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Afghan Rights Group Says Women, Girls Face Invasive 'Virginity Tests'

Khomari Haidari is in charge of women affairs at the Independent Human Rights Commission's regional office in northern Afghanistan, 12 February.

Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission says Afghan women and girls accused of so-called moral crimes are often forced to endure invasive and scientifically questionable “virginity tests” by government doctors.

In a report published on February 29, the Afghan rights group said 48 out of 53 women that it interviewed during 2015 who had been accused of adultery or who'd fled their homes were subjected to compulsory gynecological exams by government officials.

The rights commission said the gynecological tests are a form of sexual harassment and a human rights abuse because they are conducted without the consent of the victim.

The report said the tests violate the spirit of Afghanistan’s Constitution, which states that "no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam."

The report said most of the tests included invasive genital and anal exams that were carried out in the presence of male guards and others, and often amounted to “torture” with “horrible effects and consequences.”

With reporting by Reuters