60% of women with disabilities unaware of legal aid providers

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AMMAN— According to Al-Ghad News, a policy paper indicated that “60 percent of women and girls with disabilities have no knowledge of the existence of national institutions that provide them with legal aid.” اضافة اعلان

The paper also noted that 71.7 percent of them lack a protection system against violence and that 78.8 percent of service providers lack such systems.

The paper entitled “Gender-based violence and discrimination against girls and women with disabilities: reaching justice in Jordan” stated that to ensure disabled women and girls right’s in accessing justice, legal assistance must be provided at the right time and for free or at an affordable price, especially in the case of violations, violence or the loss of fundamental rights and freedom.

The paper confirmed an increase in cases of gender-based violence, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the annual report from Family Protection Department for the year 2020 indicated a rise of reported domestic violence cases, at 54,743 reported cases compared to 41,221 cases in 2018. 

The same report stated that 58.7 percent of the cases of 2020 were of physical violence. 

The paper was issued by the Information and Research Center — King Hussein Foundation, and in cooperation with the Institute for Family Health of the Noor Al-Hussein Foundation and I am a Human Society for Rights of Persons with Disabilities (PWD), under the project: “You have the right to choose.”  

The paper also stated that: “Women and girls with disabilities are subjected to different forms of violence, such as domestic violence from their partners or husbands, sexual violence or harassment, and forced separation by the family.”

Adding that: “Violence can also come from caregivers, such as physical violence and denial of access to medication or giving substandard care.” 
Regarding acquiring justice, the paper explained that courthouses and police stations: “Lack environmental and materialistic preparation and accessibility.”
The paper indicated that despite working to prepare the Palace of Justice in Amman to accommodate and receive people with mobile and visual disabilities: “This initiative is not generalized on the rest of the courts.” 
The paper also shared that lack of accessible information regarding legal protection and rights readily, such as having it accessible in braille, leads to women and girls with disabilities not being aware of abuse or violence when it happens, nor do they know what service or entity they can reach out for to allow them to obtain rights and support. 

The Ministry of Justice had recently published a manual on legal terms in sign language and created an office for support services for persons with disabilities inside the Palace of Justice in Amman to provide the needed support and information. 

The paper called for the implementation of the provisions of Persons with Disabilities Rights Act No. 20 of the year 2017, and for the acknowledgment of the legal eligibility of people with mental and physiological disabilities, through working towards amending Article 44 of the civil code and No. 204 of the Personal Status Law. 

Stressing on the necessity of setting in motion the principle of free consent for people with visual and hearing disabilities in line with the rights of people with disabilities, the paper shared that article 132 of the civil law and Personal Law No. 215 should be amended. 

The paper also noted that these two articles contain an explicit provision that an assistant, rather than a guardian, must be appointed to assist them in defining the concept of legal eligibility under the civil code and code of criminal procedures, to ensure that this provision is not used as a pretext for any party or person to consider persons with disabilities to be ineligible to resort to the law.

The paper also recommended the design and development of a justice system that would ensure equal access to justice for disabled people per international guidelines set by the United Nations.

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