Wednesday. 21.02.2024

Indonesia's military has scrapped controversial virginity testing for female recruits, the army chief confirmed.

Army Chief of Staff Andika Perkasa said the purpose of the change was to improve the army's recruitment system.

The virginity testing included an invasive two-finger examination to determine whether female applicants' hymens are intact.

"Now there is no longer such examinations," Andika said in remarks posted on YouTube late Tuesday.

It was not clear if Indonesia's navy and air force have also scrapped the policy.

Andika said last month that tests for women who wished to join the armed forces should be the same as those for their male counterparts.

He said virginity testing was "irrelevant to the purpose of recruitment and must not be administered."

Previously, female applicants were required to take what the military called gynaecological tests which included an invasive hymen inspection.

'Detect diseases'

The military said the tests were intended to detect diseases such as cervical cancer, and those judged to have lost their virginity by accident could still pass.

Andika said they will now only be subjected to non-invasive "external examinations". He did not elaborate.

Rights activists had welcomed the comments, saying the testing was a form of violence against women.

Human Rights Watch calls the practice abusive, unscientific and discriminatory, while the World Health Organization (WHO) says it has "no scientific merit or clinical indication."

Indonesia's national police force ended the practice in 2015.

Indonesian military scraps virginity tests, army chief confirms