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International News Archive
February 21 - February 28, 2002


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This page contains news for the period February 21 through February 28, 2002.



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Thursday, February 28, 2002

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Turkey abolishes virginity tests


A story released today by CNN reports that Turkey has overturned a controversial law that forced schoolgirls suspected of having premarital sex to undergo virginity tests.

The government issued a decree banning forced virginity tests after five schoolgirls tried to commit suicide by taking rat poison.

A number of teenage girls killed themselves each year because of the tests.

The decree came into force in 1999, but the disciplinary code governing schools that was only changed this week to remove a reference to "chastity."

The clause referring to the need for chastity remained in the disciplinary code for state schools and had been used in the past to justify forced virginity tests.

The practice of forced examinations was particularly common in state-run school dormitories in rural areas of mainly Muslim Turkey, where sex before marriage is frowned upon.

In extreme cases, it is known for men to kill unmarried female relatives if they are found to have had premarital sexual relations.

Turkey is in the process of carrying out a range of reforms aimed at preparing it for membership of the European Union which is particularly concerned about human rights.

But last year, Turkish Health Minister Osman Durmus ruled as part of a code that midwife and nursing students must be virgins and could be tested to prove it.

The code, which applied to entrants at specialized medical schools, which have students aged 13 to 17, outraged feminist groups.


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