The UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has condemned a recently signed law in Nigeria’s Kaduna state that introduced tough penalties for convicted rapists.
The law says males convicted of raping a child under the age of 14 should be surgically castrated and given the death penalty.
Female adults convicted of raping a child will face salpingectomy (removal of fallopian tubes) and death.
Ms Bachelet said evidence had shown that the certainty of punishment deters crime, rather than its severity.
“Penalties like surgical castration and bilateral salpingectomy will not resolve any of the barriers to accessing justice, nor will it serve a preventive role,” she said in a statement.
“Surgical castration and salpingectomy violate the absolute prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment under international human rights law,” she added.
Recent months have seen a growing public outcry over low conviction rates for sexual assaults across Nigeria. Kaduna is the only state in Nigeria with such legal provisions on rape.