Twelfth International Symposium

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The Twelfth International Symposium on Law, Genital Autonomy, and Human Rights convened at the Radison Blu Royal Hotel in Helsinki, Finland on September 30 through October 3, 2012.


  • Sami Aldeeb Abu-Sahlieh, Christian of Palestinian origin, and Swiss citizen, is a Doctor in Law (Fribourg), graduated in political sciences (Geneva), trained to direct research (HDR, Bordeaux 3), and a Professor of Universities (CNU-France). He was responsible for Arab and Islamic Law at the Swiss Institute of Comparative Law (1980-2009). He is a visiting professor in different French, Italian, and Swiss universities. He is the Director of the Centre of Arab and Islamic Law, author of more than thirty books and many articles on Arab and Islamic Law, including a French translation of the Koran in chronological order, and is now finishing Italian and English translations of the Koran. He is the author of the largest book in Arabic on the male and female circumcision religious, medical, social, and legal debate among Jews, Christians and Muslims, translated into English and French. See his website: for an article in English about him in Wikipedia and his CV in English.
  • Peter Ball, M.A.[a 1], MB, BChair, a retired family practitioner, is Vice Chair of NORM-UK and an Intactivist. He has produced a video, Restoration in Focus, to aid men interested in non-surgical restoration and has represented NORM-UK on television and numerous radio stations, including the BBC. Tunbridge Wells, Kent, UK.
  • John Dalton, BSc, M.S.[a 2], CRADP is a Safety and Environment consultant working in the nuclear sector. He is a member of one of the UK Health Research Agency’s Research Ethics Committees and a founder Trustee of NORM-UK. Recently he has become a Trustee of Genital Autonomy, and he has had an active role in planning the symposium. Cumbria, UK.
  • Brian Earp is a Research Associate at the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford, where he conducts research in psychology, philosophy, and ethics. Brian’s undergraduate degree is from Yale University, where he was elected President of the Yale Philosophy Society and served as Editor-in-Chief of both the Yale Philosophy Review and the International Yale Review of Undergraduate Research in Psychology. His empirical research garnered the Robert G. Crowder Prize from the Department of Psychology, and received coverage by the BBC, New Scientist, and dozens of leading international newspapers, from the Times of India to the Sydney Morning Herald. Brian’s graduate training is from the University of Oxford, where he was a Henry Fellow at New College, and runner-up for the Demuth Prize in Science Writing. Currently, Brian is guest editing a special issue of the Journal of Medical Ethics on the topic of religiously motivated circumcision, and with the Chair of Practical Ethics at Oxford, Professor Julian Savulescu, is writing a book on the ethics of neuro-enhancement. Oxford, UK.
  • Morten Frisch, M.D.[a 3], Ph.D.[a 4], DSc[a 5] (Med), is a full-time re-searcher at Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen and an adjunct professor of sexual health epidemiology at Aalborg University, Denmark. For more than 20 years, he has studied sexual risk factors for and correlates of chronic diseases, as well as sociodemographic, health-related, and lifestyle-related determinants of sexual health and ill-health. In 2011, Frisch and co-authors published a study in the International Journal of Epidemiology showing a statistically significant excess of sexual problems in circumcised men and their spouses. That study has obtained substantial international attention and was the most heavily debated scientific study during the heated circumcision debate in Denmark in the summer of 2012. Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • John Geisheker, J.D.[a 6], LLM, a native of New Zealand, is the Executive Director of Doctors Opposing Circumcision (D.O.C.), an international non-profit organization based in Seattle, Washington. As Director of D.O.C., he appears at medical and childbirth conventions, as well as educational institutions, presenting on the medical science, bioethics, and legality of merely cultural, non-therapeutic infant genital surgeries. He is the author of numerous publications on the subject. Mr. Geisheker has been a litigator, law lecturer, arbitrator, and mediator, specializing in medical disputes, for 30 years. He is proud that, in the 1960s, his native New Zealand fully abandoned medicalized infant circumcision as unnecessary-with no detectable loss of child health. Seattle, Washington, USA.
  • Tim Hammond, Director, National Organization to Halt the Abuse and Routine Mutilation of Males, and Director, Whose Body, Whose Rights? Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
  • Pia Henttonen, M.D.[a 3], MSW, is a sex educator and sexual health promoter. She is the Project Manager of “Mother does not quite understand,” of The Finnish Association for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities, which is funded, 2010-2014, by the Finnish Slot Machine Association. The project is targeted at families having a parent with an intellectual disability or a wide range of learning disabilities. The mission of The Finnish Association for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities is to provide support for its members, to protect and develop the social equality and rights of the intellectually disabled and their families, and to promote its members’ quality of life. Tampere, Finland.
  • Frederick M. Hodges, D Phil (Oxon), is a medical historian, the co-author of What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Circumcision: Untold Facts on America’s Most Widely Performed-and Most Unnecessary-Surgery (Warner Books 2002), and co-editor of the proceedings of the International Symposia on Circumcision, including Sexual Mutilations: A Human Tragedy; Male and Female Circumcision: Medical, Legal and Ethical Considerations in Pediatric Practice; Understanding Circumcision: A MultiDisciplinary Approach to a MultiDimensional Problem; Flesh and Blood: Perspectives on the Problem of Circumcision in Contemporary Society; Bodily Integrity and the Politics of Circumcision, Culture, Controversy, and Change, Circumcision and Human Rights; Genital Autonomy: Protecting Personal Choice, and The Rights of the Child: Ensuring Every Child’s Fundamental Right to Body Ownership and Protection from Medical, Cultural, and Religious Infringements (In press, Springer). Berkeley, California, USA.
