The law, passed on February 2 and awaiting ratification by the High Constitutional Court and the signature of President Andry Rajoelina, proposes surgical castration for those found guilty of raping a child under the age of 10.Cases of rape against children aged between 10 and 13 will be punished by either surgical or chemical castration. Offenders found guilty of raping minors aged between 14 and 17 will face chemical castration, along with harsher sentences of up to life imprisonment.
Justice Minister Landy Mbolatiana Randriamanantenasoa argued that the measure was necessary due to the increasing number of child rape cases in the country. In 2023, 600 cases of child rape were recorded, with 133 cases reported in January this year.
While some activists in Madagascar support the law change, Amnesty International has criticized it as “inhuman and degrading treatment” that contradicts the country’s constitutional laws. Nciko wa Nciko, an advisor for Madagascar at Amnesty, emphasized the importance of focusing on protecting victims and raised concerns about potential reprisals against rape victims.
The use of surgical castration as a punishment is much less common globally, with some countries and states allowing for chemical castration in certain cases. The new law has sparked a broader discussion on the effectiveness and ethical implications of such measures in addressing sexual violence.