Human Rights Council UPR for Jordan

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1 P a g e 1 Human Rights Council UPR for Jordan Jordan praised for improvement of women s rights, upbraided on administrative detention, prisons, torture, the media, and discrimination against foreign workers and migrants By Edward Campbell Missoula, Feb. 11 (Al-Masakin) The United Nations Human Rights Council delivered its human rights report card for the Kingdom of Jordan today, highlights of that report have been made available on the Council s webpage. National Report The National report for the Kingdom of Jordan was delivered by Mousa Burayzat, Director of the International Relations and Organizations Department and Director of The Human Rights Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Jordan. The Jordanian envoy said that the Kingdom of Jordan was in constant review of its own human rights situation and that the nation seeks to strengthen human rights with the aim of achieving peace and stability, inside and outside the country, and that the nations human rights instruments target the most vulnerable sectors of society. The envoy said that in preparation of the Kingdom s National Report the Jordanian Standing Committee on Human Rights was consulted. He went on to say that the 1952 Constitution was fully in line with the expectation of the Council, without addressing the fact that the King is not subject to law, asserted that all Jordanian were equal under law, that all Jordanian had the right to a lawyer in criminal cases, that although a 2006 anti-terrorism statute had been enacted no one in Jordan has been prosecuted under this law. He said that through a law prohibiting insult to any religion, the Kingdom preserved the right to religious freedom, that the Kingdom guaranteed freedom of movement to all citizens, that Jordan, through its Penal Code, preserves the right to life, that torture was prohibited per the provisions of the Convention Against Torture (OP-CAT), and noted that Jordan had implemented the recommendations of the UN s Special Rapporteur on torture taking many steps to prevent torture and had taken measures to rehabilitate victims of torture. The envoy also noted that the application of the death penalty was very restricted in the Kingdom, and that no execution had taken place there since April He also maintained that the Jordanian Constitution protected freedom of expression, and that all Jordanian are free to speak and publish freely without restrictions noting that Jordanian law prohibits the detention of journalists when carrying out their duties. He also said that the Jordanian Constitution guaranteed the right to political association, the right to form political parties, and the right to assembly, noting the large number of registered political parties in the Kingdom, and that all of those parties had the right to participate in the national elections, and that he law, furthermore, allowed anyone to

2 P a g e 2 stand for election including safeguards to the rights of women in the National Assembly. Positive Achievements The Kingdom of Jordan was praised for upholding the rights of women and girls, which included measures to create jobs for women and steps to assist street children. The Council said that Jordan had made progress in the areas of economic, social, and cultural rights, had taken measure to eradicate poverty, had created a national council to address the needs of the disabled, had achieved a high literacy rate, had made serious efforts to make primary education universal, and had made overall progress on the issue of the right to education. The Council said that that Jordan has a high level of health care services, had acceded to a number of international human rights treaties, had made efforts to reinforce the right to freedom of expression, created a National Coalition for Children, accommodated a large number of Palestinian and Iraqi refugees, and had vibrant support for human rights in civil society. Issues and questions Questions raised by the Working Group of 47 member states, and Observers, related to the Kingdom s intention to criminal domestic violence, as recommended by Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, efforts to make the penalties for Honor Killing harsher, Jordan s plans to invite the Special Rapporteur on violence against women to visit the nation, the Kingdom s intention to enact a comprehensive gender equality law, its progress with respect to its national plan on the rights of children, whether Jordan was considering to review the draft Child Rights Act with a view to introducing a ban on corporal punishment. Members of the Council were interested in hearing the results of Jordan s efforts to provide assistance to child victims of sexual assault, exploitation, and trafficking, what steps had been taken to meet the need of migrant workers, and what efforts had been undertaken to meet the need of the 700,000 Iraqi refugees in the Kingdom and the nature of the assistance those people have required. Other questions and issues raised by the Council pertained to Jordan s plans to accede to additional human rights instruments, the Kingdom s new law on freedom of assembly, the application of the rule of law for detainees, steps taken to ensure that human rights conventions were being full implemented, and efforts to increase knowledge of those conventions among the judiciary, law enforcement personnel, and the public. The Working Group and the Observers also had questions about Jordan s safeguards against torture because Jordanian law enforcement personnel were shielded from accountability and independent prosecution, what steps had been taken to implement the recommendations of the Committee against Torture, what efforts had been made to address case overloads in their judicial system, what efforts had been made with respect to raising the age of criminal culpability, and what plans the Kingdom has to convert the de facto moratorium on the death penalty to a de jure moratorium. Recommendations A number of delegations to the UPR submitted specific recommendations which included the recommendation that the Kingdom continue to cooperate with Office

