Jordan

 

  • CIVICUS UN Universal Periodic Review submissions on civil society space

    CIVICUS and its partners have submitted joint and stand-alone UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) submissions on eight countries to the UN Human Rights Council in advance of the 31st UPR session (November 2018). The submissions examine the state of civil society in each country, including the promotion and protection of the rights to freedom of association, assembly and expression and the environment for human rights defenders. We further provide an assessment of the States’ domestic implementation of civic space recommendations received during the second UPR cycle over 4-years ago and provide a number of targeted follow-up recommendations.

    Countries examined: Chad, China, Jordan, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Senegal

    Chad EN or FR -CIVICUS and Réseau Des Défenseurs Droits Humains en Afrique Centrale (REDHAC) examine ongoing attacks on and intimidation, harassment and judicial persecution of HRDs, leaders of citizen movements and CSO representatives. We further discuss restrictions on the freedoms of assembly and association in Chad including through lengthy bans and violent repression of protests and the targeting of unions which protest against austerity measures or the reduction of salaries for workers.

    China - CIVICUS and the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) outline serious concerns related to the escalation of repression against human rights defenders, particularly since 2015, which Chinese activists described as one of the worst years in the ongoing crackdown on peaceful activism. The submission also describes unlawful restrictions on the freedom of association, including through the Charity Law and the Law on the Administration of Activities of Overseas Nongovernmental Organizations. CIVICUS and AHRC call on the government of China to immediately release all HRDs arrested as part of the “709 crackdown” and repeal all laws restricting civic space in China.

    Jordan -CIVICUS, the Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND) and Phenix Center highlight the lack of implementation of recommendations on the right to freedom of association. Current legislation governing the formation and operation of civil society organisations (CSOs), including trade unions, imposes severe restrictions on the establishment and operation of CSOs. We are also concerned by the restrictive legal framework that regulates the right to freedom of expression and the authorities’ routine use of these laws to silent critical voices.

    Malaysia - CIVICUS and Pusat KOMAS highlight a range of restrictive laws used to constrain freedom of association and to investigate and prosecute government critics and peaceful protesters, in their exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. We also raise concerns about the harassment of and threats against HRDs as well as the increasing use of arbitrary travel bans by the government to deter their freedom of movement.

    Mexico (ES) - CIVICUS and the Front for the Freedom of Expression and Social Protest (Frente por la Libertad de Expresión y la Protesta Social - FLEPS) address concerns regarding the threats, attacks and extrajudicial killings of HRDs and journalists for undertaking their legitimate work. The submission further examines the multiple ways in which dissent is stifled through stigmatisation, criminalisation and violent suppression of social protests and restrictions on freedom of expression and independent media.

    Nigeria - CIVICUS and the Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNGO) examine the difficult operating environment for journalists who are routinely harassed, beaten and sometime killed for carrying out their journalistic work. CIVICUS and the NNGO are concerned by the actions of some officers of the Department of State Services who are at the forefront of persecuting human rights defenders.

    Saudi Arabia - CIVICUS, the European Saudi Organization for Human Rights (ESOHR) and Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) address Saudi Arabia’s continued targeting and criminalization of civil society and human rights activists, particularly under the auspices of its counter-terror laws, which severely undermine the freedoms of association, expression and assembly.

    Senegal - CIVICUS and the Coalition Sénégalaise des Défenseurs des Droits Humains (COSEDDH) document a number of violations of the freedom of expression and restrictions on media outlets. In particular we discuss the continued criminalisation of press offences in the new Press Code, including criminal defamation, among other restrictive provisions. Since its last UPR examination, implementation gaps were found with regard to the rights to the freedom of expression and issues relating to the freedom of peaceful assembly.

     

  • Civil Society “Contested and Under Pressure”, says new report

    Read this press release in Arabic, French, Portuguese and Spanish

    Civil society around the globe is “contested and under pressure” according to a 22-country research findings report released by CIVICUS, the global civil society alliance, and The International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL). The report, Contested and Under Pressure: A Snapshot of the Enabling Environment of Civil Society in 22 Countries, brings together insights from Enabling Environment National Assessments (EENA) conducted around the world between 2013 and 2016.

     

  • JORDAN: ‘Transnational feminist solidarity is vital in the struggle against gender-based violence’

     Content warning: this interview contains references to femicide and violence.

    BananCIVICUS speaks with Banan Abu Zain Eddin about the widespread anger triggered by recent femicides in Jordan, and more broadly in the Middle East and North Africa, and civil society’s role in the struggle against gender-based violence (GBV).

    Banan is a feminist activist and co-founder and executive director of Takatoat, an independent feminist collective based in Jordan whose work focuses on establishing safe spaces for women and girls and building solidarity to push back against the prevalent patriarchal culture.

    What do recent femicide cases reveal about the scale of the problem of GBV in Jordan and the region?

    We have recently seen a frightening rise in femicides in the region, shockingly carried out in public spaces. In Egypt, Naira Ashraf, a student at Mansoura University, was murdered in broad daylight and in the presence of several bystanders outside the university gates. Shortly after, a Jordanian student, Iman Arsheed, was shot on her university campus in Amman. A few weeks later, another Egyptian university student, Salma Bahgat, was knifed to death by a fellow student. In what seems to be a pattern, the murderer was a man whose marriage proposal she had rejected. The string of tragedies continued in Lebanon, where a young pregnant woman was beaten and burned to death by her husband.

