Attorneys for the Rights of the Child Newsletter - Spring 2013, Vol. 10, No.1

Well, what a remarkable ride our work to protect children’s human rights has given us lately.  A number of surprising, mostly positive events have taken place even since our last newsletter that could never have been predicted.  And among the good news that we could have foretold, it continues to be the happy truth that so many folks are getting involved in intactivism that it is impossible for us to all know each other.

Fearless Newsletter Editor and Webmaster Jonathan Friedman continues to valiantly chip away at our numerous projects, including keeping our website up to date and pounding out two or three newsletters each year, whatever far-flung portion of the globe happens to be his current location.  Legal Advisor Peter Adler has kicked into even higher gear, with an upcoming publication about why circumcision is illegal and two articles in this newsletter issue.  Our social networking team, including Social Networking Coordinator Travis Konzelman and CircumcisionandHIV.com Curator and attorney David Wilton continues to add significant value to our efforts to keep others updated on our efforts.  Anthony Levin, formerly Director of ARC-UK, has moved and is now Director of ARC-Australia.

Right now I am hard at work writing a paper on the illegality of circumcision for the medical ethics conference at Charleston’s Medical University of South Carolina in October.  I am also writing a paper about developments in Germany and worldwide regarding genital autonomy for presentation at a conference at the University of Keele in the UK in September.  A team of lawyers is working with me to analyze the early history of three core United Nations documents to prove human rights backing for a right to genital integrity.

The Journal of Medical Ethics (JME)—one of the world’s leading journals on medical ethics—is poised to release its hotly anticipated special issue on circumcision, which includes two of my articles—more about those in a minute—as well as an article on circumcision and the right to an open future by my longtime collaborator Robert Darby and an article on circumcision and parental rights by my regular co-author, pediatrician Robert S. Van Howe, M.D.

The JME paper by Bob Van Howe and me leads off the JME special issue, arguing that the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP’s) position regarding male circumcision lacks credible support. Our paper has already led the JME to also publish a response by the AAP in what our press release calls “an ill-fated attempt to justify the medically and eth-ically flawed arguments in its policy statement and technical report.”

In the words of the JME’s own press release describing my other JME article, “Human rights lawyer J. Steven Svoboda goes a step further and argues that circumcision is a clear-cut human rights violation, whether it is performed on boys or girls, and whether for religious or secular reasons. Surveying the basis of human rights law in Western societies, Svoboda shows that circumcision may be considered inconsistent with the most widely accepted interpretations of key human rights documents, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.”

Our press release about the AAP was picked up by the Orthodox Jewish publication The Jewish Press.

Traffic to our website appears to have quadrupled in the wake of our recently released list of all known significant legal awards and settlements in circumcision-related lawsuits.

This issue is stuffed with great contributions: 1) Legal Advisor Peter Adler provocatively argues that male circumcision is medical quackery; 2) John Geisheker contributes his usual distinctive, thought-provoking meditation on the strange legal status accorded home circumcisions; 3) Peter Adler strikes again with a trenchant response to a horrendous piece recently published in the AAP News; 4) Exclusive to the ARC Newsletter, a special section on the expected Canadian Paediatric Society position statement on male circumcision, including ARC’s recent letter to the CPS; 5) photoreports on Genital Integrity Awareness Week in Washington, DC; 6) reviews of two superlative recent books by friends of the movement, Robert Darby and R. Charli Carpenter; and 7) News reports including the Bill Clinton protest that received widespread press attention.

As always, we are more grateful than can be expressed in words for the support each of you offers us, be it financial, emotional, logistical, as colleagues, or a combination of these roles. I have said it before and will keep on saying it--we literally could not do it without you!  As has always been the case since we started, 100% of all tax-deductible donations go directly to defraying the costs of safeguarding children.  Donations can be sent to J. Steven Svoboda, ARC, 2961 Ashby Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94705, or made through paypal at our website (www.arclaw.org/donate) or using the paypal address sarah@arclaw.org.

Steven Svoboda
Executive Director

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