police spokesman Goran Gunnarsson told the Swedish news agency TT that police received a call from someone who heard the boys screaming.

The unidentified woman apprehended at the scene is believed to be a relative of the two boys.

Charges against her include suspicion of aggravated assault since it is illegal to perform a circumcision in Sweden without supervision by a medical professional.

The Swedish Parliament passed a law in 2001 requiring a professional to be present at all circumcisions.

The law is not only designed to safeguard against pain but also to help prevent potential infection.

SOUTH AFRICA: Hospitals running out of beds for botched circumcisions

SABC (South Africa)
July 1, 2013

Hospital running out of beds as botched circumcision patient's rise

The number of initiates who had to be admitted in hospital due to botched circumcisions in the Eastern Cape has now increased to 227.

Earlier on Monday, Health authorities said they were treating 151 initiates. Health spokesperson, Sizwe Kupelo says they are running out of beds and that the department is forced to identify special wards for the badly injured initiates.

The rise in the death toll and the number of serious injuries suffered by initiates in the Eastern Cape has become a matter of concern for the provincial health department.

Mthatha is one of the worst affected areas in the province. Kupelo says they are trying to send qualified nurses and a group of medical professionals into the rural areas to monitor the situation.

He says the majority of the initiates are suffering from septic wounds and some have lost their private parts, which is a matter of grave concern. Kupelo says all these injuries can be prevented with early medical attention.

"We are currently treating 151 boys in various hospitals and our concern is that we are running out of beds. We were forced to identify special wards for the initiates who are badly injured; some of them were certified dead on arrival, and the number of these who died unfortunately is currently sitting at 25."

Eastern Cape Health MEC Sicelo Gqobana will be visiting the hospitalised initiates on Friday.

NORTH AMERICA: Big Foreskin Pride contingents in LGBTI parades

June 30, 2013

Big Foreskin Pride contingents at GLBTI parades

Intactivist contingents at Pride parades were significantly bigger than last year.

Nearly 50 marched in San Francisco under the banner of Bay Area Intactivists:

Bay Area Intactivist marchers in SF Pride, 2013
Bay Area Intactivists in SF Pride, 2013

In Toronto, the Star commented:
'The parade also included a group called Foreskin Pride, which advocates the right of people to choose whether or not they're circumcised. Its contingent featured several dozen completely naked and uncircumcised men, one of whom held a sign reading, “Foreskins Feel Really Good.”'

Georganne Chapin of Intact America reported on the Howard Stern show about marchers in New York

There was also a Foreskin Pride contingent in the Chicago Pride parade, and an Intactivist contingent in the San Diego Pride parade. Victoria BC will have a Foreskin Pride contingent in the Pride parade this Sunday, and Vancouver will have one in August. Indianapolis Pride was held on June 8, and included an Intactivist group.

DENMARK: Circumcision ban "unnecessary"

Copenhagen Post
June 28, 2013

Circumcision ban not necessary, board of health finds

There is so little risk involved in the ritual circumcision of boys when carried out by competent doctors that there is no need to recommend banning the procedure, according to the board of health.

[Risk is only one of many reasons infant circumcision for other than pressing medical needs should not be allowed.]

Sundhedsstyrelsen (the National Board Of Health) laid out its findings into the potential dangers of circumcision in a report commissioned by the Health Ministry and published on Wednesday. They also found that there was insufficient documentation to generally recommend circumcising young men and boys.

The findings disappointed anti-circumcision group Intact, whose deputy chairman Leo Milgrom stated in a press release that it will mean that boys will continue to lose the right to decide over their own body.

“Even without all the weighty ethical considerations, and without all the many legal, sexual and psychological consequences, at the very least a scientific precautionary principle should apply: circumcision should be immediately stopped simply as a result of the scientific uncertainty described in the health agency’s own report,” Milgrom stated.

Intact argues that male ritual circumcision should be stopped because of unpredictable and unintended psychological consequences that the boys might suffer later in life. They argue that banning female circumcision yet allowing male circumcision, which they argue is equivalent, is discriminatory.

But according to Sundhedsstyrelsen there have been no serious complications as a result of ritual male circumcision in Denmark [not true], though the risk of complication does increase if a boy is circumcised later in life. [There is no evidence for this.]

The current guidelines for male circumcision only require that boys aged 15 and over must consent to the procedure [a meaningless protection if they are fair game before that age]. The procedure must also take place under the supervision of the doctor under proper medical conditions and the children must be administered adequate pain relief.

Sundhedsstyrelsen estimates that between 1,000 and 2,000 ritual circumcisions take place every year in Denmark.

