Defense orders are here to stay — experts

File photo of an empty Amman street and closed shops as the Kingdom went into lockdown under Defense Law No. 13 in March 2020. (File photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
AMMAN — It is unjustified to maintain most defense orders, say political and economic writers, yet they agree that canceling Defense Order No. 6 might pose a threat to the security of the society as it might increase unemployment rates. اضافة اعلان

Defense Order No. 6 of 2020 was issued in April under Defense Law No. 13 of 1992 by the government of then prime minister and minister of defense Omar Razzaz. According to the Jordan News Agency, Petra, this particular defense order aimed to protect workers’ rights in all economic sectors in light of some sectors gradually returning to work while the curfew continued. In addition, it outlined procedures for certain employers whose functions had been suspended under the curfew. The defense order also forbade employers from dismissing employees.

Provision 8-A of Defense Order No. 6 stipulated that no employer may pressure a worker to resign, terminate his services or dismiss him, except under provisions of paragraphs C and D of Article 21.

According to economic writer Salameh Al-Darawi, it is unacceptable to keep working under a vast number of defense orders, primarily because of the economic decline due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“However, from a sociopolitical and security point, it seems necessary to have some of these orders/laws, like Defense Order No. 6, which protects workers” and whose abolition could spell catastrophe to the security of the society, Darawi told Jordan News.

He added that the government fears an increase in unemployment rates if Defense Order No.6 is canceled, which is why the government is careful and is giving it serious consideration.

“Except for this issue, there is no need to continue to work under defense orders,” Darawi said.

Political writer and analyst Hussein Al-Rawashdeh told Jordan News that according to the provisions of the Constitution, continuing to have defense orders two years after they were issued is unconstitutional because they deactivate many laws and restrict the process of taking decisions to one person, which is the prime minister.

Rawashdeh added that the government seems to have three reasons for continuing working with defense orders. One is the issue of debtor imprisonment, with more than 50,000 legal cases against debtors expected, which will overwhelm the courts. Another is connected to the possibility that the private sector will dismiss many workers from their jobs if the defense orders are cancelled. The last reason is related to vaccinations, he said, explaining that abolishing defense orders might discourage people from getting the much-needed jabs.

“The government’s reasons may be valid, but it should now propose solutions regarding debtor imprisonment, enable courts to address pending cases and not allow workers to be fired,” Rawashdeh said.

“The government is delaying dealing with the issue, which makes one believe that it has no intention to cancel defense orders before the end of 2022,” he added.

There is criticism of the way defense orders were used at times, he said, adding: “The government used defense orders for clear political reasons. At the same time, there were double standards in applying some defense orders, like in the case of Jerash Festival.”

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