  • Staffan Janson is a Swedish paediatrician, Professor of Public Health at Karlstad University and in Social Paediatrics at the University of Örebro, Sweden. He is head of the Committee on Ethics and Children’s Rights within the Swedish Paediatric Association. His research has mainly concentrated on child abuse and neglect and to the prevention of child injuries. Örebro, Sweden.
  • Julius Kaggwa is Director of Support Initiative for People with atypical sex Development (SIPD), a project working to promote human rights protection and holistic support for intersex children and adults. He is also a lead player of the civil society coalition on human rights and constitutional law, which is at the forefront of campaigning against the anti-homosexuality bill that was recently tabled before the Ugandan parliament. Born and raised in Uganda, Julius is a human rights advocate who has done extensive independent research in the fields of genders and sexualities, as well as engaged widely in advocating for the human rights of intersex people and other sexual minorities in Uganda and throughout Africa. While SIPD’s main offices are located in Kampala, our work is community-based and we are currently working in 25 districts of Uganda scattered across the Central, Eastern, Northern, and Western regions of the country. Julius is commended for his sensitive and professional approach to community engagement and education on matters of sexuality, sexual diversity, sexual health, and gender identities from a human rights perspective. Kampala, Uganda, Africa.
  • Maarit Kuoppala, M.S.[a 2], has been a volunteer breastfeeding-support mother and lactivist since 1997. She is the Executive Director of the Breastfeeding Support Association in Finland. Espoo, Finland.
  • Malla Laiti is the Planning Coordinator in Regional Administery State. She is working at Roma affairs in Southern Finland. This area shelters about half the Roma people in Finland. Vantaa, Finland.
  • Martti Laiti, a sales manager in the metal industry,was born near the Norwegian border in North Finland. He is the husband of Malla Laiti. Vantaa, Finland.
  • Donna Rigney Macris, RN[a 7], CNM[a 8], is a decades-long human rights activist in issues of genital integrity. She has served on the Board of Directors of NOCIRC, was a co-founder of the International Symposia on Circumcision, and co-authored the Declaration of the First International Symposium on Circumcision. Her writings on the issue of circumcision, the rights of infants and children, and the functions of male genitalia have been published. She has spoken nationally and internationally, promoting conscientious objector status for nurses and midwives in opposition to newborn circumcision. She has been guest faculty in midwifery programs, including Stanford University’s Women’s Health Care Training Project. Her Master’s Degree Research at St. Louis University centered upon informed consent for circumcision. Fresno, California, USA.
  • Paul Mason has worked for more than three decades as a family law solicitor and barrister. He was Commissioner for Children for the Australian State of Tasmania 2007-2010. The Commissioner is an appointment notionally independent of the elected Government, responsible for advising it about all matters concerning children and raising public awareness about them. He is deeply committed to the human rights of children and a strong believer in their capacity to make intelligent contributions to all decisions affecting themselves. In 2009, he became, with Dr. Comfort Momoh, MBE, inaugural co-Patron of the international charity Genital Autonomy. Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.
  • Finnish Mother is a strong supporter of human rights and sexual integrity. Most of all, she is the mother of a little boy who was circumcised illegally by his father and a senior physician. Helsinki, Finland.
  • Marilyn Milos, RN[a 7], is the co-founder and Executive Director of the National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers (NOCIRC) and the co-founder and coordinator of the International Symposia on Circumcision, now known as the International Symposia on Law, Genital Autonomy, and Children’s Rights. She is the co-editor of The Truth Seeker (July/August 1989 ”Crimes of Genital Mutilation” issue), the core proceedings of the First International Symposium on Circumcision, and co-editor of eight symposia books (see Hodges bio, page 3). San Anselmo, California, USA.
  • Mulki Mölsä, M.D.[a 3], is a researcher at the National Institute for Health and Welfare. Helsinki, Finland.
  • Husein Muhammed, born in 1980 in Iraqi Kurdistan, is a Finnish lawyer, Green politician, and author of Yhtä erilaiset (Equally Different), a book introducing Finnish Muslims. He has previously worked as a lawyer for the Finnish Refugee Advice Center, especially assisting asylum seekers. Currently he is a senior officer at the Office of the Ombudsman for Minorities. Helsinki, Finland.
  • Jussi Nissinen is a psychotherapist and the Executive Director of the Sexpo Foundation. Helsinki, Finland.
  • Sirkka Pietiläinen, RN[a 7], RM, M.S.[a 2] (Health care), is a midwife at the Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, Senior Lecturer, M.S.[a 2], and Specialist on Sexological Counselling. Helsinki, Finland.
  • Olli Pohjakallio earned his law degree in 1987 and then worked in law offices and as a judge in the City Court of Helsinki. Since 1995, he has practiced civil law in his own office, Advise, in Helsinki, Finland. That same year, he finished his post graduate diploma of International Master of Laws. In his practice, he has represented several clients in relation to sex crimes and child custody matters. Attorney Olli Pohjakallio has been lecturing about sex crimes in Sexpo Foundation since 2004. He has been a member of the board since 2007. This year, he was elected Vice Chairman of the Board. Helsinki, Finland.
  • Suvi and Eero Poussu are an entrepeneurial couple living in Hämeenlinna, Finland.
