- A medical officer also carried out a ‘virginity’ test on a trans man by fingering his vagina.
Sri Lankan authorities whipped six men with wires before giving them an ‘anal probe’ test – a form of torture.
Forced anal exams are still common in many countries. Doctors breach medical ethics to probe people’s anus with their fingers or a tool. They believe the shape or ‘tone’ of the anus will reveal whether the person has had anal sex.
However, the tests have no scientific basis, having originated in nonsense medical theory from the 1800s. Moreover, they are a cruel, degrading form of torture and a breach of international law.
Despite that, Human Rights Watch and Sri Lankan LGBT+ group Equal Ground today reveals they are still going on.
A lawyer revealed he had defended six men in the last 12 months accused of gay sex. This remains illegal in Sri Lanka with a punishment of up to 10 years in jail and fines.
The men say the authorities whipped them with wires before making them have anal probe tests. The court ordered three of the men to also have HIV tests without their consent.
Neela Ghoshal, associate LGBT rights director at Human Rights Watch, said:
‘No one should be arrested, let alone subjected to torture and sexual violence, because of their perceived sexual orientation.
‘Sri Lanka’s Justice Ministry should immediately bar judicial medical officers from conducting forced anal examinations, which flagrantly violate medical ethics as well as basic rights.’
Two finger vagina test
The lawyer also said that in 2019, police forced a transgender man to undergo a so-called ‘virginity test’.
To do this, a judicial medical officer inserted two fingers inside the man’s vagina.
The police attempted to prosecute the man for same-sex conduct, but a magistrate dismissed the case. The court recognized the trans man’s gender recognition certificate and his marriage to a cisgender woman as valid.
Like anal probe tests, ‘virginity testing’ is a violent form of abuse. Moreover, like the anal tests, the World Health Organization has condemned the practice. In 2014 it stated: ‘There is no place for virginity (or “two-finger”) testing; it has no scientific validity.’
Rosanna Flamer-Caldera, executive director of Equal Ground, said:
‘The recent evidence of violence and harassment against the LGBTIQ community by law enforcement here is gravely concerning.
‘Sri Lanka must respect its commitment to the UN to protect the fundamental rights of LGBTIQ people, including by ending arbitrary arrests and by banning torture and other mistreatment by the authorities.’