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Report finds women illegally forced to undergo ‘virginity tests’

Graphic: AIHRC central office, Kabul

Women in Afghanistan are being forced to undergo so-called ‘virginity tests’, more than two years after a law requiring consent was introduced.

Women in Afghanistan are being forced to undergo so-called 'virginity tests', more than two years after a law requiring consent was introduced, according to a new report by the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.

The Commission interviewed 129 women across Afghanistan who had undergone forced gynaecological examinations and found 92% of tests were performed without the patient's consent or a court order, as required by a 2018 law.


Compulsory gynaecological examinations are one of the types of violence that have been perpetrated against Afghan women and violate their human dignity by humiliating and insulting them.

Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission Logo Shaharzad Akbar, AIHRC Chairperson

Most of the women (60%) were prisoners, while some were under police surveillance and some resided in safe houses.

Just nine women said they had agreed to the examination, while one said she had received a court order, according to the Commission's survey.

"We want amendments to Articles 640, 19 and 49 in the penal code. And we call for the punishment of any person who asks for this test and the doctors who conduct these tests in contravention of required measures," said AIHRC Commissioner Shabnam Salehi.

Some 24 respondents (18.6%) told the Commission they experienced feelings of deep sorrow and pain, saying that those tests felt like torture.

Ten respondents (7.8%) said that they experienced isolation following the test, while four respondents (3.1%) said they had suicidal thoughts, according to the report.

The Commission conducted a similar study on forced gynaecological examinations five years ago.

Date: 11 October 2020

Source: Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission

Image credits

  1. AIHRC central office, Kabul - Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission