n African Human Rights Law Journal - Circumcision and the rights of the Kenyan boy-child

Volume 5, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1609-073X
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2096



The adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child strengthened the protection of the rights of children. Although Kenya has ratified both instruments and enacted the Children's Act, all instruments prohibiting practices that are prejudicial to the rights of children, circumcision of the boy-child for purely cultural reasons still takes place in the country, sometimes with severe consequences, such as deaths. This article demonstrates that the circumcision of non-consenting boys under the age of 18 violates their basic human rights, particularly the right not to be discriminated against, the right to health, the right to privacy and bodily integrity, and the right not to be subjected to cruel and inhuman treatment. The article concludes that the human rights implications stemming from male circumcision necessitate positive action against this practice by the government.

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