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MADAGASCAR: Rights Group Slam New Law Allowing Castration Of Convicted Child Rapists

Madagascar’s Parliament has passed a law allowing for chemical and, in some cases, surgical castration of those found guilty of the rape of a minor. 

The law has prompted criticism from international rights groups, but also found support from activists who say it’s an appropriate deterrent to curb a “rape culture.”

Madagascar parliament passed the law on Feb. 2 and was approved by the senate last week. It must now be ratified by the High Constitutional Court and signed into law by President Andry Rajoelina, whose government proposed the change.

Justice Minister Landy Randriamanantenasoa said it’s a necessary move because of an increase in child rape cases. In 2023, 600 cases of the rape of a minor were recorded, she said, and 133 already in January this year.

“Madagascar is a sovereign country which has the right to modify its laws in relation to circumstances and in the general interest of the people,” Randriamanantenasoa said. “The current penal code has not been enough to curb the perpetrators of these offenses.”

Surgical castration “will always be pronounced” for those guilty of raping a child under the age of 10, according to the law’s wording. Cases of rape against children between the ages of 10 and 13 will be punished by surgical or chemical castration. The rape of minors between ages 14 and 17 will be punished by chemical castration.

Offenders would also face sterner sentences of up to life in prison as well as castration.

Chemical castration is the use of drugs to block hormones and decrease sexual desire. It is generally reversible by stopping the drugs. Surgical castration is a permanent procedure.

Several countries and some U.S. states — including California and Florida — allow for chemical castration for some sex offenders.

This form of punishment is highly contentious.