In Pakistan, a measure allowing serial rapists to be chemically castrated has been passed, as calls for action continue to mount in the wake of several high-profile rape and child sexual abuse cases.
The bill, which was enacted on November 17, also requests the government to set up special tribunals to speed up rape proceedings and ensure that sexual abuse cases be resolved “as quickly as possible, preferably within four months.”
President Arif Alvi will now sign the proposed legislation.
A medicine or hormone treatment that temporarily lowers sex drive is known as chemical castration.
Following nationwide demonstrations sparked by the gang rape of a lady in front of her children on one of the country’s major highways in September 2020, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that his administration was creating a draft bill that would include exemplary punishment for sex offenders.
Two men were sentenced to death in the case earlier this year, reigniting discussion over how to deal with the hundreds of recorded cases of rape and child sexual abuse in the Muslim country of 220 million people — as well as the countless unreported cases.
According to War Against Rape, a nongovernmental organization located in Karachi, only about 3% of sexual assault and rape cases result in a conviction.
Reforms in Pakistan’s police and judiciary, as well as increased awareness campaigns for parents, children, and communities, have been advocated by human rights activists as the greatest strategy to combating and preventing sexual abuse.
Chemical castration without consent, according to Amnesty International, is a “cruel and inhuman” punishment.
“Instead of trying to deflect attention, the [Pakistani] authorities should focus on the crucial work of reforms that will address the root causes of sexual violence and give survivors the justice they deserve,” the London-based human rights watchdog said in a statement.
Chemical castration is a legal form of punishment for sex crimes in countries including Russia, the Czech Republic, and South Korea, as well as in some U.S. states.