Indonesia's parliament on Wednesday passed into law a presidential decree that authorises chemical castration, life in prison and the death penalty for paedophiles.
Reacting to the new law on pedophiles, Mgr Pius Riana Prabdi, bishop
of Ketapang (West Kalimantan) said that the problem of sexual violence
"is not situated in the organs of the guilty but in the quality of his
person, in his maturity. For this reason, chemical castration will not
bring the desired effect”.
For the prelate, who chairs the Episcopal Youth Ministry Commission,
this measure contravenes society’s moral duty to "educate people
holistically and lift them in accordance with family values and
“It is my personal opinion that the nation has failed in this
matter,” the prelate added. “Curbing a person's sexual function means
dehumanising them.” This “affects the personality of these individuals,
who are created in the image and likeness of God."
Quoting from Saint Paul, the bishop of Ketapang asked, “Do you not
know that your body is a temple* of the holy Spirit within you, whom you
have from God, and that you are not your own?” (1 Cor 6:19).
This means that “our sexuality is precious,” Mgr Prabdi explained.
“Through it the human person is able to increase his dignity by
participating in God’s creation."
Proposed in 2015, the new piece of legislation modifies Law No. 23 of
2002 on child protection. President Joko Widodo is strongly in favour,
describing it as "a breakthrough".
The new law follows a series of violent incidents in the country. It
entails making public the names of predators. Upon release from prison,
the latter must wear an electronic device to follow their movements.
Not everyone approves though.
The Indonesian Medical Association (Ikatan Dokter Indonesia,
IDI) has doubts about the effectiveness of chemical castration and
deems it contrary to the Hippocratic oath. Many doctors refuse to
Several human rights groups
define the measure legalised revenge against pedophiles that will not
deal with the underlying factors that lead to sexual violence.
According to Fr Paulus Christian Siswantoko, secretary of the
Episcopal Commission for the care of migrants, the law will only divide
"I think that the measure will never be implemented at all, because
doctors will refuse to do it ". Approving controversial laws and of
dubious effectiveness, he added, "is very dangerous."