Afghan women and girls accused of so-called moral crimes are frequently forced to undergo virginity test. Advocates from Afghanistan’s human rights commission demanded an end to the invasive and degrading practice.
Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights commission prepared report based on the interview with 53 Afghan women detainees across 12 provinces in the country. The report stated that 48 Afghan women out of 53 had undergone virginity test. This includes girls as young as 13 years of age. Although, the procedure is regarded as scientifically invalid, the government still pursue it. And it is conducted in the presence of many people. The manner of the procedure is tantamount to rape or physical abuse, reported The New York Times.
“Since gynecological tests are conducted without consent of the victim, it can be considered sexual harassment and human rights violation,” the commission concluded. The commission noted that the test not only violates the spirit of Afghan constitution but also international principles.
A spokesperson for President Ashraf Ghani said that the reports of the practice “deeply saddened” the President and he asked for a full review on the matter. Sayed Zafar Hashemi, the spokesman for Ghani said, “The president expects the reformist chief justice to abolish the practice.”
According to Huffington Post improving the life and rights of Afghan women is a huge challenge in the country. The test is conducted to verify whether the women are sexually active outside marriage or not. The test includes invasive genital and anal examination and carried out in front of the male guards.
The report warned that the country has a conservative culture which attaches great value to a woman’s virginity and aggressive tests like this would hurt her personal dignity, emotional health and social status.
Human Rights Watch senior researcher Heather Barr stated, “The continued use of degrading and unscientific ‘virginity exams’ by the Afghan government is part of a broader pattern of abuses in which women and girls in Afghanistan are jailed on spurious ‘moral crimes’ accusations.”