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Jordan - Sixth periodic report of States parties due in 2016 [2015] UNCEDAWSPR 27; CEDAW/C/JOR/6 (25 June 2015)

Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination

against Women

Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention

Sixth periodic report of States parties due in 2016


Note: The present document is being circulated in Arabic, English, French and Spanish only.

* The present document is being issued without formal editing.

[Date received: 22 June 2015]


The sixth official periodic report of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has been prepared for submission to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in fulfilment of international commitments and pursuant to the provisions of article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). The report has been prepared by the Jordanian National Commission for Women (JNCW), using a participatory method involving official and unofficial bodies, civil society organizations, international agencies and organizations operating in the Kingdom and various interested bodies. Numerous workshops were held, at which the draft report was reviewed prior to adoption in final form. Furthermore, the draft was sent to interested bodies and ministries, including Parliament and the Supreme Judge’s Department, for study and discussion.

The report reviews progress achieved in complying with international commitments to uphold human rights since submission of the fifth periodic at the end of 2009 — commitments relating to the rights of women to participate in economic, social, cultural and political development and in public life. Supported by indicators wherever possible, the report reviews relevant national legislation, policy, strategy and planning, as well as the efforts of bodies seeking to promote sustainable development, and considers the extent to which these take gender into account. The report complies with:

1. The guidelines and general recommendations issued by the Committee;

2. The concluding observations of the Committee at the 55th session on 23

February 2012, when Jordan’s fifth periodic national report was discussed;

3. The harmonized guidelines on reporting under international human rights treaties (29 May 2008);

4. The texts of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action on translating the texts and provisions of the Convention;

5. The Millennium Development Goals, particularly the third goal, on gender equality.

In the light of its political and developmental commitment and national priorities, Jordan has striven to implement the programme of reforms as part of national policy, strategy and planning. On the ground, this has taken the form of a set of initiatives designed to speed up change and reform and promote human rights. Substantial progress has been made in respect of a number of themes addressed by the Convention, including the adoption, in line with the Constitution and international conventions ratified by the Kingdom, of legislation and measures to achieve gender equality and enhance the status of women in all parts of the country, including urban, rural and desert areas and refugee camps.

The political will in the State to promote justice and equality of opportunity stems from belief in the principle of full and active citizenship within the framework of rights and duties. Furthermore, there is an awareness that to achieve this fully requires that greater efforts be exerted to overcome external and internal challenges. As such, the process of preparing this report provides an opportunity for self-evaluation and a starting-point for serious review of the adequacy and effectiveness of the efforts undertaken by all relevant parties to confront the challenges to further progress in this area. Moreover, it will contribute to the creation of a national debate and dialogue by periodically reviewing the implementation of the Kingdom’s commitments under the treaties it has ratified, with the goal of advancing protection of the human rights of all.

Part I:

the common core document

1. Jordan has made progress in promoting gender equality, empowering women and opening the way for women and young people to play their part in achieving sustainable development, in the belief that it is important to utilize the energies of all elements of society – men and women, young and old – to strive tirelessly to promote growth and prosperity and confront the challenges facing development and reform. In addition, Jordan has made progress in promoting the role of civil society and private sector organizations as Government partners in achieving sustainable development and promoting social security. Having correctly read the changing situation and glimpsed the future, Jordan adopted positions to keep the country out of danger. The Arab Spring represented an opportunity to continue along the path of gradual reform based on inclusivity, plurality and respect for the other. In practice, this took the form of policies responding to the popular demand for both political and legislative change and reform. Furthermore, Jordan has successfully closed the gender gap in the health and education sectors. According to the annual report of the World Economic Forum (2013), the gap index in respect of academic attainment and education was 0.9915, while that of health and life opportunities was 0.9706. However, greater efforts are needed to promote women’s economic empowerment and political participation.

