Pakistan passes chemical castration for rapists

Image copyright NAB Image caption Parliament was expected to pass the bill late on Thursday

Pakistan has passed a bill making chemical castration mandatory for convicted rapists, including minors.

The law has been six years in the making and was needed in Pakistan to implement a UN committee resolution calling for such a provision to be included.

Pakistan now joins 29 other countries that prescribe chemical castration.

Rape is rampant in Pakistan, with as many as 500,000 rapes each year according to a UN survey.

‘No room for tolerance’

Women and children make up most of those victims in a country where 4.4 million women – more than the population of Europe – have been raped during their lifetime.

The law first gained political ground after the deadly attack on the students of a university in Karachi in 2014, in which eight people were killed.

Leading politicians and human rights activists pushed for more urgent action on the issue, with the support of the country’s top court.

The House passed the Anti-Rape Bill 2018 by a 265-0 vote on Thursday, where the bill was introduced by the opposition Pakistan People’s Party.

“More than 500,000 rapes are committed in Pakistan every year. Six in 10 men are at fault and are sentenced to three years’ imprisonment,” senior PPP leader Farhatullah Babar said after the vote.

“The husbands of most rape victims commit suicide after raping their wives. They are still in the jails, but the judiciary is not releasing them. This is a huge tragedy,” he added.

Those convicted of gang rape and criminal gangs raping women and girls must forfeit half their pension benefits, which will be distributed among the victim’s family.

The bill already had the consent of President Mamnoon Hussain, who approved the proposal on Monday.

Critics have warned the law, which will only apply to those who rape for the first time, would be difficult to enforce.

Some also say it contradicts Pakistan’s traditional values, and questions why that would be so.

The use of drug-based castration is rare in the country. In July, parliamentary commission hearings were told that in Pakistan, only one person had undergone the so-called “Dexylothyphenylphenylenediamine”.

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