The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) is urging Germany and the Czech Republic to abolish surgical castration of sex offenders as the practice might be in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights. The countries are the only two in Europe which still occasionally resort to such practices.
According to the German Government the procedure is not considered to be a punishment but a form of treatment as it provides “suffering tied to an abnormal sex drive…to be cured or at least alleviated”.
In one of its reports the CPT highlighted that although the practice was rare it gave rise to concerns. “Notwithstanding this, the CPT must express its fundamental objections to the use of surgical castration as a means of treatment of sexual offenders.
“Surgical castration is a mutilating, irreversible intervention and cannot be considered as a medical necessity in the context of the treatment of sexual offenders. In the CPT’s view, surgical castration of detained sexual offenders could easily be considered as amounting to degrading treatment.”
The German Government agreed to look into the issue but defended its position and insisted that the procedure helped where “illnesses connected to an abnormal sex drive must be treated, or in order to counter the risk of future unlawful offences being committed by sexual offenders and/or violent offenders, and to thus assist the person affected in managing his life in the future.
“As far as the federal government is aware, there are quite a number of scientific studies on the criminological long-term effects of surgical castration.”
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