STOCKHOLM - The Ombudsman for Children in Sweden called Saturday for the country to ban circumcision, a practice he said contravened the basic rights of boys.
"Circumcising a child without medical justification nor his consent contravenes this child's human rights," wrote Fredrik Malmberg in a text co-signed with health professionals and published in the daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter.
"The operation is painful, irreversible and can lead to dangerous complications," Malmberg said.
In 2001 Sweden passed a law authorising circumcision, which allows a religious authority to perform the operation if the child is under two months old. If the child is older than this, only a physician can carry it out.
The law also requires the consent of the parents and demands they are fully informed about the operation and its implications.
The law has widespread support in Sweden and a proposal last October to ban circumcision from the far right party Sweden Democrats was rejected.
According to Malmberg the law contravenes the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The government estimates that some 3,000 boys are circumcised every year in Sweden.
In 2012, a court in Cologne, Germany said the rite amounted to grievous bodily harm in a ruling that caused international uproar.
The German parliament later decided to pass a law authorising the practice for religious reasons.
Studies have shown there is compelling evidence that male circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men by approximately 60 percent.