- Life Style
Domestic human rights groups on Sunday said that they have begun to take legal action against the military’s admitted practice of subjecting female protesters to virginity tests. In a joint statement, six human rights groups said they filed a lawsuit before the Supreme Administrative Court against Hussein Tantawi, the head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), among others, to demand the immediate cessation of virginity tests being administered at military prisons.
The SCAF, in a meeting with a delegation from Amnesty International, confirmed that it had conducted virginity tests on women detained by the military in March. The women were arrested by the military as it cleared Tahrir Square of protesters staging a sit-in.
However, the council explained that the virginity tests were intended to protect the female detainees from rape during their detentions.
According to the statement issued on Sunday, the groups filed the suit after hearing that female protesters continue to fear being subjected to compulsory virginity tests.
The groups said the decision practice of performing virginity tests runs contrary to the military’s constitutional declaration and international conventions, particularly the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
"Not only are virginity tests a personal violation, but also a blatant discrimination against Egyptian women from those ruling the country at the moment,” read the joint statement.
They went on to say that the virginity tests "diminish the role played by hundreds of Egyptian females, as they stand side-by-side with their male peers in the revolution."
The statement was signed by the Hisham Mubarak Law Center, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, the Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, and the Nazra Association for Feminist Studies.