In the Indonesian city of Jember, Female high school students are being forced to have ‘virginity tests’ before they graduate  – although boys are exempt.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) activists however believed that the ongoing tolerance of the government on female virginity tests must end, as it violates the right to non-discriminatory treatment.

“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 Asia division deputy director Phelim Kine said in a press release.

“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 also stated that without Widodo’s intervention to stop such degrading practices, high school girls and their education in Jember would remain in peril.

The Jember administration has proposed that the virginity tests will be a requirement for graduation for female high school students in Jember, East Java.

The proposal, unveiled last week, aims to prevent female high school students from receiving their diplomas when proven to have engaged in premarital sex. The requirement however was not proposed for boys.

The World Health Organisation warned that the tests have no scientific validity and are based on misunderstandings of female anatomy. They also said that it is demeaning to women.

Meanwhile, Indonesia has once admitted to using the controversial ‘two-finger’ tests since 1965 on female recruits wishing to join the National Police.

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