Indonesia military called to end virginity tests for female recruits
JAKARTA, Aug 8 (dpa): The Indonesian military has faced renewed calls to end virginity tests for female applicants after its chief army indicated last month that the practice should be abolished.
Army chief of staff General Andika Perkasa said on July 18 that tests for women who wished to join the armed forces should be the same as those for their male counterparts.
His statement was welcomed by Human Rights Watch, which calls the virginity test abusive, unscientific, and discriminatory.
“That’s good and it should have ended 50 years ago,” said Human Rights Watch Indonesia researcher Andreas Harsono.
“The Air Force and the Navy should follow suit if they want to be a civilized organization,” he said, adding that the police ended the practice in 2015.
Army chief Andika said last month “health tests that are irrelevant to the purpose of recruitment should be abolished.”
But Indonesian Armed Forces spokesman Djawara Whimbo said female reproductive health tests which include a hymen examination was still part of the requirements to join the military.
The requirement also extends to the fiancees of military personnel, he said.
“The rule hasn’t changed,” Whimbo said.
“Men and women are different and some women are prone to cervical cancer,” he said, declining to provide further details.
Human Rights Watch said the virginity testing includes the invasive “two-finger test” to determine whether female applicants’ hymens are intact. – dpa