The mission of Attorneys for the Rights of the Child is to secure equal protection for, and broaden public and legal recognition of, children’s legal and human rights to bodily integrity and self-determination that are violated by unnecessary genital cutting of male, female and intersex children.
A number of human rights documents appear to forbid infant male circumcision based on such important principles as the right to physical integrity, the right to freedom of religion, the right to the highest attainable standard of health, and the right to protection against torture. These documents bind the United States, either through our direct ratification of the treaty or under principles of customary international law. The many laws against female genital mutilation, contrasted with the discriminatory nature of excusing and tacitly condoning male genital mutilation, violate principles of equal protection under both international human rights law and American constitutional doctrines.
Our own cultural blindness must not be allowed to warp American law by insulating perpetrators of circumcision from liability under a broad range of legal theories. By understanding the medical and psychological harm caused by circumcision and by positioning ourselves to enforce the legal and human rights guarantees of physical integrity and self-determination, we can work for the best interests of children, by guaranteeing them equal protection under the law.