When President Obama meets his Indonesian counterpart Joko Widodo in Washington DC on Monday, activists are hoping he will take up the issue of religious discrimination and compulsory “virginity tests” for women in the Indonesian military. The two are slated to discuss trade, defense and climate cooperation during Widodo’s first trip to the White House. Human Rights Watch argues the Southeast Asian island group is restricting and violating women’s rights with the “unscientific and degrading” virginity tests (in which a woman who wants to join the military or marry a soldier is forced to undergo a penetrative exam to check whether the hymen is intact). “President Obama should stress the importance of tackling Indonesia’s restrictions and discrimination against women and girls before it gets worse” John Sifton, Asia director for Human Rights Watch wrote in a statement on the group’s website.
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