Outrage in Indonesia over schoolgirl virginity testsAgence France-Presse . Prabumulih, Indonesia
The education chief of an Indonesian city sparked outrage Wednesday after proposing that teenage schoolgirls should undergo virginity tests to enter senior high school.
Activists accused Muhammad Rasyid of promoting ‘sexual violence against women’ after he suggested the plan following the arrest of six high-school students for alleged prostitution.
‘If it is possible, the virginity tests will be carried out next year,’ said Rasyid, education head of Prabumulih city on Sumatra island.
The tests would affect students seeking to enter senior high school. In Muslim-majority Indonesia, senior high-school students are aged between 16 and 19.
‘We will try to include the plan in our 2014 budget,’ he said of the proposal, adding it still needed approval from the city mayor and local parliament. ‘We will carry it out every year.’
However, Rasyid conceded that there could be ‘some human rights concerns’ over subjecting female students to intrusive virginity tests.
His proposal triggered immediate anger, with education minister Mohammad Nuh leading the condemnation: ‘If you want to protect your children from negative influence, there are others ways. This is not wise.’
‘A virginity test is a form of sexual violence against women,’ added Masruchah, the deputy head of the national commission on violence against woman, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.
‘It is degrading and discriminatory against women.’
The proposal looked unlikely to be adopted, however, as the city’s deputy mayor, Ardiansyah Fikri, said that local authorities did not support it.
However he said religious and moral education programmes were being planned to discourage people from public displays of affection in the city.
‘Young boys and girls are not shy about behaving intimately in public,’ he said. ‘Their morality is already out of control.’
In 2010, lawmakers in Sumatra’s Jambi province also proposed forcing teenage girls to undergo virginity tests to get into high school but the plan was dropped after opposition from central government.
Indonesia, a nation of more than 240 million people, is struggling to balance the country’s rapid modernisation with traditional, mainly Muslim values.
comments powered by Disqus
The education chief of an Indonesian city sparked outrage Wednesday after proposing that teenage schoolgirls should undergo virginity tests to enter senior high school. Activists accused Muhammad Rasyid of promoting... Full story
Pakistan’s military accused India Wednesday of killing an army officer and seriously wounding a soldier in the latest clash across the disputed border in Kashmir. Tensions have flared between the nuclear-armed... Full story
China braced itself for the arrival of Typhoon Trami Wednesday with emergency officials making disaster relief preparations, as the country recovered from severe weather which left more than 150 people dead. Full story
Civil liberties advocates said Wednesday they have uncovered a government programme to screen immigrants for national security concerns that has blacklisted some Muslims and put their US citizenship... Full story
Internet users have raised more than $11,000 to reward a Palestinian security researcher who hacked into Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg’s profile to expose a security flaw. The fundraising campaign on the web site... Full story
Benedict XVI has said God told him to resign as pope and that his successor’s ‘charisma’ reflected this divine inspiration, Catholic news agency Zenit has reported. ‘God told me’ to step down, the pope emeritus was quoted as saying by... Full story
The United States has placed unprecedented sanctions on an Islamic school in northwest Pakistan for alleged links with al-Qaeda and other militant groups. The US Department of the Treasury said in a statement Tuesday... Full story
Heavy rain pounded the Philippine capital and surrounding areas for a third day Wednesday, adding to the misery of nearly 300,0000 exhausted people displaced from their flooded homes. Full story
An Indian state government Wednesday passed legislation banning superstition and black magic, an official said, a day after a prominent champion of the bill was shot dead. Atheist Narendra Dabholkar, who for years... Full story
Thirteen inmates escaped through a tunnel they dug in a maximum security prison in Argentina, officials said Tuesday. The small opening allowed the inmates to reach the courtyard of the Ezeiza... Full story
Greece’s new state television channel began airing news programmes Wednesday, more than two months after the government’s abrupt closure of the state broadcaster, ERT, drew international condemnation... Full story
Iraq violence killed 35 people including 15 civilians on Tuesday, officials said, as authorities hailed arrests in a campaign aimed at curbing the country’s worst unrest since 2008. The prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, has vowed... Full story
New Zealand passed legislation Wednesday allowing its main intelligence agency to spy on residents and citizens, despite opposition from rights groups, international technology giants and the legal fraternity. Full story
Australia’s embattled prime minister Kevin Rudd Wednesday used a televised forum to confront his election rival Tony Abbott on spending, demanding the opposition leader reveal where he would make cuts if elected. Full story
Human activity is almost certainly the cause of climate change and global sea levels could rise by several feet by the end of the century, according to an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report leaked... Full story
Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai will not attend president Robert Mugabe’s inauguration Thursday, aides said, insisting the vote which handed the 89-year-old another five-year term was rigged. Full story
A strong earthquake and several aftershocks rattled Mexico on Wednesday, cracking walls, forcing hotels to evacuate and causing street lamps to fall in the Pacific resort of Acapulco. Full story
Traditional animal rivalries were set aside in New Zealand when a dog’s blood was used to save the life of a poisoned cat in a rare inter-species transfusion, reports said Wednesday. Full story