Madagascar passes a law to castrate child rapists

Madagascar passes a law to castrate child rapists

Madagascar passed a law this week imposing surgical or chemical castration sentences on convicted rapists of minors, a measure described by Amnesty International as “cruel, inhumane and degrading.”

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The text was adopted by the National Assembly in early February and by the Senate on Wednesday and still needs to be validated by the Supreme Constitutional Court (HCC) before President Andry Rajoelina promulgates it.

According to the amendment consulted by AFP, the penalty of surgical castration is provided “against those who have committed rape against a child under ten years of age”.

But also “chemical or surgical” castration against rapists of children between the ages of ten and 13. And chemical for rapists of minors between 13 and 18 years old.

Amnesty International called on Antananarivo to “repeal” this text, affirming that chemical or surgical castration constitutes “cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment” and “will not solve” the problem of child rape.

This measure is also “incompatible with the Malagasy constitutional provisions against torture and ill-treatment as well as with regional and international human rights standards,” said the NGO.

Madagascar, a large island in the Indian Ocean, “is a sovereign country that has every right to change its laws in the public interest,” Justice Minister Landy Mbolatiana Randriamanantenasoa defended to AFP on Friday.

“Given the increase in rape, we had to act” to “contain” the phenomenon, she added, adding that 600 cases of rape of minors were recorded last year.

“The minimum sentence used to be five years” in prison. “We have added an additional penalty of castration,” which the judge will impose on top of that, she said.

Jessica Lolonirina Nivoșeno of the Women Break the Silence movement believes that there is a “rape culture” on the island, where many cases are “solved within the family and amicably” and that castration measures could prove that “chilling”.

However, Nciko wa Nciko, Madagascar advisor at Amnesty, regrets that this text, which poses an “ethical problem”, is “not victim-focused”.

“Castration causes serious and irreversible damage. And there can be cases where a person is found guilty and the judiciary overturns the verdict and “proves him innocent,” he further argues to AFP.