Pakistan Passes Anti-Rape Bill Allowing Chemical Castration

Story Highlights
  • Pak passes law allowing chemical castration of habitual rapists.
  • Chemical castration is a legal form of punishment in countries including South Korea, Poland.
  • Those found guilty of gang rape will be sentenced to death or life in prison.

Pakistan: After lawmakers passed new anti-rape legislation on Wednesday, sex offenders convicted of multiple rapes could face chemical castration in Pakistan. The legislation aims to speed up convictions and impose harsher sentences. It comes in the wake of widespread public outrage over a recent spike in rapes against women and children in the country, as well as increased demands for justice for sexual assault victims. According to the bill, Pakistan’s government must establish special courts across the country to speed up rape proceedings and ensure that sexual abuse cases are resolved “as quickly as possible, preferably within 4 months.”

Those convicted of gang rape will face the death penalty or life in prison. The use of medications to diminish libido or sexual activity is known as chemical castration. In nations like South Korea, Poland, the Czech Republic, and some US states, it is a legal form of punishment. When the bill was announced last December, Amnesty International called chemical castration a “cruel and inhuman” punishment. “Rather than attempting to divert attention, authorities should concentrate on the critical job of reforms that will address the core causes of sexual assault and provide survivors with the justice they deserve,” Amnesty International stated.

According to the Karachi-based non-profit War against Rape, only about 3% of sexual assault or rape cases in Pakistan result in a conviction. Virginity tests on sexual assault survivors were abolished in Pakistan’s most populous state, Punjab, in a landmark judgment in January. Virginity tests, which involve checking the hymen or putting two fingers into the vagina, are intrusive procedures performed in the hopes of determining whether a woman is a virgin.

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