Group calls for Indonesian forces to stop virginity tests

Members of the Indonesian Air Force parade during celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the Air Force at Halim Perdanakusuma air base in Jakarta, Indonesia on April 9, 2016. (Reuters)
Updated 22 November 2017
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Group calls for Indonesian forces to stop virginity tests

JAKARTA: Indonesia’s military and police continue to perform abusive virginity tests on female recruits three years after the World Health Organization declared they had no scientific validity, an international human rights group said Wednesday.
Human Rights Watch said that senior Indonesian police and military officers have told it that security forces still impose the “cruel and discriminatory tests,” which are carried out under the guise of psychological examinations for mental health and morality reasons.
“The Indonesian government’s continuing tolerance for abusive ‘virginity tests’ by the security forces reflects an appalling lack of political will to protect the rights of Indonesian women,” said Nisha Varia, women’s rights advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.
The group called for President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to order the national police chief and military commander to ban the practice.
The testing includes the invasive “two-finger test” to determine whether female applicants’ hymens are intact, which WHO in its 2014 clinical guidelines for health care of sexually abused women said lacks any scientific basis.
Human Rights Watch said it found that applicants who were deemed to have “failed” the test were not necessarily penalized but all of the women it spoke with described the test as painful, embarrassing, and traumatic.
Human Rights Watch has also documented the use of virginity tests by security forces in Egypt, India and Afghanistan and criticized calls for virginity tests for Indonesian school girls.
It said all three branches of the Indonesian military have imposed the tests for decades and in some circumstances also extended the requirement to the fiancees of military officers.


Federally Administered Tribal Areas is all set to move from colonial laws to Pakistan constitution

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Assembly is due to hold a session on 27 May to give its approval to the constitutional amendment passed by the National Assembly and the Senate of Pakistan for the merger of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and KP provinces. FATA has been ruled under the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR), a set of laws imposed by the British in 1901. (AP)
Updated 26 May 2018
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Federally Administered Tribal Areas is all set to move from colonial laws to Pakistan constitution

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Assembly is due to hold a session next week to give its approval to the constitutional amendment passed by the National Assembly and the Senate of Pakistan for the merger of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and KP provinces.

The KP government spokesman and lawmaker, Shaukat Yousafzai, said the KP Assembly would hold its session on on May 27. “During the session, we plan to discuss an amendment to let Malakand division remain a tax-free zone, although the merger plan mentions it as a tax zone.”

After the provincial assembly’s approval, the bill will go to the president of Pakistan, who will issue an executive order for the KP-FATA merger.

“Once the president issues the executive order, the political agents will become deputy commissioners and the levies personnel will take the role of police. Other bureaucrats can also be transferred and all this is possible within a month,” Shaukat said.


He added, however, that the future of the Frontier Constabulary is still uncertain. “The Frontier Constabulary is a force meant for Frontier Regions (FRs). It is yet to be decided whether they will also be made a regular police force or not,” he said.

The FATA Director of Information Secretariat, Abdul Salam Wazir, said that changing the roles of bureaucracy there plus postings and transfers can be done without much delay, "but some issues, such as land revenue records that do not exist in FATA at the moment, may take years," he added.

Rahim Shah Afridi, FATA Lawyers' Forum president, said that though the provincial assembly election would be held after one year and though preparing revenue records might take even more years, the major focus should nevertheless be on FATA development schemes.

“Our main concern now should be the 100-billion-rupee fund to be given to FATA so that it is used transparently for the area’s development,” he said.

FATA has been ruled under the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR), a set of laws imposed by the British in 1901. The FCR gives all executive and judicial powers to the political administration of FATA under this law.

The FCR continued to exist in FATA after Pakistan was created in 1947.

During the Cold War, FATA was the main source of Afghan and Arab fighters during the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. FATA witnessed a great deal of violence after 2002 and when the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) emerged in the tribal belt, that prompted military operations by the Pakistan Army.