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Please lodge this anti-circumcision submission with the Peace Corps (Deadline 25 July 2011)

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

This is a reply to the document “Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals” [regulations.gov Docket ID: PC-2011-0009] ( http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=PC-2011-0009-0001 ).

Instructions:

Copy and paste the text below and email to pcfr@peacecorps.gov with the subject heading "Response to regulations.gov Docket ID: PC-2011-0009":

" Dear Denora Miller

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to the changes proposed in the document “Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals” [regulations.gov Docket ID: PC-2011-0009]. The focus of this response shall be on the Peace Corps promotion of the harmful male genital mutilation known as circumcision. Due to the fundamental human rights violations and physical injury caused by male circumcision, and for the sake of boy's and men’s sexual health, human dignity, and citizen equality, the Peace Corps must ensure that the proposed information collection activity screens out and excludes those individuals motivated exclusively (or near exclusively) to promote or participate in the harmful male genital mutilation known as circumcision.

The harm caused by circumcision

Circumcision removes the most sexually sensitive parts of a boy’s penis, including the foreskin, the frenulum, and the ridged band of nerves [1]. The male foreskin is also designed to protect the glans of the penis throughout a man’s life, ensuring that the internal mucosal tissue remains moist and sensitive (much the same way that a woman’s clitoral hood protects the clitoris). In addition, the foreskin acts as a natural gliding mechanism to reduce chafing and dryness during intercourse [2].

Regardless of whether it is performed in a medical or non-medical setting, a significant number of boys subjected to the practice of circumcision will later fulfill the DSM-IV criteria for a diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder [3].

No national medical association in the world recommends that boys be forcefully circumcised for preventive health reasons, not even in Israel, where the Journal of the Israeli Medical Association published an article highlighting the high prevalence of urinary tract infections among boys who had undergone ritual circumcision [4].

The Royal Dutch Medical Association's very up-to-date policy on circumcision states that "KNMG is calling upon doctors to actively and insistently inform parents who are considering the procedure of the absence of medical benefits and the danger of complications", and that there is a good case for making it illegal [5].

Circumcision tourism

Government tourism departments, tourism publications and private tourism agencies are actively promoting the spectacle of mass circumcision of boys and young men in public, frequently as an event separate from any other cultural celebrations. Tourism Malaysia actively promote sites where circumcision ceremonies are performed [6]. Public circumcisions being performed to entertain tourists have also been documented in Uganda, Madagascar, Kenya, Thailand and Tanzania [7-11]. An article and accompanying 'pictorial special' in Phuket Wan magazine left no doubt about the tourist market that public mass circumcision of boys and young men is aimed at:

'IT IS THE DAY the foreskins have to go. About 30 young boys are set for this once-in-a-lifetime occasion, under the knife.
...
Most seem to be extremely tolerant of public exposure of their bodies, as do their parents. This is, after all, a special occasion, a Sunrat, when boys aged four to nine lose their foreskins and join the path to adulthood.' [10]

Private tourism operators are not above appealing to that section of the tourist market drawn to such events:

'The extremely rare event that I was fortunate enough to witness is not only soul building, pride rearing and so completely admirable...it is, in a way, even beautiful.
If you would like more information on how to expereince (sic) something similar yourself, please contact...' [11]

Proponents of 'medical' mass circumcision programs have also acknowledged a fascination with 'traditional' and 'tribal' circumcision practices [12] and articles in the mainstream media of popular celebrities participating in medical missions exclusively (or near exclusively) to perform circumcisions have sought to legitimize this form of 'tourism' [13].

PEPFAR and the Peace Corps

The 'About Us' page of the Peace Corp website site enthusiastically extols the Peace Corps role in 'contributing to the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief' [14]. In an AIDS.gov blog post dated May 26 2011, the Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy acknowledged the role of the Peace Corps in helping PEPFAR 'scale up adult male circumcision' in Swaziland [15]. Inexplicably, the position of the Peace Corp has changed from recognizing unnecessary surgical procedures including circumcision as a risk factor for transmitting the HIV/AIDS virus in Uganda [16], to one of enthusiastic endorsement of circumcision as an HIV/AIDS preventative [17].

Action required

Due to the fundamental human rights violations and physical injury caused by male circumcision, and for the sake of boy's and men’s sexual health, human dignity, and citizen equality, the Peace Corps must ensure that the proposed information collection activity screens out and excludes those individuals motivated exclusively (or near exclusively) to promote or participate in the harmful male genital mutilation known as circumcision.