  • Lyn Ramsay, RN[a 7], BHSc (Nursing), MHSc (Primary Health Care) is an Australian human services consultant. She has been a passionate advocate for the rights of children with disability since she registered as a nurse specialising in the area in 1972. She was a lecturer at Southern Cross University in disabilities, natural therapies, holistic health, and spiritual well-being. She has worked in cities and rural areas with people with all forms of disability, as well as indigenous people, other social minorities, and people across the life span from babyhood to death. She consciously detoured off the information highway and does not register on Google, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn! Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.
  • Mark Reiss, M.D.[a 3], retired radiologist, Coordinator, Brit Shalom Celebrant List. San Francisco, California, USA.
  • Jonna Roos, MS, is a sex educator working currently at the University of Helsinki, Palmenia, Centre for Continuing Education. He has been training immigrants as well as people in their workplaces for many years and in many different places. Helsinki, Finland.
  • Richard Russell received a BA[a 9] in Political Science, a J.D.[a 6] (University of Georgia); a BA[a 9] in English Language and Literature, a Teaching Credential at California State University, San Bernardino, and a California Teaching Credential. He practiced law in Atlanta (personal injury), was an Adjunct-Instructor of Political Science at Georgia State University, Atlanta; served for 25 years in the USAF, JAG Department (criminal justice, administrative law, international law, government claims, government contract law, risk management [medical malpractice]). He held teaching positions in California middle schools and high schools; and was an Adjunct Instructor (international students) in the American Culture and Language Program. Post-retirement, he does volunteer work in counseling men harmed by circumcision and Genital Integrity Advocacy. Moreno Valley, California, USA.
  • David Smith was educated at St. Joseph’s College, Market Drayton, and qualified in business studies at Underwood College. He is the General Manager of NORM-UK, a charity dedicated to giving men a choice about their own bodies. He created and now edits NORM NEWS, the organisation’s magazine. In addition, he is the Chief Officer of Genital Autonomy, an international organization working to protect the genital autonomy of all children—females, males, and intersex. Stone, Staffordshire, UK.
  • Michael Thomson is Professor of Law at Keele University. He has published extensively in the areas of Health Care Law and Law and Gender. He is the author of Reproducing Narrative: Gender, Reproduction and Law (Dartmouth, 1998) and Endowed: Regulating the Male Sexed Body (Routledge, 2007). He has published widely on issues relating to the genital cutting of children and, most recently, male genital cutting as a response to HIV/AIDS. He is a trustee for Genital Autonomy. Staffordshire, UK.
  • Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon grew up in an Orthodox Jewish household in Brookline, MA. When he was 13 years old, Eliyahu’s family moved to Israel, where he lived until he was 19. In lieu of joining the Israel Defense Forces, Eliyahu decided to enroll in medical school in the United Kingdom. Three years into his M.D.[a 3] degree, he broke his Jewish mother’s heart and decided to abandon Medicine and follow his dream of becoming a filmmaker. He has since earned two degrees from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Cut: Slicing Through the Myths of Circumcision is his first feature-length film. Eliyahu is currently putting the finishing touches on his second feature-length film, a documentary about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, called A People Without a Land. Los Angeles, California, USA.
  • Xavier P. Valla, Licence Histoire de l’Art à la Sorbonne, has been the President of the Association contre la Mutilation des Enfants since 1991, he is a tourist guide in Southeast Asia, and a specialist in Khmer art and history. Paris, France.
  • Gert van Dijk, a medical analyst, philosopher, and medical ethicist, holds a part-time position as secretary of the Medical Ethics Committee at the department of Medical Ethics and Philosophy of Medicine, Erasmus Medical Centre, and is also a member of the Council for reproductive technology and the End-of-life committee. He is independent chair of the moral deliberation at the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). He also holds a part-time position as an ethicist at the Royal Dutch Medical Association (KNMG). His main interests include end-of-life questions (euthanasia, terminal sedations, severely handicapped newborns), moral problems regarding reproductive technology, post-mortem and living organ-donation, non-therapeutic circumcision of minors, intercultural care, alternative medicine, clinical ethics, vaccination, and moral deliberation. Rotterdam, Netherlands.
  • Robert S. Van Howe is a Clinical Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and Human Development at the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. He has lectured and been published internationally on the topic of circumcision and has been a consultant to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization. Much of his research has focused on secondary research, including meta-analysis and cost-utility analysis. Marquette, Michigan, USA.
  • Mika Venhola, M.D.[a 3], Ph.D.[a 4], is a paediatric surgeon with a keen interest in children ́s rights, especially on intersex and transgender issues. He works in Oulu University Hospital. Oulu, Finland.
  • Franco Viviani, Ph.D.[a 4], FISPPA, University of Padua. Padua, Italy.
  • Arja Voipio, M.S.[a 2], (BA[a 9]), is a human rights advocate. She has been involved in promoting the human rights and proper medical care for transgender and intersex people. She is currently the vice chair of Trasek, a Finnish human rights NGO specialising in transgender and intersex issues. She is also the chair of the transgender working group of Seta, the Finnish LGBTI federation. She has made her professional career in finance, financial supervision, and IT. Helsinki, Finland.



