Parliamentary Assembly Session October 2010
Child abuse in institutions: ensure full protection of the victims, Rapporteur of the Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee: Mrs Marlene Rupprecht (Germany)

Marlene Rupprecht: Assembly’s resolution on child’s right to physical integrity does not foster hate

Criticism of a new Parliamentary Assembly resolution on ‘children’s right to physical integrity’ is unfounded.

That is the view of the assembly’s rapporteur Marlene Rupprecht (photo), rejecting government attacks that the resolution is “exceptionally wrong” and “casts a moral stain on the Council of Europe and fosters hate and racist trends in Europe.”

“The resolution adopted last Tuesday on ‘Children’s right to physical integrity’ in no way compares the circumcision of boys to female genital mutilation,” she said

Yesterday, the Israeli Government called on the assembly to withdraw the resolution. “Circumcision of male children is an ancient religious tradition of two important religions, Judaism and Islam,” said spokesman . “The resolution, therefore, is an intolerable attack both on the respectable and ancient religious tradition that lies at the base of European culture and on modern medical science and its findings.

“This resolution casts a moral stain on the Council of Europe, and fosters hate and racist trends in Europe. We call on the Council of Europe to act without delay in order to annul it.”

The resolution was also criticised by the Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister.“It is an exceptionally wrong decision,” said Bekir Bozdağ. “Because parliaments, politicians, governments, unions, international organizations cannot decide on issues regarding people’s beliefs, what they should believe or not. This is a decision that is in conflict with the EU’s own acquis, European values, freedom of religion and conscience.”

However, Rupprecht rejects these views. “We did mention different categories of violation of the physical integrity of children, which we, however, very clearly distinguished and did not mix up in any way,” she said.

Rupprecht added: “The text adopted by the parliamentarians in a vote does not intend to stigmatise any religious community or its practices. On the contrary, the assembly calls for public debate, including intercultural and inter-religious dialogue, aimed at reaching a wide consensus on the rights of children to protection against violations of their physical integrity.

“It is the Council of Europe’s mandate to promote the respect for human rights, including children’s rights, on an equal footing with the fight against racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia.”

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