Egypt: No virginity test for women, says Human Rights Watch

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Published: Wednesday, June 8, 2011, 13:03 [IST]
 
Egypt: No virginity test for women

Cairo, Jun 8:  Military rulers in Egypt have assured that no women in custody will have to undergo virginity test , said the Human Rights Watch on Wednesday, Jun 8.

In a shocking revelation on May 31, a senior Egyptian military official admitted that 'virginity checks' were done upon women arrested during the now famous uprisings that led to the removal of Hosni Mubarak after his three-decades old rule.

The general was quoted by CNN as saying, "The girls who were detained were not like your daughter or mine. These were girls who had camped out in tents with male protesters in Tahrir Square, and we found in the tents Molotov cocktails and (drugs)."

He claimed that the tests were done to ensure that the women do not later claim that they had been raped by Egyptian authorities. The general said, "We didn't want them to say we had sexually assaulted or raped them, so we wanted to prove that they weren't virgins in the first place. None of them were (virgins)."

The allegations of a virginity test first arose in an Amnesty International report, published a week after the March 09 protests. The report claimed that female protesters were beaten, given electric shocks, strip-searched, threatened with prostitution charges and forced to submit to virginity checks.

According to Kenneth Roth, Executive Director, HRW the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has assured that no women will have to undergo tests and it would be ended.

"The SCAF did say that it ordered an end to these virginity tests," said Roth after talks between senior officials and HRW delegation, including Essam Sharaf, the Prime Minister.

"We don't accept the SCAF's view of the past, that there was nothing wrong with these virginity tests. It never should have been imposed on anyone," said Roth.

"If the concern is protecting women prisoners from rape, the best way is to ensure adequate protection in their cells, and to ensure a system of firm discipline and prosecution," he added.

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