Indonesia has enacted a new law that would permit child sex offenders to be chemically castrated to prevent further abuse. The process, which entails injecting criminals with substances that lowers testosterone levels and therefore reduces sex drive, was brought in President Joko Widodo in December 2020 and has proved incredibly controversial.
- Chemical castration won’t always be applied. While this ruling doesn’t mean that all child sex offenders will automatically be chemically castrated, it does mean that prosecutors and experts can recommend it during sentencing for existing charges. In other words, it will be applied on a case by case basis.
- The policy is meant to be a “deterrent” to child sex offenders. According to a statement made by Indonesia’s Ministry of Women Empowerment and Child Protection to Vice World News, the government hopes allowing chemical castration to be included in charges against criminals would deter them from committing these heinous acts to begin with, though it’s unclear if this will be the case.
- It was first suggested back in 2016. The idea of allowing these offenders to be chemically castrated was first presented back in 2016 after a notorious child rape case shocked and horrified the nation. However, it was only last month, nearly four years later, that it was signed into law. The new law specifies that a criminal can be chemically castrated for up to two years per offense.
- Amnesty International is protesting the decision. The organization is calling for a halt on the decision to give time for an urgent review on the policy to be done. “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, Amnesty International’s Researcher on Indonesia. “Forced chemical castration is a violation of the prohibition on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment under international law. The expansion of the scope of the death penalty is inconsistent with Indonesia’s international obligations which protects the right to life. Further given the serious flaws in Indonesia’s justice system the risk of executing the innocent can never be eliminated!”
- The National Commission on Violence Against Women is also against the decision. “The government will not reach its target with castration, because sexual violence against children happens due to imbalanced power relations (between culprit and victim) or the culprits’ perception toward victims,” said Commissioner Siti Aminah Tardi. “Controlling [culprits’] sexual hormones will not end sexual violence.”