Cutting anger

News  News-Mail (Bundaberg, Queensland). Saturday, 10 August 2002.

Tanya Moore

Charges dismissed: Circumcising father goes free

DOUBLE standards allowed two boys to be circumcised without their mother's permission, an outraged Australian Health group said yesterday.

Circumcision Information Australia spokesman Shane Peterson said the case in which a six- and nine-year-old boy were circumcised by their Bundaberg father, despite their mother's opposition, was a tragedy.

In European countries the written permission of both parents is necessary before a doctor can legally perform a circumcision on boys, Mr Peterson said.

This rule should be implemented in Australia to prevent such tragedies.

Mr Peterson said the case illustrated a double standard whereby female circumcision was condemned as mutilation while male circumcision was viewed as trivial or even a beneficial adjustment.

He said the case also highlighted the lack of implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child by Australian law.

The mother of the boys is also angry at what she sees as a double standard on circumcision.

If I had been in this current situation with two daughters who were circumcised by their Muslim father, the Australian public would be outraged, said the woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons.

Because it is my two sons who have been harmed, few people seem to care.

She said her estranged husband had performed the operation during an access visit to the children last year.

Grievous bodily harm and unlawful wounding charges were laid against the boys' father, but these were dropped on Thursday when the prosecution revealed they were not ready to proceed with their case.

Detective Senior Constable Peter Cormack, from the Gold Coast child abuse investigation unit, said police would still pursue the case, on which charges could still be laid.


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