MPs call to withdraw children rights bill draws e-storm

A boy colors a picture on a notebook. (Photo: Envato Elements)
AMMAN — Activists launched a campaign that went viral on the Internet demanding the Parliament to enact a controversial children’s right draft.

The campaign followed calls by a group of lawmakers on the 130-member Lower House to withdraw the draft on grounds it violated societal values and stripped parents of their natural right to raise their children properly.اضافة اعلان

Several lawmakers signed a petition last Sunday, rejecting the draft of the Children’s Rights Law for the year 2022.

In response, activists flooded social media sites with posts, using the hashtag “I stand with the Child Law,” proclaiming unequivocal support for the draft and urging the Chamber of Deputies to legislate it.

They also urged Jordanians to carefully review the draft and compare it to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, giving a deaf ear to rumors and speculations that it stripped parents of their right to tend for their children.

In the past few weeks, the Lower House referred the government-drafted bill to a joint committee, which includes the Women and Family Affairs Committee and the Legal Committee. Ever since, opinions have been divided about the effectiveness and legality of the law, with proponents insisting it protects children, and opponents claiming it will destroy Jordan’s tightly-knit family fabric and encourage children to abandon their religion and ignore traditions.

Rula Al-Batayneh said she disagreed with the opponents of the bill. The draft “protects children and supports them greatly, and there is nothing to prevent it from being passed”, she told Jordan News.

She explained that “all those who attack the draft and stand against it did not read it well, but got carried away by heeding to malicious rumors through social networking sites.”

Yasmin Qudah, who had active interaction under the hashtag, told Jordan News that the bill “keeps pace with changes and development, and everyone should support its adoption”.

She noted that “some parents still abuse their children and steal from them their most basic rights”.

“The legislation will prevent this, or at least significantly reduce it,” she added.

Social media geek Mohammad Hamzeh urged his countrymen to “support the adoption of the draft because it consolidates the rights of the Jordanian child and the family”.

“The provisions of the bill do not conflict with societal customs and traditions, contrary to what some claim,” he insisted.

Some countered, however. Ahmad Mansour said he is “against the draft in its current form” because the vague legal jargon in it could be misinterpreted.

He stressed that he supports the preservation of children’s rights, “but that should be done in a better form”.

“Some of the current legal text contain words that may not be understood by some, or have more than one meaning, and they must be amended.”

“I am not against the adoption of a law on the rights of the children, but I am against the misuse of this law in a way that would harm the child and his family,” he said.

Lawmaker Zainab Al-Bdoul said that the internal structure of the Lower House dictates that deputies send any law drafted by the government to a specialized committee, which reviews it and either approves, or rejects it.

“Currently, the Children’s Rights daft is in the hands of the relevant committee,” she told Jordan News, noting that the Lower House has other legislation on its list to be debated before the children’s bill.

“There will be an extensive dialogue on this bill between the Women and Family Affairs Committee and the Legal Committee,” she said. “Additionally, experts, consultants and representatives of civil society institutions will be summoned to discuss it to come up with a good law.”

MP Zaid Otoum said “adopting a memorandum to withdraw the draft law means that some deputies have waived their power to consider and amend laws.”

“We should continue with the steps of approving the bill,” he said. “It should be considered and discussed in its entirety carefully.”

“If there are some articles that must be amended, and there is consensus that they will harm the Jordanian society, then they can be amended with a vote in the Lower House,” he explained.

Read more Features
Jordan News