JEMBER, INDONESIA: Female high school students wishing to graduate in the Indonesian city of Jember will have to undergo ‘virginity tests’ under new proposals.
Of course, boys are excluded from any such tests, which officials in the east Javan city want to introduce to prevent high school students from having sex before marriage.
Indonesia has a chequered past with so-called tests, admitting in 2013 that they were mandatory for female recruits wishing to join the military or police.
Human Rights Watch said the ‘tests’ had been recognised internationally as violations of the right to non-discrimination and the prohibition against “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment” under treaties ratified by Indonesia.
HRW deputy Asia director Phelim Kine said “President Joko Widodo should send a loud and unambiguous message forbidding virginity tests by local governments, as well as the Indonesian military, police and civil service.”
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. Until he does, high school girls and their education in Jember will remain in peril.
Last November the World Health Organisation said there was “no place for virginity (or ‘two-finger’) testing, it has no scientific validity”.