Traditional paedocircumcision is a routine immunization against common law. In essence, religious immunity means that dealing with superhuman agencies gives special rights and protection from customary law. The current democratic system in some western countries such as Germany, for instance, gives more rights to religious people than to atheists. There the circumcising religions are above the laws that defend the right of body integrity. The members of the traditionally circumcising groups are allowed to infringe these laws and to practice coercive mortification of body parts of children for their own sake. In effect this inequality advertises religions and religious ceremonies including paedocircumcision.
It turns out that currently freedom of religion overrides most of the human rights and freedoms except the right to life. In practice, freedom of religion is a more fundamental human right than freedom from torture.[i] When circumcision is proved to be painful anaesthesia saves the religious circumcision from being categorized as torture that violates human rights. In actuality, freedom of religion also takes precedence over the right to physical and genital integrity because categorizing circumcision as a religious ritual makes it untouchable by law.
Intriguingly, there is no explicit substantive human right that protects bodily integrity which is actually more indispensable to life than the lack of suffering. This lapse has a historical origin. The essential human rights were introduced after WWII and were designed to prevent future genocides. They were modelled after the intention of protecting the Jewish ethnos from another Holocaust. Jewish ethnos was considered inseparable from Judaism so the human rights were made to defend both of them. Human rights were defined in such a way so as not to infringe religious requirements including circumcision. Freedom from amputation is in conflict with the Hebrew religion so a human right explicitly defending body integrity was not elaborated.
In fact, as long as ethnoses are identified with their beliefs a right of inviolability of the body is by necessity anti-Semitic and anti-Islamic. Taking religion for vital characteristic of ethnic groups resulted in formulation of such substantive human rights that protect religion and circumcision altogether.
Due to the priority of freedom of religion the current human rights tend to be pro-Semitic and pro-Islamic, and generally pro-religious. The lack of explicit right to body integrity is a severe omission in human rights of which democracy must be ashamed of. Nowadays, the omission of freedom from amputation allows some Jews to categorize any ban on paedocircumcision as a new Holocaust.
In principle, paedocircumcision conflicts with the newer still debatable reproductive rights[ii] that include the right to control one’s reproductive functions and the right to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health. These human rights, however, are still not fully established and are vaguely defined so whether circumcision trespasses them depends on the medical interpretation on sexual and reproductive health. It is the World Health Organization that sets the global standard of health. It has already helped outlawing female circumcision as a violation of reproductive rights. But for some reason it sticks to male paedocircumcision in quite a sexist manner. Could this be so because the male pro-paedocircumcision lobby in USA is strong and because USA is the greatest influence in the World Health Organization? Currently, the situation is such that the effects of male neonatal circumcision in USA are left to decide on the future of the practice in the world. And as we can see paedocircumcision defends itself pretty well. Disguised as spiritual freedom this physically-emotional restriction passes unnoticed by human rights and remains untouchable by law. It is as if the practice is left to choose its own fate.