Bangkok, Nov 20 (IANS/EFE) Indonesian National Police Thursday confirmed carrying out virginity tests on female recruits to prove their physical and moral strength, a test that Human Rights Watch (HRW) has branded as humiliating.
The director of the legal department of the national police, Inspector General Moechgiyarto said these tests were reserved exclusively for women, according to the rules of the authority, and were performed in hospitals operated by the police, the Jakarta Post reported.
“The procedure has been practised for a long time. We need to check the quality (of the candidates) by checking their virginity,” said Moechgiyarto during a press conference in Jakarta.
HRW Tuesday denounced the practice, commonly known as the “two finger test”, in a report based on interviews with agents, aspirants, police doctors and activists.
“The Indonesian National Police’s use of ‘virginity tests’ is a discriminatory practice that harms and humiliates women,” HRW’s associate women’s rights director Nisha Varia said in a report.
The regulation to recruit candidates involves a gynaecological examination but does not specify if it is a virginity test, although “suspending it” does not imply the expulsion of the process.
“Entering the virginity test examination room was really upsetting. I feared that after they performed the test, I would not be a virgin anymore. It really hurt. My friend even fainted,” a female police officer recounted.
HRW emphasised that these practices have been recognised as a human rights violation under the international treaties ratified by Indonesia.
Indonesian National Police plan to increase the number of women in the force to 21,000 by December, increasing the percentage of women in the law enforcing agency from 3 to 5.
Virginity tests are also conducted in other countries such as Egypt and Afghanistan, according to HRW.