Madagascar’s justice ministry has sparked controversy by passing a new bill proposing castration for child rapists, a measure drawing sharp criticism from Amnesty International for its perceived cruelty. The bill, allowing for chemical and surgical castration, was approved by the Senate following an earlier endorsement by the National Assembly.
Justice Minister Landy Mbolatiana Randriamanantenasoa defended the legislation, citing Madagascar’s sovereign right to adapt its legal framework amid a concerning surge in child rape cases, with 600 incidents involving minors reported last year. Previously, child rape carried a minimum sentence of five years imprisonment.
Under the new law, perpetrators convicted of raping children under 10 face surgical castration, while those against children aged 10 to 13 may undergo chemical or surgical castration and offenders of minors aged 13 to 18 face chemical castration.
Final enactment awaits approval from the High Constitutional Court before President Andry Rajoelina can sign it into law.
Amnesty International strongly opposes the bill, citing its inconsistency with Madagascar’s constitutional protections against torture and international human rights standards. However, supporters like Jessica Lolonirina Nivoseheno from the Women Break the Silence movement argue that castration could deter the island’s pervasive “rape culture.”
Critics, including Amnesty’s Madagascar adviser, Nciko wa Nciko, warn of irreversible harm and the potential for judicial errors that may unjustly punish innocent individuals.
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