Saturday, 29 September

  • Meet in the bar for a pre-symposium drink & gathering at the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Helsinki.

Sunday, 30 September

  • Breakfast on Your Own
  • Registration; tea & coffee
  • Welcome
Eeva Matsuuke
  • Sexpo Foundation
Jussi Nissinen
  • Finland and Male Circumcision
Eeva Matsuuke & Tiina Vilponen
  • Children’s Sexual Abuse as a Crime in Finland
Olli Pohjakallio
  • One Mother’s Sad Story
Finnish Mother
  • Islamic Concept of Law and Its Impact on Physical Integrity: Comparative Study with Judaism and Christianity
Sami Aldeeb Abu-Sahleih
  • Lunch
  • Ka-Priests and the Mastaba of Ankhmahor: Setting the Record Straight About Ancient Egyptian Phallic Rituals
Frederick Hodges
  • Circumcision in the Netherlands: Between Religious Freedom and Physical Integrity
Gert van Dijk
  • Banning Circumcision in Sweden, a film presentation
Steffan Janson
  • The Roma Person as a Health Client
Malla Laiti
  • The Sami People
Martti Laiti
  • Break - tea & coffee
  • Never Argue With An Idiot: A Primer on How to Argue About Circumcision
Robert Van Howe
  • Male Circumcision & Sexual Dysfunction in Men & Women
Morten Frisch
  • NOCIRC and the USA
Marilyn Milos
  • Genital Autonomy and the UK
David Smith
  • Dinner on Your Own

