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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

These are the six most important points I have found on the Human Rights Watch report on Jordanian Laws: "Shutting Out the Critics", you can read the entire report here (or download the pdf file).

1-Reality is in contrast with royal vision
At his keynote speech for the World Economic Forum held at the Dead Sea in May 2007, King Abdullah emphasized the priority he places on developing and promoting civil society in the country. The stark realities in Jordan contrast with this rosy picture presented to the world.

2-Jordan has no merits to be elected in the UN HR council
While the Jordanian government prides itself on its election in 2006 to the United Nations Human Rights Council and to be one of the council’s vice presidents, it has failed to live up to its pledge as a council member to “uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights,” as the UN General Assembly resolution creating the Human Rights Council defined the responsibilities of Council members.

3-The governor can decide anything
[T]he governor of Amman denied the NGO, The New Jordan [...] permission to hold a workshop [...]
Amman’s governor, Dr. Sa’d al-Wadi al-Manasir, denied the request, which the Arab Organization for Human Rights (Jordan) had submitted six days earlier.
[...] Human Rights Watch made three trips to the governorate, but had not obtained permission [...]
On several occasions, the government has denied permission for obviously peaceful gatherings. On July 5, 2007 the deputy governor of Amman, Dr. Khalid al-`Armuti, denied approval for a conference [...] under the title “The Family is a Bastion for Values and Identity.”
At a scheduled meeting of members of GUVS from Amman governorate [...] for which they obtained permission from the governor, police entered the building shortly after it had begun and disbanded it.
[T]he authorities denied permission to hold a June 8 public celebration of the life of the former supreme guide of Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood, Muhammad Abd al-Rahman Khalifa.
In September 2007, the IAF requested permission [...] Amman’s governor denied permission.
[T]he governor of Balqa’ denied the IAF permission to hold a demonstration marking the 40th anniversary of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

[The report continues with an uncountable number of governors' refusals]

4-Old times were better... in 1953 Jordanian laws were better than now!
The new law replaced the older and relatively permissive Law No. 60 of 1953 on Public Gatherings, which largely provided for the constitutional right of “Jordanians … to hold meetings within the limits of the law.”The new law reversed the positive right to hold gatherings and prohibited any gathering that did not fulfill the law’s stipulations.
[The report exposes other examples showing Jordanian laws of the 50s and 60s were more respectful of human rights]

5-Hamas weapons
[A]fter intelligence officers briefly detained Fahd al-Rimawi, editor of the weekly al-Majd newspaper, he wrote a retraction of a story in which he claimed the king himself had spoken to him about the fact that the [Hamas] weapons cache had been found long ago.

6-The government makes fun of foreign visitors
The Jordanian government selectively applies the Law [..] to prevent its critics from publicly assembling. In contrast, meetings sponsored by the government do not encounter difficulties obtaining permission. In addition, when high-level foreign visitors come to Jordan, the government allows meetings and demonstrations critical of its policies, if only to demonstrate its “openness.”

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