    We are seeing a wave of femicides in the region. We have reached a point at which people are witnessing femicides happen in public and not bothering to interfere. This is leading to femicide being normalised and even turned into a spectacle. A terrible case in this regard took place in 2020, when a woman was murdered by her father who then sat beside her body drinking a cup of tea while people made videos and took photos of the murder scene. The victim had recently been returned to her family after spending time in a women’s detention facility for complaining of her husband’s domestic abuse.

    Women and girls are constantly at risk of being killed just for being female. Women are targeted when they are viewed as challenging those exercising power over women’s bodies and choices. Men get easily offended when women violate the unwritten rule that a man cannot be rejected by a woman. A rejection of a marriage proposal represents a denial of male authority over women.

    This is very scary. Following Iman Arsheed’s murder, many women and girls received death threats. Many were afraid of going to class, and some stopped attending, effectively losing their right to access education. Such crimes reinforce the exclusion of women, taking us backward in a struggle that an older generation of feminists has carried on for decades.

    What roles are Jordanian women’s rights organisations playing in the struggle against GBV?

    We are putting forward demands for national mechanisms for monitoring GBV, reporting cases, protecting victims and holding perpetrators accountable. We emphasise that encouraging women and girls to report abuse should only come after the enactment of protection mechanisms, and that immediate accountability is the main deterrent.

    We also work to counter the normalisation of GBV by focusing on the ethics of media coverage. As much as the murderer should bear full responsibility for his crime, the media should be held accountable for its coverage. Naira Ashraf’s murder provided a blunt example of the terrible normalising effects of media coverage that is sympathetic towards perpetrators rather than victims of GBV. Her murderer’s defence lawyer was given a lot of air space that he used to justify the murder, creating a wave of public sympathy for his client. 

     

    What should the Jordanian government do to curb GBV?

    Women’s rights and safety should be a priority on the government’s agenda. Sadly, this is not the case. State inaction has normalised GBV. The recent femicides didn’t happen out of the blue: a series of events led to them that the state did nothing to stop. The state has so far failed to establish effective protection and reporting mechanisms and encourage women to report violence before it escalates.

    When a woman in Jordan reports a situation of violence, including domestic violence, she is typically blamed. Reporting mechanisms have a major flaw when it comes to abusive family members: victims are sent back home to their abusers once perpetrators sign a pledge to stop the abuse. On top of that, the concept of swift justice for GBV victims simply doesn’t exist.

    Additionally, the limited protection mechanisms that currently exist scare most GBV victims away. Women hosted in safe houses are subjected to a number of rules and regulations that result in them losing their freedom of movement, being under surveillance and losing access to communication devices.

    In short, the current wave of femicides is a direct result of collusion between the government, the media and the judiciary.

    What was the idea behind the call for a regional strike against GBV?

    The regional strike that we held on 6 July was just the start of our cross-border fight against GBV. Transnational feminist solidarity is vital in this struggle. The driving force of our call was sheer anger at the current situation: we will not accept more piecemeal, ineffective solutions for a problem that is systematic and systemic.

    Violence against women is the result of a system that places women in a subordinate position. That’s why the whole range of feminist demands for rights are inseparable. Intersectional feminism believes that protecting women from violence implies not only protecting them from femicide but also closing the gender pay gap and recognising women’s unpaid work, among many other things.

    The strike was quite successful because it proved that if the rise in femicides is a regional phenomenon, feminist organising against it is regional as well.

    Civic space in Jordan is rated ‘repressed’ by theCIVICUS Monitor.
    Get in touch with Takatoatthrough itswebsite or itsFacebook page, and follow@takatoat on Twitter. 

     

  • Jordan: Adoption of Universal Periodic Review Report

     

    UN Human Rights Council – 40th Session
    15 March 2019
    Oral Statement

    The Arab NGO Network on Development, the Phenix Center for Economic & Informatics Studies and CIVICUS welcome the government of Jordan’s engagement with the UPR process, including its decision to accept over 100 recommendations on a range of human rights issues. 

    While we applaud the government’s commitment to “ensure that all domestic legislation is in compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, particularly in relation to the right to freedom of expression” we regret the government’s lack of explicit commitment to review legislation that impose unnecessary and disproportionate restrictions on freedom of expression, such as the Anti-Terrorism Law and the 2015 Cybercrime Law. 

    We are further concerned that there are tight state controls on CSOs’ registration, funding and activities and that there is a lack of commitment to review the 2009 Law on Societies which restricts the work of CSOs. In addition, the government has yet to reform the Labor Code in order to comply with the Jordanian constitution, Constitutional Court decision No. 6 of 2013 and international labor standards, so that all workers in the public and private sectors have the right to form trade unions by removing all restrictions in the Jordanian labor law and the civil service bylaw. 

    We also note that since the last UPR, regular protests have been staged calling for rights-based social and economic reforms. These calls should be taken into consideration and integrated in the Government’s plan, including in its efforts on the implementation of the Agenda 2030 and the SDGs. 

    Madame Vice-President, we call on Jordan to implement recommendations it accepted on promoting the right to freedom of expression and further commit to review legislation that imposes unnecessary and disproportionate restrictions on the freedom of expression. Specifically, we urge the government to remove the provisions under the the Law on Associations that unduly restrict the activities and funding of civil society organisations. 


    Civic space in Jordan is rated as Obstructed by the CIVICUS Monitor

    See our joint submission on Jordan for the UN Universal Periodic Review