Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, Indonesian President, issued a regulation on Wednesday May 25 that provides tougher punishments for child rapists, including chemical castration and death penalty.President Widodo said the regulation was a response to the crisis caused by sexual violence against children.
“I have declared that sexual offences against children are an extraordinary crime, because they threaten and endanger the lives of children,” he said
“An extraordinary crime deserves an exceptional response. Therefore, this regulation imposes heavier punishments and additional measures for the perpetrators of the violence.”
Previously, the maximum sentence for rape, of either an adult or a child, was 14 years in jail. People jailed for sexual offences against children may also now be made to wear electronic monitoring devices after their release.
Demands for harsher punishments have increased following the gang rape and murder of a teenage girl by 14 men in western Indonesia last month.
14-year-old Yuyun (her family pictured above, holding her photo ) on her way home from school and the rape and brutal murder of a 18-year-old factory worker this month have sparked national outrage.
Yuyun went missing on April 2on her way back from school in the village of Kasiah Kasubun in Bengkulu province, in western Indonesia. Her body was found two days later by villagers, bruised and beaten and with her hands tied. Twelve suspects have been arrested, seven under 18 years of age.
In polls and on social media there is widespread support for tougher punishments including castration and the death penalty for perpetrators, particularly when children are the victims.
But a number of leading rights activists have voiced their dissent. Mariana Aminudi from the National Commission on Violence Against Women said on Twitter:
“The castration law is evidence that the government does not view sexual assaults as act of violence but merely as a matter of controlling sexual urges.”
While Sandra Moniaga from the National Commission on Human Rights wrote:
“Violence will not be stopped by violent punishments.”
Introduced by emergency presidential decree, the new rules are in effect immediately but could be overturned by parliament at a later date.
Social Affairs Minister Khfifah Indar Parawansa said on Tuesday that the regulation provides greater punishments for offenders as well as psychosocial therapy for victims and their families.