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Nearly 300 debate circumcision at packed hearing

Nearly 300 parliamentarians, religious leaders, medical doctors and civil society activists attended a major hearing on the question of circumcision of young boys held today on the margin of PACE’s Winter session in Strasbourg.

The hearing, streamed live over the web, was organised by PACE’s Social Affairs Committee following the October 2013 adoption of the Assembly’s resolution and recommendation on “children’s right to physical integrity”, and aimed to encourage the open debate on this subject called for by the Assembly.

Invited speakers included French urologist Professor Bernard Lobel, Turkish paediatric urologist Mesrur Selçuk Silay, German paediatrician Wolfram Hartmann and Boston-based circumcision researcher Ronald Goldman.

Representatives of religious organisations and NGOs active in this field also spoke, as well as members of the Knesset, which holds observer status with PACE.

The 1995 television documentary “It's a Boy” by British director Victor Schonfeld, as well as extracts from a new film putting forward the point of view of the Knesset observer delegation, were also screened prior to the hearing.