Virginity tests constitute 'rights violation'

Virginity tests constitute 'rights violation'
Human Rights Watch on November 18, 2014 urged Indonesia's national police to halt "discriminatory" virginity tests for women applying to join the force in the world's most populous Muslim-majority country.

So-called virginity tests imposed on female applicants to the National Police are discriminatory and degrading, a New York-based human rights advocacy group has said.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Tuesday that based on its documented research, applicants who "failed" the tests were not necessarily expelled from the force, but all of the women interviewed described the test as painful and traumatic. The finding was revealed during interviews with female police and police applicants in six Indonesian cities who had undergone the test, two of them in 2014.

The HRW said policewomen had raised the issue with senior police officials, who had at times claimed the practice had been discontinued. The test is listed as a requirement for female applicants on the official police recruitment website, however, and HRW interviews suggest that it is still being widely applied.

"The Indonesian National Police's use of 'virginity tests' is a discriminatory practice that harms and humiliates women," HRW associate women's rights director Nisha Varia said in a release made available to The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.

"Police authorities in Jakarta need to immediately and unequivocally abolish the test and then make certain that all police recruiting stations nationwide stop administering it," she went on.

The tests have been said to contravene National Police principles that recruitment must be both "non-discriminatory" and "humane" and to violate international human rights of equality, non-discrimination and privacy.

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