ARDD explores business development, human rights in Jordan

(Photos: ARDD)
AMMAN — Working on human rights legislation pertaining to the private sector is essential to protect individuals and communities from injustices or damage caused by businesses, the Arab Resistance for Democracy and Development (ARDD) said in a statement.اضافة اعلان

Jordan is among the first Arab countries to sign the International Labor Organization conventions, but Jordan’s legislation “regulating labor and human rights needs to be further addressed”, the statement said.

“Moreover, there is a need to address the absence of civil society organizations, and local community representatives in accountability and sustainable development projects,” it added.

In a bid to tackle these issues, ARDD held a roundtable titled “Strategic Development of Business and Human Rights Framework in Jordan” on October 26, 2022. The meeting was hosted by the Jordanian Businessmen Association (JBA).

Among the participants was Felipe Daza Sierra, a professor of Human Rights and Business at Sciences Po University Paris, and research director of the Observatory on Human Rights and Business in the Mediterranean.

Others included JBA board member Michael Nazzal, International Mediator Expert Jordi-Palou Loverdos, and Jordanian senator and JBA Secretary-General Abed Al-Rahim Boucai.

Economist Raad Al-Tal moderated the meeting, which he said, established strategic work on the human rights and business agenda toward economic growth through collaboration.

ARDD Chief Executive Director Samar Muhareb said the fact that the JBA hosted the meeting “indicates the openness and flexibility of the private sector, as well as of the importance attached to human rights, in this case in the field of business, which needs a legal framework in order to protect the private sector and the communities it serves”.

Daza Sierra said the COVID-19 pandemic “caused political and economic stagnation, made many families lose their incomes and many sectors to struggle”.

“The war on Ukraine that followed brought even more economic challenges, including inflation,” he said. “These successive crises are the reason for our presence here today, to take a look at these challenges we are facing collectively, and acknowledge the role of civil society in helping communities survive in these challenging times.”

Daza Sierra added that one of the state’s most important responsibilities is to ensure the protection of human rights of individuals working in the private sector, especially since “there have been increasing violations of human rights, particularly by multinational businesses.”

He stressed that “Jordan has a huge opportunity to adopt and follow political and legal tools and arguments to progress toward sustainable economic and political development”.

Nazzal said Jordan was one of the first Arab countries to introduce strict labor and human rights laws and establish specialized courts.

He highlighted the effectiveness of the Kingdom’s defense law that prohibits employers from terminating contracts, unlike wealthy countries where there is no such protection.

“We have respected human rights since the beginning of time, and we refuse exploitation of labor,” he said. “We want to build countries able to compete with the West, and ensure decent lives for the youth and workers, rather than just applying minimum wages.”

Loverdos said the UN is responsible for ensuring respect for human rights globally, “but currently it has become the responsibility of the state to protect communities and businesses, and to develop various tools to ensure it”.

Boucai reiterated that labor rights are protected in Jordan, and that unions are ensuring it. He also said that implementing international instruments could conflict with national laws and that imposing strict laws on businessmen will backfire on the job market and increase unemployment.

The solution, he maintained, lies in the creation of a safe work environment for all.

Participants recommended collaboration among the private and public sectors and civil society to develop the human rights and business agenda, and monitor compliance

This series of dialogue sessions were part of the Design and Determine Project implemented by ARDD with funding from the European Regional Development and Protection Program  for Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq, which is supported by the Czech Republic, Denmark, the EU, Ireland, and Switzerland.

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