Amendments to child rights law spark controversy

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AMMAN — The Lower House on Monday started discussing the amendments to the draft child rights law for the year 2022, which was approved by the Joint Parliamentary Committee (Legal, Women, and Family Affairs).اضافة اعلان

Parliamentary sessions have witnessed heated debates, consistent with the widespread controversy the suggested child bill had already sparked in the Kingdom, with advocates saying it protects children, and opponents claiming that its articles contradict the teachings of the society.

The draft law consists of 33 articles focusing on children’s personal rights, health, education, living, traffic safety, protection from violence, and disability.

MP Abdul Rahim Al-Maayah said “we hope that this law will protect the child; the dispute was because everyone sees it from his own angle only.”

“There were some flaws in the first draft of the law, but the Legal Committee has dealt with them,” he said.

According to Maayah, some MPs did not agree with the law, “considering that Islamic Sharia is the only basis that determines how to deal with a child, and that certain articles grant children absolute freedom, and this caused great concern”.

MP Tayseer Krishan told Jordan News that “this law was examined by the Legal Committee, and specialists and experts were consulted to address certain articles.”

“Some amendments were added to prevent violating the provisions of the Personal Status Law and the traditions of society,” he added.

Social activist Hala Ahed said that the recent amendments to the child protection law “are not in the child’s interest, especially in matters related to education, health insurance and dealing with addicts”.

According to her, the text “is vague, and does not clearly obligate the government to bear its responsibility toward the child”, which makes the government “the first beneficiary of the current draft law”.

“The law in its current form does not achieve child care, and deprives him of his rights,” she added.

According to MP Suleiman Abu Yahya, “the draft law, before the new amendment, was flawed and not in favor of the child and the family, as it would harm the child’s morals by giving absolute freedom of expression in writing, photography, and art.”

The new amendments, he said, cover most articles; “each article of the law ends with stating that it is not incompatible with traditions, social and religious heritage.”

Former secretary general of the Jordanian National Commission for Women Salma Nims told Jordan News that “the great uproar over the law lost the compass of discussion and prevented its development,” adding that “the recent amendments to the law are much less than expected.”

“They look at women in a stereotypical way. For example, in the article related to the education of children, which should be shared by both parents, the amendments indicated that the expenses are the responsibility of the father,” she pointed out.

Former MP Rula Al-Hroob told Jordan News that “some of the recent amendments to the child law were good, others were bad.”

“For example, in the legal text related to education, the word ‘parents’ was canceled and replaced with the child’s guardian, thus eliminating the mother from the process of taking decisions related to the education of the child,” she said.

“There are nearly a million expatriate fathers, and the mother is the one who takes care of the children and makes the many decisions related to their education,” she stressed.

She also said that removing the article related to the child’s right to receive or request legal assistance, at a time when many children are exposed to violence, “is wrong”.

“We want a law that affirms the right of parents to raise and guide their children without harming them,” she said.

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