2. Jordan continues to engage in cooperation and constructive dialogue with international treaty committees and bodies. Thus the Jordanian Government submitted the country’s third periodic report to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in March 2012 and the fourth periodic report to the Human Rights Committee, which monitors the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, in October 2010. It submitted a combined second, third and fourth periodic report to the Committee against Torture in April 2010 and two initial reports on the two optional protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 2011. It submitted a combined fourth and fifth periodic report on the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Furthermore, we submitted an initial report in connection with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on 3 October 2012. In addition, the country’s fifth report was submitted to the Committee against Torture in June 2014.

Jordan discussed its second national report under the universal periodic review mechanism before the Human Rights Council on 24 October 2013 and participating States submitted 173 recommendations. Of these, Jordan accepted 126, pledged to study 13 and withheld support from 34. The Kingdom announced the Government’s intention to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (2006). Furthermore, Jordan submitted its third national report, on the issue of gender, to the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Conference on Climate Change.

3. In the light of its political and developmental commitment and national priorities, Jordan has striven to implement the programme of reforms within national policy, strategy and planning. On the ground, this has been translated into achievements in human rights promotion, including:

3(a) The constitutional amendments of 2012, involving the amendment of 42 articles of the Constitution, have strengthened political and civil freedoms and affirmed the family as the basis of society, whose legal nature is safeguarded and its ties and values reinforced by law. They further affirm that the law protects motherhood, childhood and old age and cares for youth and persons with disabilities, protecting them from abuse and exploitation. The amendments include the setting up of a constitutional court to hear cases appealing the constitutionality of laws and regulations, with the right to interpret constitutional texts. Within the administrative judiciary, two levels of litigation have been created and an independent election commission has been established to monitor and administer all stages of parliamentary and other elections.

3(b) A raft of laws and regulations have been promulgated since submission of the fifth periodic report and many are being amended to promote and afford greater protection to human rights and women’s rights. These are dealt with in the report under the right they protect. The most significant are: the Associations Act, no. 22 (2009, amended); the Code of Criminal Procedure, no. 19 (2009, amended); the Reform and Rehabilitation Centres Act, no. 12 (2009, amended); the Labour Act, no. 26 (2010, amended); the provisional Personal Status Act, no. 36 (2010); the Penal Code, no. 8 (2011, amended); the Public Assembly Act, no. 5 (2011, amended); the Municipalities Act, no. 13 (2011); the Jordanian Teachers’ Union Act, no. 14 (2011); the House of Representatives Election Act, no. 25 (2012, amended); the Independent Election Commission Act, no. 11 (2012); the Constitutional Court Act, no. 15 (2012); the Political Parties Act, no. 16 (2012); the Shariah Enforcement Act (2013); the Social Security Act, no. 1 (2014); the Administrative Judiciary Act, no. 27 (2014); the Civil Service Statute, no. 82 (2013); the National Centre for Women’s Health Care Statute, no. 4 (2011); the Statute on the Licensing of Care Homes and Clubs for the Elderly, no. 81 (2012); the Family Reconciliation and Mediation Offices Statute, no. 17 (2013); and the Disabled Persons Exemption Statute, no. 14 (2013). Work is underway on drafting bills relating to: juveniles; the rights of the child; the formation of Shariah courts and their public prosecution office; the code of Shariah procedure; protection against domestic violence; labour; municipalities; decentralization; parliamentary elections; the rights of persons with disabilities; and a bill to protect the elderly. A group of civil society organizations is working on the draft of a framework law promoting equality and outlawing discrimination. A group of amended laws will be put before Parliament; these include a law amending the Civil Retirement Act, a law amending the Labour Act, the Political Parties Act etc.

