Jordan has acceded to six of the seven major United Nations conventions concerned with human rights, namely: the Two International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights; on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1975), the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1974), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1992), the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1991), and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1991). Moreover, Jordan has signed the Two Optional Protocols of the Rights of the Child Convention concerning the involvement of children in armed conflicts and the sale of children, and exploiting children in prostitution and pornographic materials (2000).
Jordan has also acceded to seven of the eight International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions concerned with human rights, namely: Convention (98) on Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining (1968), Conventions (29) and (105) on Forced or Compulsory Labour (1966 and 1958 respectively). Convention (100) on Equal Remuneration for Men and Women (1966), Convention (111) concerning the prevention of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation (1963), Convention (138) concerning minimum age for admission to employment (1998), and Convention on Worst Forms of Child Labour (2000).
Jordan made reservations on certain provisions of some conventions it has acceded to:
- Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women: article (l/2) giving women the right to grant their citizenship to their children. Article No. (15/4) that gives men and women the same legal rights with regard to the movement of persons and the freedom to choose their place of residence. The reservation stated that a wife should live where her husband resides. Article No. (16/1) that grants women and men equal rights in marital and family affairs.
- Convention on the Rights of the Child: articles (14, 20, 21) concerning freedom of thought, consciousness, religion and adoption that contradict the provisions of Islamic Law (Shari'a).
Jordan has agreed to the "Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam" issued in 1990 by foreign ministers of Muslim countries. The declaration is a guiding document that does not require ratification. Jordan also acceded to the "Arab Charter of Human Rights/Amended" prepared by the Arab Summit in Tunisia in May 2004.
Human Rights Institutions
Most types of Human Rights institutions exist in Jordan, such as national institutions, parliamentary committees and non-governmental organizations. The National Center for Human Rights was established by Law No. 75/2002 that aims at enhancing human rights principles in Jordan, strengthening human rights culture at the levels of thought and practice, and adheres to non-discrimination among citizens. The Centers jurisdiction includes: revision of existing legislation, dealing with complaints pertaining to human rights, confronting any violations by correcting them, or referring them to executive, legislative or proper judicial authorities in order to stop these violations and to eliminate their impact. The Center publishes an annual report, specialized report and a research journal. It also established a web site (www.nchr.org.jo). It has also attained observer status on the international coordination committee.
The parliament has a committee for freedoms and citizen rights that takes important initiatives in monitoring the condition of prisoners and detainees held by security agencies, as well as Jordanian political prisoners in Israel.
Non-governmental organizations working on human rights cover a wide range of concerns such as The Arab Human Rights Organization in Jordan (1987), The Jordanian Society for Human Rights (1996). Some NGOs confine their effort to enhancement and protection of human rights, such as The Arab Center for Human Rights Training (1998), and Amman Center for Human Rights Studies (1999). Other NGOs deal with one area of freedoms, such as The National Society for Freedom and Democratic Way (1993) and The Center for Protecting the Freedom of Journalists (1999). Finally, some NGOs concentrate on supporting the rights of the most vulnerable groups like women and children, such as the International Institute for Solidarity with Women in Jordan (1998).
Seven human rights associations established in 2007 "The Jordanian "Coalition of Human Rights Organizations" that consists of the Arab Human Rights Organization. In Jordan, Amman Centre for Human Rights studies, the Jordanian Lawyers Society, Jordanian Society for Child Rights, Jordanian Human Rights Society, Arab Women's Society and Jordanian Youth Forum. Membership of the coalition is open to any interested Jordanian civil society organization. The coalition approved a code of conduct based on international principles of Human rights. The coalition considered itself part of the Arab and international civil society and of the anti-globalization movement.
In July 2006, the "Arab Network for Election Monitoring" was established by Amman Human Rights Centre. The network includes 45 civil society organizations and institutions. It held its founding conference on November 29 and 30, approved its bylaws, elected a president and board members. The network aims at monitoring elections according to international standards. It publishes a monthly news bulletin titled "The Electoral Observer" that covered several Arab elections. The bulletin is available at (https://intekhabat.org).
Achievements on the Road to Good Governance
1. In 2006, the government published 5 international agreements on human rights in the official gazette making them part of the Jordanian legal system. The agreements are: International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Convention on the Rights of the Child, but the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
2. A "Royal Will" was issued approving the council of ministers decision no. 2212 dated 19.8.2006 ratifying the two optional protocols of the Child Rights Agreement concerning the involvement of children in armed conflicts, the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.
3. King Abdullah responded to demands by human rights organizations to close down the Jafr prison. The National Centre for Human Rights considered that act as a significant step in reforming prison conditions in Jordan.
4. In 2006, the law of the National Centre for Human Rights (Law no. 51/2006) was promulgated by the two chambers of parliament.
5. The Jordanian Council of Deputies approved in 2006 the draft law for combating corruption. A body was established on February 6, 2007 to fight corruption.
6. The Council of Deputies approved the law ratifying the Rome Statute pertaining to the international criminal court.
7. The Council of Deputies approved on February 4, 2007 the municipalities draft law and referred it to the senate for approval. The draft law calls for allocating 20% of municipal seats for women and preserving their right to contest the remaining seats. This move complements a previous amendment of the provisional election law of 2003 that imposed a women's quota that enabled 6 women to be council members, although all female candidates could not win free competition.