Rights situation in Jordan unchanged and unchanging forum finds

Founder of CDFJ Nidal Mansour. (Photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — The outcomes of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Human Rights forum by the Center for Defending Freedoms of Journalists (CDFJ) organized last week, painted a bleak picture of the human rights situation in the Kingdom and the lack of progress on carrying out CDFJ recommendations.اضافة اعلان

CDFJ is a Jordanian NGO that aims to educate journalists about their rights, and defend freedom of the press. Organized by CDFJ in cooperation with its Swedish partner IM, the UPR forum for human rights Discussed Jordan’s implementation of iecommendations, necessary revisions and steps to take in future.

CDFJ founder, Nidal Mansour, said that the forum seeks to move urgently to build understandings and implementation mechanisms for the UPR’s recommendations, and to agree on a joint action plan between government, national institutions and civil society in the context of dealing with the upcoming UPR in 2023.

He said “time is running out quickly, and unless we have the decisive will, we will face the same previous failures.”

Mansour recalled the previous forum in July 2021 where participants from civil society, national institutions, and the government discussed mechanisms for building human rights priorities in Jordan, and reviewed the human rights priorities document submitted by civil society to the government in 2019.

Mansour said that the measures taken at the national level do not enshrine a “human rights approach”, as many legislations are not in line with international treaties and conventions ratified by Jordan, policies are not supportive of human rights, and practices are full of human rights violations and those committing them go unpunished.

Ali Al-Khawaldeh, secretary general of the Ministry of Political and Parliamentary Affairs, stressed at the opening of the forum the government’s continued support to enhance the human rights situation in the country. He pointed to an important shift resulting from the adoption of a system of new bills approved by the Royal Commission for the Modernization of the Political System and referred to Parliament.

“Some human rights reports are selective and exaggerated which are issued by some parties outside the UN framework,” he said.

“One of our national priorities is human rights and we continue to partner with civil society, and we have human rights units, and we work continuously training on and educating about human rights issues,” Khawaldeh said.

Senior Human Rights Adviser to the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Jordan, Christina Meinecki, pointed to a need to identify the challenges of putting human rights into practice, recognizing capacity gaps that may exist, and who can do something about them, stressing that the government has a primary duty to “implement human rights in Jordan for all, but we can and must all support these efforts”.

She said that 2022 will be important to “evaluate and accelerate the implementation of recommendations which are still pending”. She called on civil society to evaluate recommendations from other UN mechanisms, independent treaty-based committees of experts the rights committee or the relevant committee, to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women, or the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as well as the objectives of sustainable development.

The UN official noted that Jordan will submit a voluntary national review report (VNR) in 2022 on the implementation of the 2030 sustainable development plan, saying that this could contribute to assessing the implementation of the recommendations of the universal periodic review.

Moaz al-Momani, a lawyer, presented a summary of the status of implementation of the recommendations, based on an oversight report issued by the CDFJ, indicating the absence of a consultative mechanism between the government and civil society, especially during the last two years.

Nahla Momani, National Center for Human Rights (NCHR) representative, speaking during the first session, said that during the COVID-19 pandemic “rights have become the exception while restrictions are the rule”, adding that no progress has been made in the areas of public freedoms, freedom of expression, and the right of peaceful assembly, adding that “the culture of dialogue is missing”.

Issam Rababah, from the Adalah Center, said that no progress has been made in the Kingdom regarding  the issues of physical safety, fair trials, and torture, adding that the last ten years have seen an increase in torture cases, with no progress being made at the legislative level on this issue. In fact, if anything he said, the issue of physical safety has seen backwards momentum.

Mahmoud Hishmeh of East and West Centre, said that rights of healthcare and education  during the pandemic period have witnessed an “unprecedented decline”, he called on the government to standardize the evaluative framework. He said in healthcare and education “no one has succeeded”, that even integrating human rights into the national curriculum hasn’t succeeded.

Muhammad Al-Miqdadi, secretary-general of the National Council for Family Affairs, said that the focus should be on education and its quality, developing the philosophy of education, and integrating human rights in the curriculum.
The event was held under the patronage of the Minister of Political and Parliamentary Affairs, Mr. Musa Al-Maaytah.

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