Pakistan: Anti-Rape Law Signed – Chemical Castration and Register of Perpetrators

The President of Pakistan has signed a new measure on rape, which provides for stricter sentences and speeding up convictions.

More specifically, the decree provides for the creation of a national register for perpetrators of sexual crimes, the protection of the identity of the victims, while allowing the chemical castration of some of the perpetrators. At the same time, cases will be heard in special courts which will be able to decide within four months.

The decree comes after a public outcry against sexual violence sparked by the gang rape of a woman outside the city of Lahore. The perpetrators took the woman out of her car and sexually assaulted her in front of her two children. The city police chief hinted the next day that the victim was partly responsible for the incident.

His comments and the violent attack sparked a wave of protests across the country and forced the government to take action. Prime Minister Imran Khan and the cabinet approved the measures last month, and President Arif Alvi signed the decree on Tuesday. The government now has 120 days to bring him to parliament and officially become state law. Until then it will be in force.

Some, however, have criticized the decree, saying the penalties are too harsh. At the same time, they claim that the planned consultation was not followed.

Other countries where chemical castration is prescribed, testosterone-lowering drugs, are Indonesia, which passed a pedophile law in 2016, and Poland, which has made it mandatory for adults who rape children since 2009.

Awareness of sexual violence has been on the rise in Pakistan in recent years. In 2015, a woman was gang-raped in a remote village and video of the incident leaked on social media. Pakistan did not have laws to prevent the video from being released.

With information from BBC

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