German ethics council calls for decriminalizing incest between siblings

Germany`s national ethics council has called for an end to the criminalisation of incest between siblings.

AFP| Last Updated: Sep 25, 2014, 18:00 PM IST

London: Germany`s national ethics council has called for an end to the criminalisation of incest between siblings.

The council recommended the section be repealed after examining the case of a man who had four children with his sister arguing that the risk of disability in children is not enough to warrant the law and de-criminalising incest would not remove the huge social taboo around it, the Independent reported.

According to an official statement, incest between siblings appears to be very rare in Western societies according to the available data but those affected describe how difficult their situation is in light of the threat of punishment. The siblings feel their fundamental freedoms have been violated and are forced into secrecy or to deny their love.

The statement said that the Ethics Council has been told of cases where half-siblings did not grow up together and have only met in their adult lives and the law against incest "put couples in a tragic situation, and that the majority of the German Ethics Council is of the opinion that it is not appropriate for a criminal law to preserve a social taboo.

It was also said that in the case of consensual incest among adult siblings, neither the fear of negative consequences for the family , nor the possibility of the birth of children from such incestuous relationships can justify a criminal prohibition and the fundamental right of adult siblings to sexual self-determination has more weight in such cases than the abstract protection of the family.