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Top Indonesian official urges castration of child sex abusers

Priest says punishment violates 'human dignity'

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Top Indonesian official urges castration of child sex abusers

An Indonesian child rights official is calling for castration as compulsory punishment for pedophiles and child sex abusers.

Arist Merdeka Sirait, chairman of the National Commission for the Protection of Children, is calling for the use of castration following a series of sexual abuse cases against children.

"We stress the need for a punishment that really gives a deterrent effect to pedophiles. Castration is the right one," Arist Merdeka Sirait said on Tuesday.

Sirait advocates both surgical castration, which removes testicles to reduce libido, and chemical castration, which injects a substance to reduce libido.

"We want legislators to put castration into law," he told ucanews.com.

However, Fr Peter C Aman, professor of moral theology at Driyarkara School of Philosophy in Jakarta, said castration was a human rights violation. Additionally, there was no proof castration would serve as a deterrent to child sex abuse, he said.

"Castration is absolutely a humiliation against human dignity. It is revenge instead of punishment. Castration doesn't have educative and restorative aspects at all. Instead, this is a new crime," Fr Aman told ucanews.com.

He suggested that the government should instead implement a massive educational effort to educate people on the rights of children.

Sirait had earlier called for longer prison sentences for child sex abusers. Current guidelines call for sentences of three to 15 years for those convicted of abusing children.

"The minimum punishment [should be] 20 years in prison and the maximum sentence castration. Castration must be given to pedophiles with many victims," he said.

Eva Kusuma Sundari, a member of the House of Representatives, said she supported chemical castration as a more "humane" form of punishment.

"Pedophiles are sick people, they can't control their libido. That's why chemical castration is needed," she told ucanews.com.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on May 9 announced an initiative to combat child sexual abuse, which included a review of the existing law.

"[We] realize that the existing law and regulation needs to be strengthened and reviewed and made perfect as well. Therefore, when it is implemented, it will create a preventive effect and is also effective and gives punishment, which is not lenient, to perpetrators," he said.

"I hope, together with legislators, it can be done as soon as possible because the existence of such a law is an urgent need," he said.  

In early May, a 24 year-old factory worker was arrested in West Java for allegedly sodomizing more than 100 children.

In April, five suspects who worked at the Jakarta International School were arrested and charged with molesting a six-year-old student.

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