3(c) To foster cooperation and promote the exchange of information and expertise in monitoring the observance of human rights and implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outputs of the 23rd special session of the United Nations General Assembly, the Government coordinator for human rights at the Prime Ministry seeks to coordinate efforts and increase Government collaboration and liaison with the National Centre for Human Rights (NCHR) and civil society organizations concerned with human rights, as well as to monitor and follow up all reports and observations released by these bodies. Additionally, a committee has been set up to formulate a comprehensive national human rights plan, chaired by the Minister of Justice and with a membership consisting of the head of the Legislation and Opinion Bureau, the Commissioner-General for Human Rights, the chairman of the Syndicate of Journalists, the Government human rights coordinator and the secretary-general of JNCW. The committee will adopt an approach ensuring the effective participation of civil society organizations, particularly NGOs and women’s organizations, and a key role for Government organizations. This represents an opportunity to widen the concept of equality and strengthen the rights of women and their opportunities to participate in sustainable development.

3(d) Jordan seeks to incorporate gender and equality of opportunity in national planning and JNCW sits on the steering committees for the 10-year economic plan, which is currently being formulated by the Government. In addition, JNCW participates in all the working groups of the 10-year economic plan and the national plan to address the challenges posed by refugees from neighbouring States. Furthermore, gender-related issues have been pinpointed in the State budget.

3(e) The role of the NCHR is to protect human rights. Under Act no. 51 (2006), it enjoys legal personality with financial and administrative autonomy and full autonomy in the performance of its intellectual, political and humanitarian activities relating to the protection of human rights. It disseminates the culture of human rights, monitors the situation of human rights and provides advice and legal assistance to those in need. The centre takes the administrative and legal measures necessary to process complaints of violations and abuses of human rights, with a view to reducing their incidence and mitigating their impact. It also carries out studies and research, disseminates information, holds seminars and training courses, manages campaigns, voices positions, issues statements and publications and prepares reports.

3(f) The NCHR women’s rights unit monitors and follows up the situation of women’s rights. It receives requests for help and complaints from women and women’s organizations through personal encounter (which has been the principal means of communication), fax, email, the press and the hotline. It studies complaints and determines ways of dealing with them, either referring them to the competent bodies or having the violation follow-up and termination unit process them directly in a variety of ways, including working with Government institutions, national bodies and civil society organizations. In 2010 and 2011, some 29% and 36%, respectively, of the complaints received by the NCHR were from women, while 80% and 30% of the requests for help were from women. To relieve the suffering of women, a network of lawyers has been trained to act as liaison officers to monitor complaints in all governorates.

3(g) Part of the role of the NCHR is to visit the Family Reconciliation Home, centres for the disabled and the elderly, centres for female juvenile delinquents, shelters, detention centres and reform and rehabilitation centres, and to submit reports and recommendations to the Ministry of Social Development and Ministry of Interior for processing. The centre has published the following: a report on how the situation of girls in conflict with the law compares with international standards and the reasons for their delinquency; the first periodic report on the legal, health and social situation of the elderly in Jordan; a report on child labour from the human rights perspective; a report on sexual harassment: a crime against morality and public decency; and a report on the rights of the child and online violence against women. Awareness-raising programmes on civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights for all groups of society have been held in all regions, particularly to raise awareness of CEDAW in schools, universities, unions, ministries, Government departments and civil society organizations.

3(h) The NCHR hosted the 11th international conference of the International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, on “The human rights of women and girls: Promoting gender equality: The role of national human rights institutions” (Amman, 5-7 November 2012). The conference adopted the Amman Declaration and Programme of Action, containing the regional action plans elaborated by the regional working groups of national human rights institutions (NHRIs), as a procedural guide protect and promote the rights of women and girls and gender equality. The action plans assign specific tasks to NHRIs, such as reviewing national legislation that discriminates against women in respect of rights or treatment; monitoring, analysing and evaluating policies; monitoring and documenting violations of women’s rights and seeking to eradicate these; obliging governments to enforce their commitments to women’s rights at national and international level; and fostering the role of NHRIs by promoting coordination between them and international and national partners, including the civil society organizations which held their preparatory meeting in Amman on 45 November, shortly before the main conference. After the conference ended, the NCHR published the Amman Declaration on its website in both Arabic and English, as well as in other media. An introductory brochure on the declaration was produced and distributed at local community level by means of 49 visits to remote regions. Violations of women’s rights have been monitored and documented and a report submitted to the Cabinet, which circulated it to ministries and appropriate bodies.

