Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Indonesian public opinion is divided over a proposal to apply chemical castration on pedophiles.
Last week, Social Affairs Minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa made the suggestion as the best deterrent against sexual abuse of minors, an increasingly widespread social scourge.
After a meeting with the president, the minister said that "Joko Widodo also agrees with the idea. Castration reduces sexual desire and ensures that potential rapists can control themselves.”
The proposal, he added, came at a closed-door meeting between President Widodo and his cabinet, in which he insisted that special provisions had to be taken to protect children from sexual abuse.
The ministers made three suggestions. The first one is pre-marital sex education for couples, centred on morality and proper child education. The second entails ethics courses for couples to cut down on the number of divorce cases, which that can lead to children being abandoned. The third option is chemical castration, through the injection of oestrogen. All the ministers agreed on the third option.
President Widodo described the idea as "a turning point," adding that the government will soon prepare a law on the matter. The idea is backed by the attorney general and the governor of Jakarta.
However, not everyone agrees with the proposal. The National Women’s Commission (Komnas Perempuan) is against the resolution. For its president, Masruchah, “denying someone’s sexual desire is against human rights”.
According to Arist Merdeka Sirait, president of the Indonesian Children Protection Commission (Komisi Perlindungan Anak Indonesia, KPAI), as many as 21 million children are potentially at risk of sexual abuse. "At least 58 per cent have already been the target of violence."
Sirait cited four cases of abuse that occurred last month in Kediri, East Java. "In total, up to 29 children were sexually abused by adults."