Monday, 1 October

  • Breakfast on Your Own
  • Registration; tea & coffee
  • Welcome
Peter Ball
  • People on the Move: Migration and Sexual Well-being in TransculturalFamilies
Jonna Roos
  • Circumcision History in Indonesia
Xavier Valla
  • Anthropological Reflections on Genital Interventions
Franco Viviani
  • Female Genital Mutilation
Mulki Mölsä1
  • Lunch
  • Transgender Issues
Arja Voipio
  • Intersex: Ambiguous Genitals or Ambiguous Medicine?
Mika Venhola
  • Intersex: Global South Perspectives
Julius Kaggwa
  • Processing Gender Identity: The Healing Power of Photography
Mika Venhola
  • Break - tea & coffee
  • Captives of Care: The Child’s Right to Acceptance Not Tolerance
Lyn Ramsey
  • Children With Disabilities
Pia Henttonen
  • Of Faith and Circumcision: Can the Religious Beliefs of Parents Justify the Nonconsensual Cutting of Their Child’s Genitals?
Brian Earp
  • Brit Shalom: A Ten-Year Follow-Up
Mark Reiss
  • Dinner on Your Own
  • On Entertainment: Traditional Finnish Music

Tuesday, 2 October

  • Breakfast on Your Own
  • Registration; tea & coffee
  • Introduction
David Smith
J. Steven Svoboda
  • The Capability Approach, Bodily Integrity, and Decision-Making with Children
Michael Thomson
  • Circumcision in Finnish Legislation
Husein Muhammed
  • The Quest for Blankness: Project MK-ULTRA and the CIA’s Circumcision Research
Frederick Hodges
  • Through the Looking Glass
John Geisheker
  • Lunch
  • Getting It on the Table: How UNCROC Adopted In-Home Physical Punishment as an Agenda Item
Paul Mason
  • Sexual Rights and Psychological Harm
Jussi Nissinen
  • Broken Ego: A Story of an Abused Person
Suvi and Eero Pousu1
  • Break - tea & coffee
  • Sex Education in the Metropolia University of Applied Sciences
Sirkka Pietiläinen
  • Breastfeeding, Intimacy, Togetherness
Maarit Kuoppala
  • Guardian of the Normal: The Midwife & Circumcision
Donna Rigney Macris

1630 - 1700 Birth As We Know It - A documentary film by Elena Tonetti

  • Dinner on Your Own

Wednesday, 3 October

  • Breakfast on Your Own
  • Registration; tea & coffee
  • Introduction to workshops
Richard Duncker
  • The Cut Tour 2011: Between Art and Activism
Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon
  • Discussion
Richard Duncker
  • Lunch
  • The Harm is Real: Living With the Results of a Botched Circumcision
Richard Russell
  • Circumcision Sufferers: Men Go Online to Tell Their Stories
Tim Hammond
  • The Harm of Circumcision & Foreskin Restoration
Peter Ball
  • Break - tea & coffee
  • Framing the Message: Changing Culture
Paul Mason & John Dalton
  • Closing Remarks
Eeva, Tina, David, and Marilyn.

The proceedings of the Twelfth International Symposium have not been published.

Declaration of Helsinki

The General Assembly of the Twelfth International Symposium on Law, Genital Autonomy, and Human Rights adopted the Declaration of Helsinki (2012).

Symposium organisers

The symposium organisers are Sexpo Foundation, Genital Autonomy and the National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers.

See also

External links


  1. REFweb Master of Arts, Wikipedia. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  2. a b c d e REFweb Master of Science, Wikipedia. Retrieved 13 October 2021. (Latin: magisterii scientiae; also abbreviated MS, MSc, M.Sc., SM, S.M., ScM or Sc.M.)
  3. a b c d e f REFweb Doctor of Medicine, Wikipedia. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  4. a b c REFweb Doctor of Philosophy, Wikipedia. Retrieved 16 June 2021. (Also abbreviated as D.Phil.)
  5. REFweb Doctor of Science, Wikipedia. Retrieved 14 October 2021. (Latin: scientiae doctor, usually abbreviated Sc.D., D.Sc., S.D., or D.S.)
  6. a b c REFweb Juris Doctor, Wikipedia. Retrieved 13 October 2021. (Also known as Doctor of Law or Doctor of Jurisprudence.)
  7. a b c d REFweb Registered nurse, Wikipedia. Retrieved 11 January 2021.
  8. REFweb Certified Nurse‐Midwife, Wikipedia. Retrieved 14 October 2021.
  9. a b c REFweb Bachelor of Arts, Wikipedia. Retrieved 13 October 2021. (BA or AB; from the Latin baccalaureus artium or artium baccalaureus.)