Jordanian Events Encourage Civil Society Engagement

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March 2014

On October 24, 2013, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) organized a live webcast of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council’s universal periodic review (UPR) of Jordan. Hosted by the University of Jordan, the event attracted more than 160 attendees, including professors and students from 10 universities, lawyers, and media and civil society organization (CSO) representatives.

During the panel, participants discussed the controversial nationality law issues and the importance of mechanisms to implement Human Rights Council recommendations and to involve students and activists in the process.

During the panel, participants discussed the controversial nationality law issues and the importance of mechanisms to implement Human Rights Council recommendations and to involve students and activists in the process.

Following the webcast, ABA ROLI hosted a panel that covered the UPR process in general and the specific inputs and comments of the Jordanian delegation—including CSO representatives—and UN member states. Jordanian CSO representatives attending the UPR in Geneva also took part in the discussion via Skype. Participants spoke to the controversial nationality law issues and the importance of mechanisms to implement Human Rights Council recommendations and to involve students and activists in the process. Participants applauded UN member states’ focus on women’s and migrant workers’ rights, as well as the need to address discrimination and violence against women and to provide stronger guarantees for freedom of expression. One of the panelists encouraged the application of international human rights treaties in national courts. Some participants expressed concerns about the compatibility of Islamic Shari’a laws and international human rights laws, and about the lack of clear constitutional provisions on the hierarchy of laws.

Prior to the UPR, ABA ROLI hosted a preparation and strategy session for the Jordanian delegation that traveled to Geneva. Twelve of the 13 delegation members, including four CSO representatives, attended the October 20 session, identifying advocacy entry points and developing a media and outreach strategy.

Additionally, in preparation for Jordan’s 2013 UPR, ABA ROLI developed and delivered a UPR module to legal clinic students at several universities. A total of 75 students attended the trainings, which included a video on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, presentations by experts and interactive UPR simulations. The module allowed students to examine UPR reports from government and non-governmental agencies and the National Center for Human Rights. As a complement, participants analyzed the reports in light of Jordan’s constitution and laws.

While in Geneva, Jordanian CSO representatives met with members of the government delegation to discuss the UPR recommendations. They also held meetings with diplomatic missions of several countries, including the United States, Ireland, Norway and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

To learn more about our work in Jordan, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at rol@americanbar.org.

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