EUROPEAN UNION: Religious freedom does not include violence against children

National Secular Society
June 27, 2013

EU guidelines on freedom of religion or belief

...The guidelines also explicitly oppose any religious justification to restrictions on other fundamental rights and to violence against women, children, members of religious minorities and persons on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity. They point out that there are some practices, associated with the manifestation of a religion or belief (or perceived as such), which may constitute violations of human rights. The fact that the right to freedom of religion or belief is sometimes invoked to justify violations of other human rights is an EU concern; it states that, whilst it is "committed to the robust protection and promotion of freedom of religion or belief in all parts of the world", such justifications can never legitimise the undermining of human rights"

The guidelines themselves

STRASBOURG: Council of Europe condemns violatons of children's physical integrity

Parliamentary Assembly, Council of Europe (PACE)
June 26, 2013

PACE committee condemns violations of the physical integrity of children

Strasbourg, 27.06.2013 - "Some parents, often with the best of intentions, give their consent to medically unjustified operations or interventions, which may have serious consequences for the physical integrity of their children, some of whom suffer for the rest of their lives," said Marlene Rupprecht (Germany, SOC), whose report was today adopted by the PACE Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development.

The practices condemned by Ms Rupprecht include the circumcision of young boys for religious reasons, female genital mutilation in some cultures, medical interventions in the case of intersexual children, and the submission to or coercion of children into piercings, tattoos or plastic surgery.

If circumcision seems to be indicated for medical reasons, its necessity should be closely examined on a case-by-case basis; in the religious context, families should be systematically made aware of the risks of the procedure and be provided with full information on the alternatives, the report says.

The committee found that female genital mutilation, which evidently has no medical benefit whatsoever but is a procedure intended to control the sexual behaviour of girls and women throughout their lives, must be officially prohibited through legislation, backed by effective measures and sanctions to eradicate the practice and make the public aware of the problem.

The report recommends various steps that can be taken to effectively protect children, in particular filling the most evident legal loopholes (for example, by prescribing that only qualified medical staff be allowed to undertake circumcisions, in sterile conditions), educating families so that they understand the risks involved in certain operations, and, in the longer term, changing deeply rooted and unquestioned religious and cultural practices that can very often be harmful to children.

This issue is to be debated at the next plenary session of the PACE in Strasbourg (30 September-4 October 2013).

Monday, July 1, 2013

NAMIBIA: First Lady condemns traditional circumcision
June 24, 2013

Namibia: Harmful Male Circumcision Condemned

by Kuzeeko Tjitemisa

Keetmanshoop — Namibian First Lady Penehupifo Pohamba has condemned all practices within the traditional, religious and social environment that are detrimental to the well-being and general development of the African child.

In her statement read by Councillor Jan Schotlz during the commemoration of the Day of the Africa Child held at the J Stephanus Stadium last Friday, Pohamba specifically singled out traditional circumcision as being harmful to children. She said that such social and cultural practices female genital mutilation, infanticide, child labour and forced marriages. "It is about time we examined our positions when it comes to these harmful social practices affecting our children," she said and added that a cursory look at the situation painted a picture that suggested that "we all have thrown [up] our hands in despair, giving an aura of morality to practitioners and believers of these practices."

... She further said there is a growing problem of children subjected to all forms of harmful practices, such as child labour and exploitation; traditional male circumcision of young boys, but also social practices such as neglect, baby dumping, sexual abuse, as well as the phenomena of sugar daddies and sugar mommies. ... Today we are not calling for culture to be done away with, but for all of us to relook some of these practices and to make a decision: is it beneficial or is it harmful. If we find that it is harmful, then I'm calling on all of us today to make a serious effort to do away with these harmful cultural practices," she said

"You are our hope for a better tomorrow. I want to call on all of you, to grab all opportunities at your disposal to equip yourself with knowledge, to study hard, and know where you can report incidents of harmful social and cultural practices and all other forms of violence against children," she emphasised. ... The Day of the African Child is marked on June 16 each year to honour the memory of schoolchildren killed and the courage of all those who marched in 1976 during a demonstration in Soweto, South Africa.

On that day, an estimated 10 000 schoolchildren gathered at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto to protest against an apartheid-inspired education system in that country and to demand instruction in their own languages instead of Afrikaans. The unarmed learners were, however, brutally attacked by the police and in the process an estimated 176 children lost their lives while thousands of them got wounded what has come to be known throughout the world as the "Soweto Uprising."


UGANDA: Men flee "life-threatening" forced circumcision

Uganda Picks
June 24, 2013

Mbale Residents Flee Forceful Circumcision

by Emmanuel Okwii

If you are an adult male who has been planning to visit Mbale anytime this week, then you might as well postpone your visit unless you want to be circumcised in the streets. The youth in Mbale are on the run following the forceful circumcision campaign that started last week.

The operation is being spearheaded by the Mbale male Bagisu youth against their colleagues that have not been circumcised. Business in the town has been affected as the uncircumcised have begun fleeing lest they be injured and ruthlessly circumcised.

This indiscriminate circumcision campaign, though intended for the Bagisu youth, has equally threatened non Bagisu in the town with many shops owned by the non Bagisu locked.

Reports obtained from Mbale Hospital have revealed that more than 60 adult men have so far rushed to Mbale hospital such that they too can be circumcised. Those that Uganda Picks spoke to claim that the ruthlessness with which their fellow youth circumcise the uncircumcised is life threatening.

However, the Bamasaba elders claim that this early campaign by the youths does not in any way reflect the position of the Bamasaba cultural institution. They said that real circumcision carried alongside rituals will commence in August. They have also condemned in the strongest terms possible the indiscriminate circumcision currently being done in the Mbale streets.