Traditional male circumcision: balancing cultural rights and the prevention of serious, avoidable harm

S Afr Med J. 2013 Oct 11;104(1):15-6. doi: 10.7196/samj.7493.


The right to participate in cultural practices should be protected. However, it is a limited right, and does not entail a right to activities that cause serious and avoidable harms. I argue that the harms currently resulting from traditional circumcision are very serious, and that we have an obligation to ensure that the practice is effectively regulated so as to minimise them.

MeSH terms

  • Circumcision, Male / adverse effects*
  • Culture*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • South Africa