3(i) The NCHR implemented a programme to promote electoral reform in parliamentary and municipal elections as part of the “Reform through Public Participation” campaign in 2013 and 2014. A number of visits to the camps were made to ascertain the economic, social and cultural situation of Syrian refugees and reports were prepared. Recommendations to improve their living conditions were submitted to the relevant bodies. In 2013 and 2014, a programme to train lawyers on the application of international conventions in all governorates in the Kingdom was implemented, in the course of which CEDAW was touched upon, with a focus on the economic, social and cultural rights of women.

3(j) The NCHR participates in the work of the Economic and Social Council through the Committee for the Economic and Social Empowerment of Women, which seeks to draw up public policy for relevant bodies to empower women economically and socially. It implements awareness-raising programmes designed to raise local community awareness (among both men and women) of the importance of women’s participation in development, with the focus on remote regions. A booklet on the rights and duties of displaced women has been published, financed by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women) and designed to advise displaced women of their rights and duties. The booklet is distributed to displaced women through the reform and rehabilitation centres.

3(k) Furthermore, the NCHR prepares an annual report on the human rights situation in the Kingdom, based on its monitoring of violations of human rights, including all aspects of the rights of women, children, the elderly and the disabled.

4. The Cabinet formed a ministerial committee to take appropriate measures to address the observations contained in the 2012 human rights report published by the NCHR. Chaired by the Minister of Justice, members make recommendations and observations relating to measures which are immediately achievable. Note that Jordan is oriented toward support for human rights issues.

5 In May 2012, in compliance with a memorandum of understanding on confronting violence against women, signed by the NCHR, Ministry of Social Development, Ministry of Interior, Family Protection Department and JNCW, the NCHR set up a national women’s rights observatory on its website. This is a specialised, institutional tool for monitoring and following up women’s rights, in collaboration and coordination with all relevant parties, whether policy makers or policy implementers.

6. The 2014 Human Development Report ranked Jordan in 77th position, while the 2013 report ranked the country in 100th position. However, Jordan faces many challenges in maintaining its level of achievement, which has become adversely affected by the continuing waves of forced migration into the country as a result of political and security instability in the surrounding region and neighbouring States. The most recent of these has been the forced migration of Syrians, who have continued to seek refuge since the Syrian crisis began in 2011. Jordan has embraced more than 645,000 refugees – mostly women and children – officially registered with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and numbers are continuing to rise on a daily basis. This is having an adverse impact on the country’s development efforts. Jordan is on the threshold of an historic demographic transformation – known as a “demographic window” – characterized by a substantial decline in the proportion of children in the population and a large increase in the proportion of those of productive age. But the refugee situation imposes a demographic reality that is having an inevitable impact on existing projects, programmes and action plans, reflected in altered national priorities. There is also the considerable financial cost, with unprecedented pressure on the State budget, infrastructure, economic resources and overstretched and resource-starved sectors, alongside the increasing financial and non-financial burdens of maintaining health, education and economic standards. Education faces considerable challenges, with pressure on schools, particularly in border regions, from overcrowding and reduced lesson times, forcing schools to introduce a two-shift system to cope with more and more Syrian refugees of school age. With limited State resources, infrastructure is under enormous pressure, to say nothing of the social and domestic impact on host communities, particularly in the northern regions, epitomized by rising rents as Syrians squeeze out Jordanians and compete with them for limited job opportunities, particularly technical jobs. There are increased levels of crime and a rise in begging, with 15% of beggars being non-Jordanian, mostly Syrian.

