Indonesia Approves Death, Castration For Child Rapists

| by Katie Landoll
Indonesian President Joko Widodo making a statement about the new law. Joko Widodo / TwitterIndonesian President Joko Widodo making a statement about the new law. Joko Widodo / Twitter

President Joko Widodo of Indonesia issued a decree May 25 authorizing new punishments for those convicted of sex crimes against children.

Sex offenders now face higher potential jail sentences as well as the possibility of execution or chemical castration, reports CNN. The law also requires sex offenders on parole to wear electronic monitoring devices.

“We hope that this law will be a deterrent for offenders and can suppress sexual crimes against children,” Widodo said in a statement.

Chemical castration, only legal in a handful of countries and a few U.S. states, is the use of drugs to reduce or eliminate sex drive in an individual.

Some, however, are skeptical of this punishment. Heather Barr, a women’s rights senior researcher with Human Rights Watch, told The New York Times that chemical castration does not address the root of the problem, and that such medical solutions “should be used, if at all, only as part of a skilled treatment program, not as a punishment.”

The decree will go into effect immediately, but is still subject to revision by the Indonesian parliament.

The decree comes just weeks after a high-profile child rape case that brought international attention to sexual violence in Indonesia.

A 14-year-old student, referred to as Yuyun, was found dead April 4, having been gang-raped and murdered two days earlier, says Time.

Twelve male suspects were arrested, including the girl’s ex-boyfriend and two of her classmates. Half of the suspects were minors.

Seven of the suspects were later convicted. Each of them received a sentence of 10 years in prison, according to The New York Times.

The sentences provoked outrage from women’s groups and sexual violence advocates, who demanded changes to the sentencing guidelines for sexual violence.

The National Commission on Violence Against Women says that an average of 35 instances of sexual violence against women are committed in Indonesia each day, most of them by family members or partners.

Sources: The New York Times, CNNTime / Photo credit: Joko Widodo/Twitter

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