Indonesia is moving forward with tougher penalties for convicted pedophiles, according to the department of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection.
The three regulation drafts follow a revision to Indonesia’s law on child protection, six months after the government proposed that it take effect. The gang rape and murder of a 14-year-old schoolgirl in April of this year spurred the government to organize the proposal.
The controversial law allows for heavier punishment for child sex offenders, including cruel and unusual penalties such as chemical castration for male offenders through female hormone injections and implanting violators with electronic tagging chips under the skin. Other consequences include state-sponsored rehabilitation, mandatory ten-year imprisonment and the death sentence.
Yohana Yembise, Minister of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection, explained on October 20 how two government regulations stipulate the procedures on additional sentencing. The government says it will address detailed aspects of the structure of additional penalties for child sex offenders in the archipelago.
The minister said her office is collaborating with other related ministries – including the health department, social department and the Law and Human Rights Ministry – in preparing rules and covering social rehabilitation for perpetrators.
Protests have emerged from human rights activists expressing concern about the penalties being inhumane, with the Indonesian Doctors Association criticizing the law as “emasculating,” and other doctors’ associations calling on its members to not participate in said procedures. Additionally, the National Commission for Women has proposed the yearly evaluation of the law to assess its necessity as a punishment.
Despite several protests, the government is defending the move. Officials believe it will help deter perpetrators and minimize, if not eliminate, what it has called a heinous crime. The House of Representatives expressed its agreement.
Yembise told reporters that her ministry is working seriously on the matter. The minister added that the administration hopes heavier penalties will achieve “the desired effect”. According to her, if and when the law takes effect, everyone will have to honour it, regardless of whether or not they agree with it.