(JTA) — A county in Sweden is planning to ban non-medical circumcision of boys, its commissioner said.
Per-Ola Mattsson, commissioner of Blekinge County, said he would move ahead with plans to ban ritual circumcision by bringing the subject up in February with the county’s health board, according to an article published Thursday by the Sydöstran Daily.
According to Dagens Medicin, Mattsson, who is also chairman of the Public Health Board of Blekinge, said he opposed the practice because minors “have no possibility to say no to the surgery and therefore the county should not perform these procedures.”
Located in southern Sweden, Blekinge County has a population of about 150,000.
In Sweden, nonmedical and medical circumcision may be performed only by licensed professionals, as per legislation from 2001.
Under the legislation, Jewish ritual circumcisers, or mohelim, in Sweden receive their licenses from the country’s health board, but a nurse or doctor must still be present when they perform the procedure. Representatives of the country’s Jewish community told JTA they are pleased with the arrangement as it does not prevent them from performing the ritual.
In recent years, Scandinavian countries have seen an intensification of efforts to ban ritual circumcision by activists who say it violates children’s rights and by anti-immigration nationalists who seek to limit the effect that Muslim presence is having on Swedish society.
In September, the rightist Sweden Democrats Party submitted a motion in parliament in favor of banning ritual circumcision.
In October, the children’s ombudsmen of all Nordic countries — Finland, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden and Norway — released a joint declaration proposing a ban on circumcision.