After a wave of outrage over several violent crimes, including the gang-rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl, swept Indonesia, Joko Widodo, the nation’s president, has announced harsher punishments for child rapists, including chemical castration and the death penalty. The new punishments were “intended to overcome the crisis caused by sexual violence against children”, Widodo said. He added, “An extraordinary crime deserves an exceptional response.” He issued the regulation by emergency presidential decree, meaning it will go in effect immediately but could be overturned by Parliament. The maximum punishment for rape (of an adult or child) until this measure had been set at 14 years. Several human rights activists denounced the new legislation, however. “Violence will not be stopped by violent punishments,” Sandra Moniaga, of the National Commission on Human Rights, wrote on Twitter. Mariana Aminudi from the National Commission on Violence Against Women took issue with the chemical castration, writing that it shows that the government “does not view sexual assaults as act of violence but merely as a matter of controlling sexual urges.”
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