In a sweeping interview with the BBC’s Yalda Hakim, President Widodo – also known as Jokowi – discussed topics including the South China Sea, corruption, a recent tax amnesty and the government’s stance on homosexuality.
What specially caught the attention of many is the fact that Indonesia could actually “wipe out” pedophilia with its new policy of chemical castration.
He said Indonesia respected human rights but there would be “no compromise” when it came to punishing such sexual crimes.
Indonesia passed controversial laws earlier this month authorizing chemical castration for pedophiles.
The laws were subject to fierce debate in parliament.
“Our constitution respects human rights, but when it comes to sexual crimes there is no compromise,” President Widodo said.
“We are strong and we will be very firm. We will hand out the maximum penalty for sexual crimes.”
He added: “In my opinion… chemical castration, if we enforce it consistently, will reduce sex crimes and wipe them out over time.”