Rights groups criticise Indonesia over chemical castration for child sex offenders

Human rights advocates has decried an emergency decree signed by Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo allowing for chemical castration for child sex offenders, saying that the punishment amounts to torture.

On Wednesday, Jokowi signed a government regulation in lieu of law, or Perppu, that stipulates child sex offenders who cause their victims to suffer serious injuries, mental disorders, infectious diseases, the loss or malfunction of the reproductive organs and/or death to have additional, tougher punishment, which includes forced chemical castration.

The Perppu would be an amendment to the 2002 Child Protection Law, which punished child sex offenders by up to 15 years in prison and a maximum fine of  300 million rupiah. According to the new regulation, chemical castration will be carried out against an offender for a period of up to two years after the convict has undergone a prison term.

Offenders below the age of 18 are not subject to this punishment.

“We don’t agree [with the punishment]. It’s contrary to the anti-torture convention that Indonesia ratified in 1998,” a commissioner from the National Commission on Violence against Women (Komnas Perempuan), Mascruchah told The Parrot, referring to the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Amnesty International (AI) has also voiced opposition to the punishment, arguing that it violates the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Indonesia is a party.

AI urged the government to immediately repeal the amendments, which were made following several high-profile cases of child rape and calls by politicians and child rights advocates for harsher punishments for those who commit sexual offences against children.

Vice President Jusuf Kalla called on those who opposed the punishment to look at the rape victims’ rights that the perpetrators violated.

“Those who rape anyone, especially children, violate human rights,” Kalla was quoted as saying by state news agency Antara on Friday.

The government announced in October that it would set the punishment on convicted sexual predators on children.

The National Commission on Child Protection (Komnas Anak) had backed such a decree since then, saying that Indonesia is in a state of emergency with regard to child sex abuse.

The Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) data showed that the number of child abuse cases significantly jumped from 2,178 cases in 2011 to 5,066 cases in 2014.

 

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