The National Police have admitted that there is a practice of testing the virginity of women who apply to be police officers.
National Police law division head Inspector General Moechgiyarto said on Wednesday that the practice had been going on for a long time.
"The rule [for the test] has existed for quite a long time. We need to check the quality of a candidate through the procedure [virginity screening]," he told reporters on the sideline of a discussion at the Jentera School of Law (IJSL) in Kuningan, South Jakarta.
Moechgiyarto said the screening was needed to assess the morality of the candidates.
"If she [a candidate] turned out to be a prostitute, then how could we accept her?" he said.
Moechgiyarto added that he believed the practice did not violate any human rights and did not discriminate against women.
Human Rights Watch (HRW), a New York-based rights group, said in a recent research report that female applicants for the National Police were subjected to "virginity tests" it deemed discriminatory and degrading.
Citing its documented research on the subject, the HRW said applicants who "failed" were not necessarily expelled from the force, but all of the women described the test as painful and traumatic.
The 'virginity tests' are conducted under the National Police Chief Regulation No.5/2009 on Health Examination Guidelines for Police Candidates. "The examination has included a discredited and degrading 'two-finger test' to determine whether the female applicants' hymens are intact," said HRW.
The finding was revealed during interviews with female police and police applicants in six Indonesian cities -- Bandung, Jakarta, Makassar, Medan, Padang and Pekanbaru -- who had undergone the test, two of them in 2014.
"The Indonesian National Police's use of 'virginity tests' is a discriminatory practice that harms and humiliates women," said HRW associate women's rights director Nisha Varia.