Moratorium and Round Table on non-therapeutic circumcision of boys unable to consent

Text of the petition

The German Bundestag should resolve, not to take any legal steps to legalize the non-therapeutic circumcision of boys in Germany within the next two years. Furthermore, the German Parliament (Bundestag) should decide to set up a round table of experts from affected religious communities and relevant areas of expertise to discuss the issue of circumcision scientifically substantiated and to develop solutions considering all interests, especially the requirements of the child's best interests.


The petitioners recognize that within the necessary debate on the non-medically indicated circumcision of boys triggered by the judgment of the Court of Cologne, there is a one-sided dominance of the issue of religious freedom. They understand the reactions of Muslim and Jewish association representatives who see a long tradition questioned and they understand their advocating for their customs and traditions. The dialogue and the cooperation of the state and the different religious communities is a valuable and important commodity which can be found in Article 4 of the German Constitution. The same applies to the parental rights determined in Article 6 II 1 of the German Constitution. However despite their constitutional status both rights are not unconditionally valid and have to be weighed up to the consideration of other fundamental rights. In the current discourse the completely neglected interests of children normalized legally in Article 2, Article 6 II 2 and Article 19 I of the German Constitution and in Article 24 III of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child have to be considered.

Medical scientists stated clearly and objectively that circumcision is a serious and irreparable intervention in the physical integrity of a child. Psychologists fear traumata. In approximately 10% of properly performed circumcisions complications occur. Furthermore there are numerous studies showing that there is no evidence for benefits for health as a possible justification for this intervention within the child’s best interests.

The petitioners fear the extraneous considerations, which increasingly flow into the argument and make it impossible for the politics to allow a balanced consideration of the interests of children. Caution is recommended not to unify the Muslim and Jewish faiths; there as well exist different opinions on child circumcision. The petitioners see an objective, responsible and comprehensive dialogue of all involved sides as necessary and worthwhile for all people affected an as alternative to the hasty political actionism. Policy actors have to establish a wide discussion due to the importance of the affected fundamental rights and essential commodities. A round table consisting of experts from the affected religions, Muslim and Jewish supporters and opponents of circumcision, specialist of the fields of psychology, paediatrics, urology, paediatric surgery, child protection, child and youth services should discuss the topic of circumcision in Germany on a scientific base and develop a strategy taking all interests into account especially the interests of the child well-being. A moratorium of two years for a balanced and scientifically based discussion appears to be reasonable to the petitioners.

That tradition itself can not be a justification for engaging in legal interests deserving protection has been shown recently in 2001 when the statutory prohibition of the use of force in raising children was established. Then as well a broad public discussion preceded.

The petitioners point out that they are not against religious traditions, but fighting for the rights of children. They are convinced that only a comprehensive discussion may reveal space for political action and also lead to a better understanding among religions of the actual meaning of the circumcision of children.