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Jakarta - Indonesia has made a step closer to allowing chemical castration as a punishment for child sex offenders, according to the country’s National Commission on Child Protection.

President Joko Widodo is set to issue a regulation in lieu of law which stipulates a harsher sanction for anyone who commits sexual violence against children, which will involve injecting a hormone to reduce libido and sexual activity, in an attempt to minimize the chances of re-offending.

“The president has agreed to include imposing chemical castration in the regulation in lieu of law which also stipulates sexual abuse against children as an extraordinary crime,” said Aris Merdeka Sirait, the commission’s head, in a statement on the Cabinet Secretary website.

Extraordinary crimes in Indonesia include drug abuse, corruption and terrorism.

Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, has witnessed a string of headline-grabbing cases of child sex assault in recent years with many of them involving serial pedophiles.

Malaysia and India recently announced that they also considered similar measures against repeat sexual offenders and convicted rapists, but South Korea was the first Asian country to permit the punishment in 2011.

Russia, Poland and some states in the US have long allowed such treatment.

Xinhua