The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 16 December 1966. The ICCPR was to take effect ten years later in all nations that had become state parties. A sufficient number of states had become parties so the ICCPR took effect as planned in 1976.
The United States Senate ratified the ICCPR in June 1992. The Senate took exceptions to this treaty. Amongst those exceptions are the provision that the human rights recognized by this treaty shall not be enforcable in courts in the United States. Thus the United States Senate denied Americans the legal power to secure and enforce the human rights recognized by this international covenant.
CIRP presents selected articles. The full unabridged text is available elsewhere on the World Wide Web.
The ICCPR contains important articles which appear to protect the child from involuntary circumcision. Article 24 provides a right of every child to special protection. This is to be applied without regard to race, color, sex, religion, social orgin or birth. The right is universal and protects every child without exception. Article 9 provides a right of security of person. Article 7 provides a right to freedom from torture, and cruel or degrading treatment. Article 26 provides a right to the equal protection of the law for all persons. Read together it appears that a child would have a right to special protection of the security of his body, freedom from torture, and cruel and degrading treatment. The special protection of the law is to be applied universally for all persons. This would seem to mean that the child is entitled to protection from circumcision by law.
Article 18 provides that everyone has a right to adopt a religion. This means that children may adopt a different religion from their parents. A circumcision may interfere with this right of free choice of religion.
These articles may be enforcable in court in some nations other than the United States.
The States Parties to the present Covenant,
Considering that, in accordance with the principles proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations, recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundationof freedom, justice and peace in the world,
Recognizing that these rights derive from the inherent dignity of the human person,
Recognizing that, in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the ideal of free human beings enjoying civil and political freedom and freedom from fear and want can only be achieved if conditions are created whereby everyone may enjoy his civil and political rights, as well as his economic, social and cultural rights,
Considering the obligation of States under the Charter of the United Nations to promote universal respect for and observance of, human rights and freedoms,
Realizing that the individual, having duties to other individuals and to the community to which he belongs, is under a responsibility to strive for the promotion and observance of the rights recognized in the present Covenant,
Agree upon the following articles:
The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to ensure the equal right of men and women to the enjoyment of all civil and political rights set forth in the presentCovenant.
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. In particular, no one shall be subjected without his freeconsent to medical or scientific experimentation.
Everyone shall have the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
All persons are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of the law. In this respect, the law shall prohibit any discrimination and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection against discrimination on any ground such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with the other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practise their own religion, or to use their own language.
The provisions of the present Covenant shall extend to all parts of federal States without any limitations or exceptions.
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