The gang rape of a 14-year-old girl in May this year led to passing a number of ‘controversial’ laws by the Indonesian parliament, authorizing chemical castration, minimum sentences and execution for criminals convicted of pedophilia.
A request for a change of the laws was proposed by President Joko Widodo following the heinous crime that resulted in murder of the teenager.
The process of chemical castration entails injecting convicts with female hormones. It is believed that the treatment reduced desire for sexual activity in males. Only a few countries support this punishment, viz. Poland, South Korea, Russia, and some US states, among others. UK prisoners have the choice of volunteering for this treatment.
The new laws also allow judges to award death sentences to pedophiles or tag them electronically. A 10-year minimum sentence for child sex crimes has been applied too, according to the new laws, BBC reported.
The punishments follow a number of high profile cases of child sexual abuse in the country.
That being said, these new laws were subject to a fierce debate in the parliament, with two opposing parties voting against castration. Human Rights groups have objected to these harsher punishments, putting forth their arguments that ‘violence cannot be stopped by violence’.
A request for the re-evaluation of these new laws has also been made by the National Commission for Women (NCW).
As reported by BBC, the NCW head, Azriana said in a statement:
“Other countries that have chemical castration have not seen a reduction in sexual crime against children. Also it’s a very expensive procedure and what we should be spending and investing our money in is services to support and help the victims.”
Amnesty International too is dead against the controversial punishment.
“The sexual abuse of children is indescribably horrific. But subjecting offenders to chemical castration or executions is not justice, it is adding one cruelty to another,” said Papang Hidayat, a researcher on Indonesia at the Amnesty International.
He further added that forced chemical castration is a violation of the prohibition on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment under international law.
The Indonesian Doctors Association are vehemently opposing the punishment as well. The association recently said in a statement that administering chemical castration would violate their professional ethics and hence, the Association’s members would not take part.