Indonesia: Government authorises chemical castration of convicted pedophiles

Punishments including death sentence are also recommended in the new regulation.

Indonesia to approve chemical castration of pedophiles
Childrens carry banners at an anti-paedophile protest outside South Jakarta court during the verdict of Australian Peter William Smith February 26, 2007. The court on Monday jailed Smith for 10 years for sexually abusing street children Reuters

The Indonesian government has approved a set of laws that authorises chemical castration of convicted pedophiles. The country adopted the law that also offers additional punishments like harsher prison terms and the introduction of tracking chips to help protect minors against predators.

Earlier this year President Joko Widodo proposed changes to the existing law dealing with pedophiles and gave the go-ahead to consider chemical castration as one of the punishments.

Punishments including death sentence were also recommended in the new regulation which termed pedophilia as "an extraordinary crime.

The harsh punishment was faced with strong objection from the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS). There are better ways to ensure children's safety from sexual predators such as better monitoring and witness protection, Supriyadi Eddyono of the Institute for Criminal Justice Reform, had said.

At the other side of the spectrum, child rights activists demanded capital punishment for pedophiles.

In the end, as many as ten other parties in the government supported the adoption of the new law. The tough move comes on the back of a series of revolting child sex abuse cases in recent years involving serial pedophiles.

There were as many as 16,000 reported cases of violence against children since 2012, and half of these were sexual abuse cases.

According to the National Commission for Child Protection (Komnas PA), there were 3,726 sexual crimes against children in 2015, which was higher than the 3,326 cases reported in the previous year.

Rights activists have condemned the move saying castration of offenders does not address the root cause of the crime.

According to a Jakarta Globe report earlier this year, chemical castration has been approved in some of US states and in countries including South Korea, Moldova, Russia and Estonia.

With the passage of the new law, Indonesian judges can award sex offenders punishment ranging from a 10-year minimum sentence to death sentences for convicted pedophiles.