7. The greatest challenge facing the Jordanian Government and international humanitarian bodies and organizations is that one-quarter of refugees live in camps, while the remainder settle outside the camps, in towns and rural areas (their first crossing points), particularly in the northern region which, with 43% of the total, has seen the largest influx of Syrian refugees. This presents an obstacle to identifying and assessing their needs and providing them with essential services.

8. Since August 2012, the Jordanian Government has transferred Syrian refugees who continue to enter the country at unofficial border crossing points from governmental reception centres to the Zaatari camp. In December 2013, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees began the process of systematic registration, jointly with the Government, at the registration and screening centre at Rabaa al-Sarhan.

9. Zaatari camp, which currently holds around 115,000 refugees, is reckoned to be the second largest camp in the world. At the end of April 2014, Mukhayzan Gharbiyah camp, the sixth Syrian refugee camp in Jordan, was opened in partnership with the Department of Syrian Affairs of the Public Security Directorate. This camp was established in preparation for the influx of new refugees, taking into account the lessons learned from Zaatari camp with regard to infrastructure, organization and security, including the need for decentralization and services to improve the safety of women and girls. The camp is designed to hold 50,000 persons and can be expanded to host a maximum of 130,000. In order to minimise hardship, Syrian refugees will be received at the camp immediately after registration at Rabaa al-Sarhan. The Murayjib al-Fahud Syrian refugee camp is an auxiliary camp in which 3,851 refugees, mostly women, children, the sick and disabled, live. It contains a craft centre, vocational training centres, clinics, a primary school and playgrounds.

10. Ministries, national institutions, international organizations, civil society institutions and United Nations agencies operating in Jordan provide comprehensive services to prevent gender-based sexual violence in the refugee camps, including case management, and provide medical, psychological and legal services for survivors of violence.

11. Numerous evaluations and data analyses have been conducted to understand the challenges better and manage cases of gender-based sexual violence to which women, girls and boys are exposed. Physical assault is the most significant issue within the Syrian refugee community and is often a by-product of increased tension resulting from the violence engendered by refugee conditions. Physical violence by husbands and relatives is one of the most common types of violence mentioned by female Syrian refugees. According to a 2013 study conducted at the Zaatari camp, cases of domestic violence are the most common among girls in the 12-18 age group but are the least discussed because of custom, tradition and the private nature of Syrian family relations.

12. Early marriage is a culturally acceptable practice to many Syrian refugees in Jordan and an aspect of their culture and traditions. Also playing a part are refugee conditions, disruption of the social structure, poor standard of living, the inability of parents to ensure protection and security for girls and a belief among parents that early marriage affords this protection and reduces the financial burden on the family. Statistics indicate that, up to the end of 2013, out of 2,470 marriages concluded between Syrians, 502 (20%) involved the marriage of children under the age of 18. Most contracts of early marriage by Syrian refugees were concluded and registered in Syria. However, not all Syrian marriage contracts have been officially registered, as required under Jordanian law, whether because the legal requirements for concluding marriage contracts were evaded or because of the difficulty of obtaining the documentation required to complete the procedures, the financial cost of documenting contracts or security measures. The failure to document marriage contracts causes problems and challenges such as failure to document marital rights, children and parentage. More efforts are required to raise awareness and review legislation and procedures.

13. Specific measures are being taken to prevent forced and early marriage. Awareness-raising sessions are held with local community leaders and parents/ guardians and refugee girls are involved in prevention management. A Shariah court has been established in Zaatari camp and an office of Mafraq Shariah Court has been opened in the camp to document marriage contracts in order to confirm marriage and relationship and avoid exploitation of women. Furthermore, the Civil Status Directorate has established an office in the camp to document births and some 3,000 birth certificates have been granted to children of Syrian refugees. Underscoring the Jordanian Government’s will to provide protection and care for women and children, a branch of the Family Protection Department has been opened in Zaatari camp. Moreover, a joint task force has been set up by the concerned agencies, aiming primarily to implement a strategy of limiting the risks and alleviating the consequences of early and forced marriage. At Dalil in north east Jordan, a support and counselling centre has been opened for Jordanian women and Syrian refugee women to provide help in the area of gender-based violence, expose the abuses to which they are subject and provide appropriate services.

