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Circumcision, slaughter, clothing

Female circumcision is strictly prohibited in Finland, while male circumcision is debated. In 2015 the Ministry for Social Affairs and Health issued a guideline which stated that a non-medical circumcision may be done by a doctor in sterile conditions with pain relief. If a boy himself understands the surgery and its consequences it may not be done without his consent. However, the Supreme Court gave two decisions in 2016 concerning circumcision of boys. In the other case the guardian was found guilty of maltreatment, in the other case parents were acquitted of the charge. The Supreme Court decrees: “Circumcision of a boy with other than medical reasons, even when done medically correctly, meets the elements of maltreatment.” (KKO:2016:25) However, positive effects for a child can be found as well, such as belonging to a social community and building of one´s identity as a part of said community. Legal status of male circumcision is still unclear.

Religious slaughter according to the Jewish or Islamic practice is controlled. The animal must be stunned before slaughter and the whole procedure should be done in the four approved slaughter houses while a veterinarian from Finnish Food Safety Authority is present.

The use of traditional clothing, like the headscarf for Muslims or the Sikh turban, often leads to negotiations at a local level in work places. Such negotiations are normally solved through mutual agreement, and there is no specific law regulating the right to wear religious garments. Employer can restrict a person´s clothing - without it being discrimination – in specific cases for example judges, soldiers, police, surgeons etc. In most cases it is a question of work safety or of standing out from a crowd.

D 3 July 2017    ATommi Heino

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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