3 P a g e 3 of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), that the Kingdom consider extending a standing invitation to United Nations Special Procedures, Poverty and education It was suggested by the Working Group that Jordan institute human rights education in the school system, that the Kingdom stay the course of attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MGDs), that share its experience in the health care sector with developing countries, that it continue efforts to achieve universal primary education, that it increase school enrollment rates, that the Kingdom continue efforts at eradicating poverty and strengthen the Poverty Alleviation Strategy, that it enhance access to water through efficient water resource management with the support and assistance of the international community. Discrimination against persons with disabilities, minorities, migrant workers, and women It was also suggested that Jordan improve the living conditions of the disabled, that the nations develop a National Strategy to aiding the disabled, that the Kingdom take further steps to address discrimination against women, minorities and vulnerable groups, including children and disabled people, and that Jordan improve the wellbeing and human rights protection of migrant workers, including domestic workers. Protection of the rights of the child Other recommendations suggested that Jordan strengthen the implementation of the National Action Plan for Children, that the nation remove its reservations to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, that it prohibit all acts of corporal punishment. Crimes against women It was suggested to the Kingdom that it pursue gender equality, withdraw reservations to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (OP-CEDAW), that the nation follow up on the recommendations made by Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, that it ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, that the Kingdom promote the role of women in high decision-making posts, that the nation try to empower women and increase their role in public life, and that the Kingdom review the Nationality Law to ensure that a Jordanian mother married to a non-jordanian man had the right to confer her nationality to their children. Jordan was furthermore encouraged to step up its efforts to combat honor crimes, strengthen legislation protecting women from violence, amend the Penal Code to ensure that honor crimes were treated on par with other serious violent crimes and to ensure all such crimes were investigated and prosecuted, abolish all protection and impunity for perpetrators of honor killings. It was also suggested by the Council that Jordan s penal legislation concerning the discrimination and violence against women be developed in a holistic manner, that Jordan take further action in order to receive the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, that the nation enact legislation on violence against women, and increase the number of home shelters in Jordan and replace the practice of protected custody for women at risk of violence.

4 P a g e 4 Human rights education It was also to suggest to the Kingdom that it improve human rights education for the judiciary and law enforcement personnel, that the Kingdom review its use of administrative detention and ensure those in detention have legal representation and to the courts, that the Kingdom consider transferring criminal jurisdiction of the State Security Court and the Police Court to ordinary courts. Torture It was furthermore suggested to the Kingdom that Jordan continue efforts to combat torture, that the nation review its legislation on terrorism to ensure it was in line with international human rights standards, that Jordan consider accepting the jurisdiction of the Committee against Torture, that it ratify the Optional Protocol of the Convention against Torture (OP- CAT), that the Kingdom take further action to prevent impunity of torture and ill treatment and follow up to the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur on torture, that the nation enact a definition of torture and its absolute prohibition in accordance with the Convention against Torture. Prisons It was suggested to the Kingdom that it facilitate prison visits, including ones announced by NGOs, give full jurisdiction to civil investigators over the investigation of allegations of abuse of prisoners, implement an independent and transparent complaints mechanism to deal with reports of prisoner ill-treatment, and that the nation ratify the Convention in Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances (CED). Media, elections, NGOs Jordan was encouraged to take steps to promote an open and free press where journalists may report on a full spectrum of political, social and economic issues without fear retribution. It was suggested that the Kingdom establish an independent electoral commission which allows for open participation of political parties and objective certification of election results. The Kingdom was advised to revise the Societies Law to remove the government approval requirement in the work of NGOs and take steps to ensure that these changes were put into practice, and that it consider amending recent NGO legislation in order to reduce restrictions on their activities and allow them adequate freedom of action. Religion, foreign workers, refugees Another set of recommendations called on Jordan to pursue the protection of those who converted to another religion according to international human rights standards, that the Kingdom protect the rights of foreign workers and prohibit abuses against them. It was also suggested that the Kingdom establish a legal framework for the protection of refugees and applicants for asylum, that it make greater efforts to meet the needs of Iraqi refugees and to ensure their needs were met, that the Kingdom continue to support Palestinians, ratify the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees, and for the international community to share the burden of the Jordanian Government of hosting millions of Palestinians through financial and other relevant support. The Kingdom of Jordan has ratified the core universal human rights treaties International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD),

5 P a g e 5 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) (with reservations), Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Optional Protocol to CRC on the involvement of children in armed conflict (OP-CRC-AC), Optional Protocol to CRC on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (OP-CRC-SC), Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CPD), Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the Rome Statute of the ICC, Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and Additional Protocols thereto, ILO, and UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education. The Kingdom of Jordan has not ratified the Palermo Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, the 1954 Convention relating to the status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. EHC / EHC Al-Masakin News Agency

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