14. In 2013, concerned United Nations agencies, NGOs and ministries formulated unified national emergency working procedures to ensure that gender-based sexual violence is effectively prevented and combated, in a manner consistent with international standards. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees prepares reports and ensures that data is collected, recorded and analysed. Rape and sexual assault are reported not only by women and girls but also by men and boys who are themselves seeking protection. An assessment study by CARE found that 28% of Syrians were afraid of violence, including gender-based violence, and that it is one of the main reasons for seeking asylum. Female refugees expressed their fear of sexual harassment. However, social stigma and fear of family and society are obstacles to talking openly about sexual violence. Accordingly, there is a need for more resources to ensure the provision of specialized services throughout Jordan. The prevention of and response to sexual violence and other forms of gender-based violence need to be brought into the open and prioritized by the international community, which must increase funding and support to make services available to all women and girl survivors of violence, as well as to boys and men in accordance with the principles of non-discrimination.

15. The working group on gender-based sexual violence provides, in collaboration with national bodies and institutions, full coordination in several areas (protection and response/ prevention) and seeks to improve the quality of services offered in order to confront violence in all its forms, promote policies and legislation safeguarding human rights and build the capacities of relevant bodies. However, despite the response of the specialist sectors, there continue to be difficulties collecting information about refugees living in host communities in urban and rural areas outside the camps.

16. The Family Reconciliation Home (attached to the Ministry of Social Development) admitted 116 Syrian women in 2013 and the Russeifa Care Home for Girls dealt with four cases of refugee girls needing care and protection. The Institute for Family Health provides medical services to Syrian refugees; these include: primary and secondary health care clinics (general medicine, gynaecology, nutrition, paediatrics, laboratory testing), reproductive health care (pre-conception monitoring, prenatal monitoring, delivery, supplying contraceptives, etc.) and the diagnosis and rehabilitation of special needs children. In addition, individual consultation sessions are held on reproductive health, family planning and gender-based violence. Legal, social and psychological counselling services, together with awareness-raising and education services, are provided for victims of gender-based domestic violence.

17. There are wide-ranging efforts to improve security in the camps, improve lighting in public places and design health facilities in a way that reduces security and social risks. Service providers work to ensure the supply of medical aid, psychological support and protection and to build the capacities of those providing services to refugee survivors of sexual violence, including training in clinical health care and the psychological and social support of rape victims, protection for those without shelter and legal services and protection from sexual violence. Many United Nations organizations and national institutions provide support to the Family Protection Department, police and camp administrations to ensure improved access to protection by refugees.

18. In the field of social services, a team of specialists makes domestic visits to monitor children who have no provider or care-giver and provide support to the families who support or look after these children. Government bodies and UNICEF have taken measures to place 500 Syrian children with alternative families. The team makes special domestic visits to provide medical and educational services on gender-based violence and reproductive health and is conducting a field survey of survivors of gender-based violence and reproductive health. In addition, the team is involved in building the capacities of civil society organizations working with Syrian refugees in respect of professional code of conduct, reproductive health, gender-based sexual violence, refugees and emergency cases, primary psychological services and caring for survivors.

