Indonesia: Halt chemical castration

Indonesia’s authorities must immediately repeal provisions that allow sex offenders to be punished by forced chemical castration and even the death penalty, Amnesty International said today.

“The sexual abuse of children is indescribably horrific. But subjecting offenders to chemical castration or executions is not justice, it is adding one cruelty to another,” said Papang Hidayat, Amnesty International’s Researcher on Indonesia.

Chemical castration is a drug or hormone treatment to suppress sex drive. Imposing it by law without informed consent as a punitive measure would be a cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.

“Forced chemical castration is a violation of the prohibition on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment under international law,” said Papang Hidayat.

“The expansion of the scope of the death penalty is inconsistent with  Indonesia’s international obligations which protects the right to life. Further given the serious flaws in Indonesia’s justice system the risk of executing the innocent can never be eliminated.”

The Indonesian Doctors Association (IDI) has said they will refuse to implement the castration punishment as it violates their medical ethics.

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all circumstances, regardless of the method of execution or the crime for which it is imposed, and believes that there is no credible evidence that the death penalty has a unique deterrent effect.


Government Regulation in Lieu of Law (Perppu) No.1/2016 which amended Law No. 23/2002 on the Protection of Children was ratified yesterday in the House of Representatives. The Government Regulation was issued in May by President Joko Widodo following several high-profile cases of rape of children and subsequent calls by politicians for harsher punishments for those who commit sexual offences against children.

Article 81 of the revised law imposes forced chemical castration as an additional punishment for “anyone who commits violence or threatens violence to force a child – person below 18 years – to have intercourse with him or with another person that causes: more than one victim, serious injury, mental disorder, infectious diseases, the loss or malfunction of the reproductive organs and/or death of the victim”.

According to the revised law chemical castration will be carried out against the offender for a period of up to two years after the convict has undergone his prison term. Offenders below the age of 18 are not subject to this punishment.

Forced chemical castration violates the international law prohibition on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment which is set out in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), to which Indonesia is a state party.