Virginity tests must end, says rights group in Indonesia

Virginity tests must end, says rights group in Indonesia

The government's ongoing tolerance of female virginity tests must end, as the tests violate the right to non-discriminatory treatment, a Human Rights Watch (HRW) activist said.

"President Joko [Jokowi] Widodo should send a loud and unambiguous message forbidding virginity tests by local governments, as well as the Indonesian Military, police and civil service," HRW Asia division deputy director Phelim Kine said in a press release made available to The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.

"The authorities should back that up by firing and appropriately prosecuting officials who promote or perpetrate virginity tests to ensure that women are protected from such abuse," he added.

Kine made the comments in response to virginity tests proposed by the Jember administration as a requirement for graduation for female high school students in Jember, East Java.

The proposal, unveiled last week, aims to bar female high school students who have engaged in premarital sex from receiving the high school diplomas they have earned. Such a requirement is not proposed for boys.

Kine said without Jokowi's intervention to stop such cruel and degrading practices, high school girls and their education in Jember would remain in peril.

HRW noted that the Jember administration's initiative was appalling but unsurprising, as the National Police had imposed such tests on thousands of female applicants since 1965, despite their contravention of the police's principles of "non-discriminatory" and "humane" recruitment.

On Nov. 19, 2014, Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Tedjo Edhi Purdijatno told reporters that such tests had also long been obligatory for female military recruits.

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