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The first intensive exploration of the unrecognized psychological and social aspects of this increasingly controversial American cultural practice. Endorsed by dozens of professionals in psychology, psychiatry, child development, pediatrics, obstetrics, childbirth education, sociology and anthropology.


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"What's done to children, they will do to society."

Karl Menninger, psychiatrist

"Parents do not know what they are choosing, and physicians do not feel what they are doing."

Ronald Goldman, Ph.D., author

"In response to circumcision, the baby cries a helpless, panicky, breathless, high-pitched cry!...[or] lapses into a semi-coma. Both of these states...are abnormal states in the newborn."

Justin Call, M.D., pediatrician

"Doctors who circumcise are the most resistant to change. They will not admit that they made a critical mistake by amputating an important part of the penis."

Paul Fleiss, M.D., pediatrician

"In this case, the old dictum 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it' seems to make good sense."

Eugene Robin, M.D., professor

"A whole life can be shaped by an old trauma, remembered or not."

Lenore Terr, M.D., child psychiatrist

"If we are to have real peace, we must begin with the children."

Mahatma Gandhi

"We are interconnected. When a baby boy's sexuality is not safe, no one's sexuality is safe."

Ronald Goldman, Ph.D., author

Amnesty International Suppressed Debate

Process was not fair, open, or democratic.

SUMMARY OF GENITAL CUTTING RESOLUTIONS HISTORY AT AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL NORTHEAST REGIONAL CONFERENCES
Ronald Goldman, Sponsor and AIUSA member

1992

  1. Submitted resolution about forced genital cutting.
  2. Substantial sections of the resolution were deleted without authorization in the version prepared by the Amnesty International (AI) Northeast Regional Office and distributed at the Conference compared to the text submitted. Time that could have been used for debate was instead used to make the necessary corrections.
  3. Chairperson made prejudicial remarks during the debate.
  4. Resolution did not pass.

1993

  1. Submitted resolution about forced genital cutting.
  2. Substantial sections of background information on forced genital cutting were deleted from the distributed version. In both 1992 and 1993, these resolutions were the only resolutions that were altered between submission and distribution.
  3. The chairperson violated Robert’s Rules of Order:
    1. Allowed imbalanced debate with nine speakers against and two speakers for the resolution rather than alternating between those in favor and those opposed.
    2. Recognized one speaker for a “point of information” and permitted him to argue against the resolution for over three minutes.
    3. Interrupted the sponsor’s shorter response.
    4. Denied the sponsor’s right to make a closing statement.
    5. Made prejudicial remarks during the debate.
  4. Philippe Villers, an AI Board member, and Joshua Rubenstein, Director of the AI Northeast Regional Office, spoke strongly against the resolution. Their participation raised questions of undue influence and conflict of interest.
  5. Resolution did not pass. 
  6. Several people approached the sponsor after the meeting to comment on the unfair process.

Sponsor wrote two letters to AI Regional Office concerning unauthorized deletions, requesting who was responsible and assurance it would not happen again. AI response from Florinda Russo, Deputy Director, referred to “errors and omissions,” offered no future assurance against repetition, and did not identify who was specifically responsible for the deletions.

1994

  1. Submitted resolution about forced female genital cutting to improve chance of passing.
  2. The Resolutions Committee (RC) advised sponsor that the International Council Meeting (ICM) was considering the issue, decided the resolution was redundant, and disallowed it. Sponsor then asked the RC chairperson if he could amend the resolution to include male genital cutting, since that was not being addressed by the ICM. She said no because that would make it “a whole other resolution.” She refused to send sponsor a letter confirming and explaining her decision. She suggested an Emergency Resolution (EM) which she said was at the discretion of the chairperson.
  3. A Regional Office letter from Florinda Russo instructed the sponsor to submit the EM to the Regional Office for copying and distribution at the Conference. The resolution was submitted to the Regional Office. Then the Regional Office changed the instruction to submit the EM to the chairperson at the Conference.
  4. The sponsor submitted the EM to the chairperson who said it should have been submitted to the RC. The chairperson was Philippe Villers who had spoken against the resolution in 1993, therefore making it a violation of Robert’s Rules of Order to preside on this resolution. The chairperson violated other rules of Robert’s Rules of Order and fair process:
    1. Made prejudical remarks before a vote.
    2. Put the question of considering the resolution for debate to a vote rather than allowing a debate and vote on the merits.
    3. Referred to a rule which is not existent in AI literature.
  5. The chairperson later acknowledge to the sponsor that he was “not impartial.”
  6. The resolution was not distributed or debated at the Conference. This was inconsistent with previous action. In 1992 two resolutions that were submitted after the “deadline” were distributed in the resolutions packet at the Conference, debated, and voted on. In addition, up to three pages of background material was included for a resolution in the resolutions packet. This is inconsistent with Regional Office 1992 instruction to limit background to one page.
  7. Several people approached the sponsor after the Resolutions Plenary to comment on the unfair process.

3/10/94 – Sponsor wrote letter to Regional Office outlining history of resolution, requesting response.

3/26/94 – Regional Office response from Florinda Russo was to contact the Board: “I believe that your discussion with the Board will lead to the resolution of your concerns and provide you with the definitive answers you seek. It will also assist the Board in focusing on the issues about the resolutions process which need to be re-formulated, re-defined and might encourage the development of written policy.”

Sponsor wrote to Board member Heather Wiley three times and left two unreturned telephone messages. Six months after the first letter was sent, sponsor received a brief letter response which did not address any concerns raised in the original letter. Two other Board members, including the chairperson, did not respond to sponsor’s letters.

1995

  1. Submitted resolution about forced male genital cutting.
  2. Resolution was rejected by the RC in order to “limit debate on issues which have been discussed previously.” This reason is inconsistent with the decision to reject the 1994 amended resolution because it was changed too much, making it “a whole other resolution.”  “A whole other resolution” cannot have “been discussed previously.”
  3. Resolution was submitted at the Regional Conference (3/8/95 letter).
  4. Chairperson Philippe Villers violated several rules of Robert’s Rules of Order and fair process:
    1. Made prejudicial remarks about the resolution.
    2. Ruled against the resolution being debated.
    3. Referred to a rule which is not existent in AI literature.
    4. Prohibited debate on the appeal of his ruling.
    5. Failed to recognize a point of order.
    6. Presided on a question which he opposed in debate in 1993.
  5. A dozen people approached the sponsor after the Resolutions Plenary to comment on the unfair process.

1996

  1. Submitted resolution about forced male genital cutting.
  2. Chairperson was Philippe Villers, who had spoken against the resolution in 1993.
  3. A motion to limit time of debate was voted without debate on the motion itself, a violation of Robert’s Rules of Order.
  4. Debate was terminated after the sponsor and one other speaker presented arguments, a total of three minutes of debate.
  5. The resolution did not pass.