Amnesty International applauds Indonesian army vow to end virginity tests

Jakarta, Aug 6 (EFE).- The controversial virginity tests required of women who want to enter the Indonesian Army could come to an end, after the chief of General Staff questioned the practice, which humanitarian organizations welcomed Friday.

Amnesty International said they applauded this declaration of intent, adding that it must be formalized in written law and warned of the difficulty of ensuring its compliance throughout the country.

“We salute the good faith of the army to eliminate the practice of virginity tests that violate the human rights of future soldiers. Of course, we hope that this will be formalized in a written document and the army also has to ensure that it is implemented throughout Indonesia,” Wirya Adiwena, Amnesty’s deputy director in the country, told EFE.

The test, denounced for years by human rights groups, is known as the “two-finger test,” in reference to the vaginal examination performed by doctors during the health check to check if the hymen is intact.

This longtime denouncement by feminist and humanitarian groups became apparent on Jul. 18 when Indonesian Chief of Staff Gen. Andika Perkasa, said in a videoconference with other military personnel that this practice will no longer be carried out. He added that women should be selected under the same criteria as men.

“The objective is health. There are no more inspections outside of this goal. (…) There are irrelevant things, not related to this. And it will not be verified further. That is what is relevant about this change. We must be consistent. They have to select women in the same way as men, based on their ability to achieve basic military training,” he said.

“There are things that no longer have to be done. They are not necessary,” the general said at the conference.

The statements, however, have not yet been translated into an official norm nor have they been echoed by the police, where this practice is also common during the selection of female agents, according to a report by the Human Rights Watch organization in 2017.

The organization then asked the country’s President Joko Widodo to intervene to abolish the practice, since it violates Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Article 16 of the Convention against Torture, both signed by the country.

The international organization has also documented cases of virginity tests in the security forces of other countries such as Egypt, India or Afghanistan. EFE


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