Human Rights and Political Freedom

  • Safeguarding and enhancing Human Rights have played an integral part in Jordan’s reform process and continue to be a vital instrument for the democratization process as well.

  • There are a number of guarantees which ensure the respect for and the protection of Human Rights and which strengthen the observance of these rights and assure their effective enjoyment. The main guarantees include:

o   The Jordanian Constitution is a key document which guarantees protection of the full range of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights and freedoms. The Constitution protects and promotes the rights of all Jordanians including minorities by stipulating that ‘Jordanians shall be equal before the law irrespective of their race, language or religion’. Its provisions are consistent with Human Rights principles and standards and the international instruments in which these rights are enshrined.

o   The recent constitutional amendments reinforced the separation and balance of powers between state branches and strengthened the role of Parliament and the independence of the judiciary and introduced further guarantees for civil rights and freedoms:

  • Protecting equality among citizens of all denominations and freedoms of expression.
  • Reinforce the protection of rights and freedoms by punishing any infringement on the rights and freedoms including criminalizing torture.
  • Laws regulating the rights and freedoms in Jordan shall not impair the substance of these rights or affect their fundamentals. The independent Constitutional Court will guarantee this principle.
  • Civilians will not be tried in any court whose judges are not civilians. State Security Court’s mandate will be limited to treason, espionage, terrorism, drugs and currency counterfeit crimes.
  • Reinforce the protection of freedom of the press, to include all forms and outlets of mass media, and freedom of expression.
  • Guarantee the freedom of scientific research and intellectual property.
  • Jordan has ratified most of the international Human Rights charters, and Human Rights have been incorporated into its domestic laws. Jordan is taking steps to perfect this legislative policy. Jordan was the first Arab country to ratify the International Criminal Court Statute.  Above all, Jordan ratified the two pillars of International Covenants, namely, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as far back as 1977. Jordan was among the first countries to ratify the International Criminal Court convention as well as CEDAW. Jordan was also the first Arab state to ratify the Arab Human Rights Convention and was the first Arab country to have its report considered by the Arab Human Rights Committee at the Arab League headquartered in Cairo. In keeping with the general principles embodied in the Constitution and international charters, legislation has been enacted to protect human rights.
  • The Jordanian Ministry of Labor, in collaboration with the International Labor Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), recently launched the pilot phase of the national framework to combat child labor in the governorates of Amman, Zarqa and Mafraq.

  • The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has announced that Jordan and 37 other countries met their Millennium Development Goals hunger target. Their achievement is recognized as it comes before the deadline set at the end of 2015.

  • The National Committee for the Prevention of Trafficking in Humans endorsed the first national report on combating human trafficking for the years 2009 - 2013.

  • Jordan has taken important measures to protect civil and political rights:

o   The National Human Rights Centre was set up as an independent body tasked with conducting visits to detention centres and reform institutions in order to check up on prisoners and receive complaints about Human Rights violations. The Centre has on numerous times published reports critical of the government.

o   The Office of the Ombudsman was established pursuant to Act No. 11 of 2008, issued on 16 April 2008, as an independent monitoring mechanism which protects the rights of persons wishing to bring a grievance against decisions of the administrative authorities.

o   The Ministry of Political Development was set up to support the political reform process and raise public awareness of democratic and human rights issues.

o   A standing Human Rights committee was formed comprising members from a number of ministries and institutions responsible for promoting Human Rights and following up on international reports about Jordan.

o   Human Rights departments have been set up in several ministries, including the foreign affairs, interior and justice ministries, and a special Human Rights department has been established at the Public Security Directorate to consider complaints about violations committed by personnel of the Directorate.

o   Judicial inspections of detention and reform centres have been stepped up to ensure that no one is being detained illegally and to verify the treatment afforded to prisoners.

o   The International Committee of the Red Cross, the National Centre for Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, civil society institutions, members of the Public Prosecution Department and judges, are routinely granted free access to detention, reform and rehabilitation centres.

  • Securing the active and free participation of civil society and NGO’s, as well as granting unrestricted access to international human rights organisations.
  • A number of laws governing political life have been adopted after consultations with different segments of the society through a national dialogue committee and through the Lower House to reach the highest level possible of national consensus.
  • Political freedoms and the citizen’s ability to take part in political life contentedly have been bolstered by the following amendments:

o   Establishment of Constitutional Court;

o   Independent Election Commission;

o   Public Assembly Law that grants the freedom to carry out protests without prior approval;

o   Political Parties Law that encourages and supports the establishment of national political parties beyond tribal affiliations,

o   Establishment of the Independent Election Commission that guarantees the transparency and integrity of elections.

o   Granting unrestricted access to international election monitors.