References/Links

1. Morris L. Sorrells, James L. Snyder, Mark D. Reiss, Christopher Eden, Marilyn F. Milos, Norma Wilcox, Robert S. Van Howe Fine-touch pressure thresholds in the adult penis British Journal of Urology International, Volume 99 Issue 4 Page 864 – 869 April 2007 http://www.nocirc.org/touch-test/bju_6685.pdf

2. Taylor, J.P., A.P. Lockwood and A.J.Taylor The prepuce: Specialized mucosa of the penis and its loss to circumcision Journal of Urology (1996), 77, 291-295 http://www.cirp.org/library/anatomy/taylor/

3. Samuel Ramos and Gregory J. Boyle. Ritual and Medical Circumcision among Filipino boys: Evidence of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Humanities & Social Sciences papers (2000). Available at: http://epublications.bond.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1120&context=hss_pubs

4. Toker O, Schwartz S, Segal G, Godovitch N, Schlesinger Y, Raveh D (2011) A costly covenant: ritual circumcision and urinary tract infection. Isr Med Assoc J. 2010 May;12(5):262-5 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20929075

5. KNMG (2010) Non-theraputic circumcision of male minors http://knmg.artsennet.nl/web/file?uuid=579e836d-ea83-410f-9889-feb7eda87cd5&owner=a8a9ce0e-f42b-47a5-960e-be08025b7b04&contentid=77976

6. Tourism Malaysia (2011) Istana Maziah, Terengganu http://www.tourism.gov.my/destinations/detail.php?theme=CH&map_code=istanamaziah&state=terengganu

7. Famous Worlds (2011) Uganda Famous Landmarks http://famouswonders.com/category/uganda/

8. Mapsoftheworld.com (2011) Festivals in Madagascar http://travel.mapsofworld.com/madagascar/festivals-in-madagascar/

9. Bruner, M & Kirshenblatt-Gimblett (1994) Maasi on the Lawn: Tourist Realism in East Africa in Cultural Anthropology Vol. 9 No. 4 (Nov., 1994) 435-470 http://www.nyu.edu/classes/bkg/tourist/maasai.pdf

10. Morison, A. (2010) Phuket's Mass Circumcision: Photo Special in Phuket Wan April 8, 2010 http://phuketwan.com/entertainment/phukets-mass-circumcision-photo-special-12341/

11. Stephen, B (2005) The Cutting Edge - Observation of a Maasai Male Circumcision Ceremony in Ezine Articles http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Cutting-Edge----Observation-of-a-Maasai-Male-Circumcision-Ceremony&id=84778

12. Curtis, D (2008) Florida Gators star quarterback Tim Tebow's legend grows when 'Dr. Tebow' assists with surgical procedures on a missionary trip to the Philippines. in Orlando Sentinel http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2008-05-05/sports/tebow05_1_tim-tebow-philippines-general-santos-city

13. Henry, M (2010) Q & A: Rebecca Plank in Harvard School of Public Health AIDS initiative spotlight newsletter Winter 2010 http://www.aids.harvard.edu/news/spotlight/archives/v7i1_q&a_rebeca_plank.html

14. Peace Corp (2011) About Us Peace Corp website http://www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=about

15. Crowley, J S (2011) My Visit to Swaziland: The Country with the World’s Highest HIV Prevalence Rate on blog.AIDS.gov website http://blog.aids.gov/2011/05/my-visit-to-swaziland-the-country-with-the-world%E2%80%99s-highest-hiv-prevalence-rate.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+aids%2Fgov+%28Blog.AIDS.gov%29

16. Peace Corp (2000) hiv/aids: integrating prevention and care into your sector Information Collection and Exchange Publication No. M0081 http://multimedia.peacecorps.gov/multimedia/pdf/library/M0081.pdf

17. Peace Corp (2011) Peace Corps/Uganda Supports PEPFAR in Delivering Facts about HIV to 25,000 Ugandans http://www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=resources.media.press.view&news_id=1683 "
 

post #2 of 4
Thread Starter 

Just bumping this post to remind members that today is the final day for submissions.

post #3 of 4

*sent*

 

post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 

Thank you to all readers who lodged submissions.

Replies received on various forums confirm that at least 9 submissions were made.

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Mothering › Mothering Forums › Pregnancy and Birth › Understanding Circumcision › Intactivism › Please lodge this anti-circumcision submission with the Peace Corps (Deadline 25 July 2011)