Castrating rapists a ‘barbaric act’, say human rights groups


Source: FMT News

PETALING JAYA: Human rights groups are opposed to a proposal that rapists be castrated as a form of punishment, urging authorities not to resort to such “violent” measures.

The proposal in question was discussed a meeting involving the Sarawak state government yesterday.

Citizen Action Group on Enforced Disappearance (CAGED) spokesperson Thomas Fann said criminal justice is a federal matter and not for any one state to discuss or decide on.

“Any irreversible procedure like castration, amputation or the death penalty should not be considered, given that no human justice system is perfect and infallible,” Fann said to FMT.

Adding that “punishment alone won’t stop such crimes”, he said it was more important to understand why sexual crimes are committed and what mechanisms can be used to ensure that victims can safely report their situations.

Amnesty International Malaysia (AIM) executive director Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu said even though sexual crimes are heinous, imposing castration by law either physically or chemically without informed consent as a punitive measure would be cruel, inhuman and degrading.

“We urge the Sarawak state government to reject this proposal as it is a violation of human rights.

“We hope that the Sarawak government will review a more effective and humane punishment for these offenders under the Penal Code that upholds justice and fairness,” she said.

Tenaganita director Aegile Fernandez meanwhile said the castration of rapists was wrong and questioned the need for such “a barbaric act” on a human being.

She said castration was a violent measure that does not change the systems which foster the rape culture.

Instead, the rape culture should be tackled by teaching people to show respect for women and children, she said.

“Rape and incest have been there, and the rate of it keeps growing tremendously. What have we really together done to curb it?

“We do not have an environment where a victim can come forth to file a report and seek support without being judged and facing shame.

“The state should undertake a massive campaign of awareness and education on rape and incest for the public at large,” she told FMT.

The proposal was reportedly made as part of efforts to combat the rising sexual crimes in the state, especially cases involving incest.

Sarawak Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women and Family Development Minister Fatimah Abdullah said the proposal would require amendments to the Penal Code which currently does not provide castration as a form of penalty against such offenders.

She expressed regret over the rise in incest cases reported this year, saying this could be due to unwillingness on the part of the victims or other family members to lodge reports with the police.

In July, five individuals were charged with raping a 12-year-old girl. They were the girl’s 72-year-old grandfather, father, and three cousins.

The girl’s 40-year-old father was charged with four counts of rape while her grandfather faced six counts for the offence.

The three cousins, aged 16, 17 and 21, were charged with raping the victim on five, three and four occasions respectively.

In August, meanwhile, two teenage sisters, aged 19 and 14, said they had been raped by their father, grandfather and two uncles over the last six years.

The case came to light when the elder sister became pregnant and the Serian Hospital informed the police of the pregnancy.

Just last week, two men in Sibu were remanded for eight days to facilitate investigations following reports that they had allegedly raped a seven-year-old girl who was a close family member repeatedly since August last year.

Another man from Sarikei was remanded for five days to facilitate investigations into alleged incest involving his 15-year-old daughter.