Jordan: Women’s organizations prepare CEDAW shadow report

A Jordanian woman voting last year.
(Photo: Katarina Blomqvist/
WoMen Dialogue)

Source: The Jordan Times

The inequity between husbands and wives regarding the custody of children and the absence of a clear penalization of violence against women are some of the concerns that Jordan civil society organizations will submit to the CEDAW committee next year, before the government presents its official assessment to the panel, reported The Jordan Times this week. 

The Jordanian Women’s Union (JWU, national focal point of Social Watch) announced on Monday the formation of a national coalition to write a shadow report to the CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women), according to the newspaper.

Jordan signed CEDAW  in 1992 and ratified it in 1997 with three reservations related to the citizenship, housing and women’s mobility clauses in the Personal Status Law, wrote journalist Rana Husseini.

“Around 23 NGOs teamed up to prepare the CEDAW shadow report that will be presented to the CEDAW committee at the UN in 2012 before the country’s official report is presented to the same panel,” JWU President Amneh Zu’bi said in a press conference.

Jordan ranks as low as 133 among 157 countries analyzed according to the Gender Equity Index of Social Watch. 

Some of the main points to be addressed in the shadow report include the Personal Status Law, said Afaf Jabiri, who is preparing the document.

“Although there were several positive changes in the law, we still have many concerns about how women’s rights within the family were defined,” she told reporters.

“We believe the major issue is that women are regarded in accordance with the alleged secondary role in the family, for instance, the linkage between disobedience and financial maintenance is very well established in the new law,” Jabiri pointed out.

In addition, women were given the custody of children but not guardianship, because they are considered as “caretakers and preservers of the family but not considered decision makers in family matters”, she added, according to Husseini’s report.

Jabiri said the national coalition hopes the shadow report “will put pressure on the government to lift its reservation on Article 16 and take a step towards revising the Personal Status Law from a civil and human rights perspective and in accordance to CEDAW’s non-discrimination and substantive equality principles”.

Another major concern is the Family Violence Law, which is considered a step forward in recognising domestic violence, but does not mention violence against women explicitly or define it, and therefore does not criminalise, she added.

Turning to the Citizenship and Nationality Law, which prohibits women from passing their nationalities to their foreign husbands and children, Jabiri said the CEDAW committee and women’s groups in Jordan exerted their utmost efforts to push the government to change the legislation.

“The government always uses the political excuse that granting full citizenship to the foreign husband of a Jordanian woman and her children will deny Palestinian refugees the right to return. We believe women should be granted this right and the political issue could be solved by the government if it was serious about it,” Jabiri argued.

Another point the coalition is focusing on is the inclusion of the word “gender” in Article 6 of the Constitution because it will solve many issues and guarantee equality to women. This article stipulates that “there shall be no discrimination between Jordanians as regards to their rights and duties on grounds of race, language or religion.”

“It is important to include the word ‘gender’ because it will make all articles clear and non-discriminatory to women,” Jabiri said.

A team comprising members of public agencies, ministries and NGOs is currently preparing the official report, which will highlight progress in the situation of women in terms of legislation, women-oriented programmes and obstacles facing CEDAW.

More information

Social Watch Gender Equity Index:

Jordan to increase female political representation: