Human rights practices in Jordan

The US Department of State recently launched its Country Report on Human Rights Practices 2005. This is what they said about Jordan:

Although the government respected human rights in some areas, its overall record continued to reflect problems. The following human rights problems were reported:

  • restrictions on the right of citizens to change their government
  • allegations of torture
  • continued police abuse and reported mistreatment of detainees
  • arbitrary arrest and prolonged detention
  • instances of impunity
  • denial of due process of law
  • limited judicial independence
  • infringement on citizens’ privacy rights
  • harassment of members of opposition political parties
  • restrictions on freedom of speech, press, assembly, association and movement
  • restrictions on some religious practices
  • legal and societal discrimination against women
  • "honor" crimes
  • child abuse
  • discrimination against Palestinians
  • restrictions on labor rights
  • abuse of foreign domestic workers

You can read the full report here. When it comes to restrictions on freedom of speech and press, the report is dead on. The latest example: those brilliant Jordanian MPs asking for further restrictions on press freedom in Jordan (in Arabic) by allowing the jailing of journalists. Jordanian blogger Khalaf has written a brilliant post on the whole charade. Here is an excerpt:

Anyway, the National Guidance Committee in the house yesterday recommended reinstating jail crimes [Arabic] relating to "insulting fathers of three monotheistic religions and their prophets," and crimes of disrespect to the king, as well as any case where a judge might see fit a jail sentence. The last one actually covers everything one might imagine. The committee left the recommended elevated fines in place and added the jail option. I am surprised that they didn’t recommend dunking the offenders in boiling oil as well. The retarded parliament rejects tough sentences against so-called honor killings, but thinks that un-orthodox views should never be expressed, and should be punished by unreasonably tough measures. I’m nauseous.

Meanwhile, Abu Aardvark points to an Al-Quds Al-Arabi article (in Arabic) that says: "Jordan’s official TV station has just been yanked out of the hands of the relatively liberal Mustafa Hamarneh." The Aardvark comments:

Hamarneh had been trying to revamp Jordan TV, amidst great controversy and political struggles, though I couldn’t say how much success he’d had. The changes put JTV back in the hands of conservative figures, some of whom reportedly lack any experience whatsoever in television or even the media. Though there may well be some personal politics beneath the surface here, the net result strikes me as very bad. I’m looking forward to the expected launch of the private satellite television station by the owners of the liberal newspaper al-Ghad.

These are indeed dark days for press freedom in Jordan.

7 thoughts on “Human rights practices in Jordan”

  1. That’s remarkable, they done an outstanding work writing this report; I encourage readers to follow the link to this human rights report, errr..too long to read it all, just move the slider down randomly, read wherever your eyes catch, it’s all simply happening in our beloved country, just imagine how life will be if that page were clear white, cant we? Anyhow the current status of our humanity, we are living in a place where u can for the sake of your JOY brutally kill a totally innocent soul and get six months prison, and then going back proudly to the society under the bless of the parliament (out of humanity laws, out of religion laws!), where you can get 3 years prison for posting an article expressing your thoughts!

  2. I don’t know exactly what’s the use of these reoprts?
    Are they directed to the UN? it’s dead
    To the Jordanian people? They don’t believe anything of what American officials say?
    The american people? most of them didn’t know that these reports exist, and if they did i don’t know how much will these reports change their opinion about the situation in Jordan.
    Would American officials take a report prepared by a European country like France seriously??
    If not, then they shouldn’t expect other countries to take their report seriously.

  3. I dont know either what the use of this report is, but isnt it a way to measure the progress of the countries from year to year? Does the USA use the report- or the progress -as a condition to helping countries ? It becomes an effective tool to press for more freedom, or at least, compliance to some criteria.

  4. Thanks Natasha for the post and the link. Even if the report is 110% correct, I just cannot grasp the fact that the US administration will teach us about human rights. This is like having a pornstar talk about ethics and virtues, or a typical arab official talking about patriotism while he is stealing the country. I would love to see an independent Arab human rights center issue a report on human rights violations by the USA.

  5. Fully agree with those of you that pointed out who and who doesn’t pay any attention to the report.
    However, what I think would be good is for us to look at our society and try to improve it rather than point fingers at the west and say they are not much better. Who cares if they are or are not better than us. What we should focus on is improving our own societ. For too many years we have been busy blaming others for our faults, I think its time to show others how we can ignore their attempts to make our countries worse and how we have the ability to be better than them.

  6. I think the US violates a lot of those rules too. Maybe on a different level, but many of those definitely apply to the USA. I love my country, but I don’t turn a blind eye to truth either.

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