The Jakarta Post
The Indonesian 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 has 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 deputy Asia 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 the virginity test proposed by the Jember administration as a requirement for graduation among female high school students in Jember, East Java.
The proposal, which was unveiled last week, aims to bar female high school students who have engaged in premarital sex from receiving the high school diploma they have earned. Such a requirement is not proposed for boys.
Kine said without President Jokowi's intervention to stop such cruel and degrading practices, high school girls and their education in Jember would remain in peril.
HRW noted the Jember administration's initiative was appalling, but not surprising, as the National Police had imposed these abusive and degrading tests on thousands of female applicants since as early as 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 long been obligatory for female military recruits as well.
Earlier, in August 2013, the Prabumulih administration's education agency chief, HM Rasyid, reportedly sought to impose mandatory virginity tests on female high school students to address the perceived problem of 'premarital sex and prostitution' in the South Sumatran city.
'There is no place for virginity testing. It has no scientific validity,' the WHO said in a statement in November 2014.
'The Indonesian government can't feign ignorance about the abusive nature of such 'tests'. They have been recognized internationally as violations of the right to non-discrimination and the prohibition against 'cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment' under international human rights treaties Indonesia has ratified,' said Kine. (ebf)(++++)
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