AMSTERDAM (Reuters Life!) - The Royal Dutch Medical Association on Thursday suggested a possible ban on elective circumcisions for young boys, saying they were medically unnecessary and violated children's rights.
The 161-year-old organization, which represents more than 46,000 doctors and students, called the procedure "a violation of the integrity of the body."
The group, known by its Dutch initials KNMG, proposed a dialogue between doctors and religious groups on the issue.
Most non-therapeutic circumcisions in the Netherlands are performed on religious grounds. In the capital of Amsterdam, parents seeking circumcisions for elective reasons are often referred to a small clinic in a heavily Muslim neighborhood.
"KNMG sees good reasons for a legal ban on non-therapeutic circumcisions, but fears that this will lead to the operation going underground," it said in a statement.
In a column on the KNMG's website, chairman Arie Nieuwenhuijzen Kruseman said some 80 percent of the group's members agreed circumcision should be discouraged.
According to a 2007 World Health Organization report, some 30 percent of men worldwide are circumcised.
Reporting by Ben Berkowitz, editing by Paul Casciato