UN High Commissioner condemns castration for rapists in Nigeria

The UN has condemned plans to castrate rapists and paedophiles in Nigeria and called the measures ‘draconian’.

The UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet criticised a recently signed law in Nigeria's Kaduna state that introduced tough penalties for convicted rapists.

In September, the governor of Nigeria’s Kaduna state signed a law saying men convicted of rape would be subjected to surgical castration. Female adults convicted of raping a child will face salpingectomy (removal of fallopian tubes) and death.

The measures followed public anger over a recent increase of rapes amid Covid-19 restrictions, which prompted the nation’s state governors to declare a state of emergency.

Ms Bachelet said evidence had shown that the certainty of punishment deters crime, rather than its severity.

In a statement Bachelet said:"Penalties like surgical castration and bilateral salpingectomy will not resolve any of the barriers to accessing justice, nor will it serve a preventive role."

Tempting as it may be to impose draconian punishments on those who carry out such monstrous acts, we must not allow ourselves to commit further violations,’ she said.

The governor of Nigeria’s Kaduna state Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai has signed a law saying men convicted of rape will face surgical castration.

Women’s groups have called for tougher action against rapists, including the death penalty.

There has been public outcry in recent months over low conviction rates for sexual assaults across Nigeria. Kaduna is the only state in Nigeria with such legal provisions on rape.