This is the third anniversary of the "Cologne Ruling". In 2012, for the first time, a court explicitly granted boys the right to genital self-determination and this decision has since become a worldwide symbol for the self-determination of children regardless of gender, ancestry and religion.
On this occasion we demand:
On May 7th, 2012, the Regional Court of Cologne ruled that a non-therapeutic "circumcision" of a boy who is unable to give consent qualifies as an assault. This was logically consistent because, in Germany, children had rights to an unharmed body and a non-violent upbringing – why should these rights exclude genitalia, and exclusively male ones at that?
What is a so-called "circumcision" on boys?
This trivializing term stands for the amputation of the foreskin of the penis, which involves the loss of approximately 50% of the entire penile skin - including the parts most sensitive for sexual stimulation - and irreversibly alters the natural physiology of the penis and its appearance.
A human rights violation becomes a legal part of upbringing
The Bundestag, however, decided differently, and on Dec. 12th, 2012, §1631d BGB was passed: "circumcision" of boys, for whatever cause, was specifically legalized. With the passage of this law, circumcision is considered part of personal custody. This is a complete contradiction to the entire legal protection of children and in discordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in multiple ways.
Female genital mutilation affects approximately 125 million women and girls in Africa alone. Worldwide, this number is likely double. They usually have parts of their genitalia cut off, and in some regions the wound is also sutured in a way that makes natural birth extremely painful and life-threatening. This, along with other effects on health, like incontinence; development of fistulas; post-traumatic symptoms and viral diseases, directly or as a late effect lead to the death of a quarter of the affected, according to the WHO.
Symbolic forms of female genital mutilation are also common to reduce the sexuality of women and girls, to ensure their virginity or promote fidelity in married women, and to further consolidate the woman's allocated role as property of their family and husband.
Since female genital mutilation is often considered a prerequisite for marriage and increasingly younger girls become victims, this human rights violation is interconnected with early marriage, lack of education and domestic violence.
In Germany, where there are at least 2.500 endangered girls and 25.000 affected women, female genital mutilation is illegal according to §226a StGB.
None of the goals allegedly targeted with the unconditional legalization of foreskin amputations in §1631d BGB - legal certainty (of the parents, not the boys), assurance of medical standards, an end to the debate - has yet occurred. In addition, an alleged "legal peace" can only be rated as cynical when it strips the affected - who alone have to endure the procedure and bear the lifelong consequences - of all rights and protection, while the decision-makers, the adults, are freed of any legal accountability.
Dead and severely injured boys in Africa - the worldwide community remains silent
Time and again, the media report hundreds of thousands severely injured and dead boys during ritual foreskin amputations in Africa. "Health" programs based on highly controversial studies call for "circumcisions" on millions of Africans for alleged HIV-prevention. Informed consent and a legitimate education about the risks and the alternatives are rarely properly incorporated.
In the United States, more and more parents decide to let their sons grow up with unharmed and complete genitalia. Nevertheless, upward of 50% of all newborn boys are still submitted to forced circumcision, mostly without effective anesthesia.
Affected men speak up - worldwide!
More and more affected men find the courage to talk about the physical and psychological later effects of the foreskin amputations that were performed on them without their consent. They often consider their genitals mutilated. They feel that they have been robbed of their intact, unharmed body, in the most intimate location - without necessity or for questionable reasons (such as the still common cases where a prematurely and hastily diagnosed phimosis led to the surgery). In many cases men report pain, loss of sexual sensitivity, and profound problems in their sexual life.
Devices that allow to somewhat reduce said ailments through year-long, cumbersome stretching process are common in the US and see a continual rise in demand.
Talking about bodily harm in the genital area is never easy, even – perhaps especially – for men.
We urge the appropriate medical disciplines to be open toward these problem areas and offer help to the affected.
Our info-page can be found HERE. It contains onward links to specific literature from Germany, Turkey, the US and other countries; case histories of affected people; films; educational books and brochures; and videos from speeches of international scientists.
We welcome Jewish and Islamic life in Germany and consider it an enriching element of society.
We strongly object to any attempts to misconstrue our efforts for the rights of all children to genital self-determination, or to misuse these efforts as a basis to show or act out hatred toward religious and cultural minorities.
We urge all participants to clearly distance themselves from generalizations and animosity and to be absolutely clear that this is solely about the well-being, bodily integrity, and right to self-determination of the child.