Nafsiah Mboi
Health minister Nafsiah Mboi proposed the punishment as the number of child molesters is on the rise. Getty Images

Government ministers and child protection groups are calling for Indonesia to adopt chemical castration to prevent paedophilia, which is perceived to be relatively lightly punished in the country, news agency Anatra News reported.

The proposal came during a meeting in which the government outlined 40 planned measures for a national movement against child abuse.

Health minister Nafsiah Mboi said the number of child molesters is on the rise and proposed the chemical castration as a way of keeping their unwanted libidos in check.

"There are male and female hormones. The libido can be reduced by taking certain drugs," the minister said.

He added that several countries, such as Turkey, China, and others in Asia, as well as Poland, Moldova and others in Europe, have already implemented the castration policy.

South Korea became the first Asian country to permit chemical castration in 2011.

National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas) chairman Arist Merdeka Sirait said: "The current law on child protection carries a relatively light punishment with a maximum sentence of only 15 years in jail.

"In several cases, the perpetrators have even been released, and this has made us very concerned over the condition of child protection in our country.

"Due to leniency in law, Indonesia has become a haven for paedophiles," he pointed out.

Seto Mulyadi, a children's rights activist, also called for chemical castration to sanction sexual predators.

"I think a number of countries have applied the castration sanction. It could prevent them from committing similar crimes repeatedly and deter other predators."

Responding to the proposals, President Susilo Yudhoyono added that therapy for the victims should also be a priority.

Yudhoyono has held a series of cabinet meetings this month to discuss tougher measures to protect children, after a spate of child sex crimes, AFP said.

The Indonesian police said there were 102 child sex crime reports so far this year, compared to 980 in all of 2013. However most incidents go unreported in the country.

Several NGOs have condemned the use of chemical castration as a punishment for sexual abuse, however.

Amnesty International defined the procedure as an "inhuman treatment".

"Any crime shall be punished in a way that abides by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the rights group said.