Do Indonesia's Abusive 'Virginity Tests' Hurt UN Peacekeeping Operations?
The Indonesian government is seeking âcreative waysâ to boost the number of women in the police and military so it can meet its objective of more female personnel for United Nations peacekeeping operations.
Hereâs an idea: Stop inflicting discriminatory âvirginity testsâ on female applicants to the Indonesian Armed Forces and National Police. The military and police have required such âtestsâ for decades and they are li kely a strong deterrent for women who justifiably feel that an invasive and degrading âtwo-finger testâ is too high a price to pay to serve their country.
Earlier this month, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi promised to address the shortage of female Indonesian UN peacekeepers. Women constitute only about 4 percent of Indonesian military personnel and just 7 percent of police personnel. There are only 81 female police and military personnel out of a total of 2,694 Indonesians deployed to nine separate UN peacekeeping operations around the globe.
The Indonesian National Police have inflicted âvirginity testsâ on female applicants since at least 1965. All branches of the Indonesian military have used âvirginity testsâ for decades and, in certain circumstances, also extended the requirement to the fiancÃ©es of military officers. Neither current Indonesian Armed Forces chief, Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto, nor National Police Chief Gen. Tito Karnavian have responded to Human Rights Watchâs repeated calls to ban the practice.
Virginity testing is a form of gender-based violence and is a widely discredited practice. In November 2014, the World Health Organization issued guidelines that stated, âThere is no place for virginity (or âtwo-fingerâ) testing; it has no scientific validity.â âVirginity testsâ have been recognized internationally as a violation of human rights, particularly the prohibition against âcruel, inhuman or degrading treatmentâ under article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and article 16 of the Convention against Torture, both of which Indonesia has ratified.
If the Indonesian government is serious about boosting the number of female peacekeepers in its ranks, Indonesian President Joko âJokowiâ Widodo should order Indonesiaâs police chief and armed forces commander to immediately ban âvirginity testsâ of female applicants.Source: Google News Indonesia | Netizen 24 Indonesia