An Indonesian official plans to make female high school students in Jember City undergo mandatory virginity tests to graduate.
The proposal was described as “an accurate way to protect children from prostitution and free sex,” The Independent UK has reported.
If approved, the test would require senior high school female students, aged 16 to 19, to have their hymen examined every year until graduation. Of course, boys are excluded from any such tests.
The proposal seems to be in response to increasing cases of premarital sex, local website Kompas reported. It is another plan of its kind in Indonesia. Similar drafts were proposed in West Java in 2007, in Sumatra in 2010, and in the whole country in 2013, but dropped after a public outcry.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch said the ‘virginity tests’ had been recognized internationally as violations of the right to non-discrimination and the prohibition against “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment” under treaties ratified by Indonesia.
Deputy Asia director Phelim Kine of Human Rights Watch 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.