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Afghan Rights Groups Call to End So-Called Virginity Tests

The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) and other rights organizations, citing a new study, stated that the so-called virginity tests practiced in the country are a clear violation of citizens' rights and they should be unconditionally prohibited.

Based on a new draft amendment to article 640 of the penal code by the legislation committee of the Afghan government, virginity tests are allowed with a court order and with the consent of the accused. Before this proposed amendment, only a court order was needed to conduct the test.

“We want the unconditional prohibition of virginity tests and other gynecological tests,” said Zabihullah Farhang, head of the media office of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.

“I was arrested on a robbery case. I was taken from the police station to the hospital for a virginity test,” said a female prisoner in an interview with a rights group (whose identity has been withheld).

“I had a bad feeling when doctors conducted the test on me,” the prisoner added.

In the study, analysts were asked about the validity of a "virginity test" in proving a crime against a suspect.

According to a researcher who has studied these tests and their consequences based on jurisprudence, law and medical science, virginity tests have no clinical or scientific basis to determine a crime.

“A specialist cannot recognize damage from sexual relations, therefore, it does not have a clinical value and it cannot prove an adultery crime,” said Mohammad Ashraf Bakhteyari, the Executive Director of Afghanistan Forensic Science Organization (AFSO).

The so-called virginity tests i​n Afghanistan are conducted following a court order to confirm the sexual affairs of a female suspect.

Virginity tests are a controversial and complicated process in many countries.

“The way it is commonly done in Afghanistan is actually not standard. It is not logical. For instance, the types of human skin are different, and a loose skin does not mean that one has illegal affairs,” said Jamila Afghani, the chairperson of Medica Afghanistan, a rights group in Kabul.

According to rights organizations, scientific methods should not be implemented to confirm sexual allegations.

“There isn’t an insistence by the government institutions to conduct these tests,” said Mohammad Hedayat, media adviser to Second Vice President Sarwar Danesh.

Afghan Rights Groups Call to End So-Called Virginity Tests

Government officials said there is no insistence by any government institution to conduct these tests.

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The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) and other rights organizations, citing a new study, stated that the so-called virginity tests practiced in the country are a clear violation of citizens' rights and they should be unconditionally prohibited.

Based on a new draft amendment to article 640 of the penal code by the legislation committee of the Afghan government, virginity tests are allowed with a court order and with the consent of the accused. Before this proposed amendment, only a court order was needed to conduct the test.

“We want the unconditional prohibition of virginity tests and other gynecological tests,” said Zabihullah Farhang, head of the media office of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.

“I was arrested on a robbery case. I was taken from the police station to the hospital for a virginity test,” said a female prisoner in an interview with a rights group (whose identity has been withheld).

“I had a bad feeling when doctors conducted the test on me,” the prisoner added.

In the study, analysts were asked about the validity of a "virginity test" in proving a crime against a suspect.

According to a researcher who has studied these tests and their consequences based on jurisprudence, law and medical science, virginity tests have no clinical or scientific basis to determine a crime.

“A specialist cannot recognize damage from sexual relations, therefore, it does not have a clinical value and it cannot prove an adultery crime,” said Mohammad Ashraf Bakhteyari, the Executive Director of Afghanistan Forensic Science Organization (AFSO).

The so-called virginity tests i​n Afghanistan are conducted following a court order to confirm the sexual affairs of a female suspect.

Virginity tests are a controversial and complicated process in many countries.

“The way it is commonly done in Afghanistan is actually not standard. It is not logical. For instance, the types of human skin are different, and a loose skin does not mean that one has illegal affairs,” said Jamila Afghani, the chairperson of Medica Afghanistan, a rights group in Kabul.

According to rights organizations, scientific methods should not be implemented to confirm sexual allegations.

“There isn’t an insistence by the government institutions to conduct these tests,” said Mohammad Hedayat, media adviser to Second Vice President Sarwar Danesh.

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