19. The competent bodies, particularly military and security ones, have dealt with the increase in the flow of refugees across official and unofficial border crossing points with a high degree of efficiency. To enable the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to perform its duties, the Jordanian Government signed, in 1998, a memorandum of understanding with UNHCR defining the term “refugee” as defined in the 1951 Refugee Convention and adopting the principle of not allowing the expulsion or refoulement of any refugee in any form, if the refugee’s life or liberty are under threat. This is the basis of the system of refugee protection. UNHCR operates in full partnership with Government agencies in the discharge of its duties. In addition to the principle of non-expulsion or refoulement, the memorandum of understanding makes provision for response and cooperation in emergency cases involving large-scale flows of refugees. It permits UNHCR to interview asylum seekers and find them a permanent solution, either by voluntary return to the mother country or resettlement in a third country. It ensures a refugee’s right to practice his religion without discrimination on any grounds, his right to engage in litigation and his entitlement to legal aid, on the same basis as that enjoyed by Jordanian citizens. It ensures his right to work and practice a profession within the limits of the law and exemption from residency fines and departure tax. As such, it covers everything contained in the Convention. Furthermore, the Kingdom has signed the Arab Convention on Regulating Status of Refugees in the Arab Countries, which is based on respect for international law pertaining to refugees.

20. Jordan admits refugees on the basis of its international and humanitarian commitment, on behalf of the international community. This requires the latter to assume its legal and moral responsibility to share the burden, thereby allowing the Kingdom to continue its humanitarian role of providing services to Syrian refugees and enabling local host communities to continue to support them.

Part II:

The Convention document

The Kingdom’s position with regard to implementation of the provisions of CEDAW

Part 1

Articles 1 and 2:

Discrimination against women and policies adopted to eliminate discrimination against women

1. On Committee recommendation no.14, to insert the word gender or sex in article 6 of the Constitution, we reiterate here the substance of previous reports and add that the omission of gender or sex in this article in no way constitutes a basis for discrimination between citizens. Females are granted all the same rights provided for in the Constitution as are granted to males. Additionally, within the context of the discussion of article 6 of the Constitution, which provides for equality and non-discrimination between Jordanians, the Royal Committee on Constitutional Review affirmed in 2011 that the term “Jordanians”, wherever it appears, includes women and men without discrimination.

2. In relation to Committee recommendation no. 12, conventions are directly applicable and enjoy primacy. Having been ratified and published in the Official Gazette, they are an integral part of legislation. Jordan strives to implement the commitments arising from these conventions in its legal system and all authorities apply the provisions thereof, including the judiciary in respect of disputes brought before it. According to the rulings of the Court of Cassation, international treaties and conventions have primacy in respect of application. The Prime Minister has indicated the necessity of conducting a comprehensive review of legislation which needs to be harmonized with the international human rights treaties, conventions and charters ratified by the Kingdom.

3. Formed in 2013, the Jordanian forum of women parliamentarians identifies its priority as to formulate a legislative agenda for each parliamentary session, prioritizing laws to meet the needs of citizens, both male and female, reviewing and making the necessary amendments to legislation, particularly legislation relating to women and human rights, thereby safeguarding the rights and freedoms of individuals and achieving justice, equality and equal opportunity. The forum is proposing an act to remove all forms of discrimination against women and amendment of the Penal Code, especially the articles relating to women’s issues.

4. In relation to Committee recommendations nos. 28 and 26, on training judges, prosecutors and lawyers in the Convention, the Ministry of Justice has convened training workshops on the application of the Convention within the legal system, in which 30 judges, prosecutors, administrative governors and public security officers participated, as well as five courses for 70 judges and prosecutors on amendments to the Penal Code. In 2011, 76 training courses were held on alternatives to prison sentences, in collaboration with the family integration team and local communities. In 2012, 86 courses were held to promote the participatory approach to curbing domestic violence and to provide training in the crime investigation manual for prosecutors, as well as the application of international human rights conventions in the courts. In 2013, the Supreme Judge’s Department held workshops for Shariah court judges and assistants to introduce the Convention; these were attended by 90 judges and 100 assistants across the country. The National Council for Family Affairs implemented a project to train Shariah and ecclesiastical lawyers on applying international conventions in judicial procedures and proceedings. In May 2013, “Jurisprudence in the Application of Human Rights Standards in Arab Courts” was adopted at the regional meeting of the directors of judicial institutes in the Middle East and North Africa as a course of study, and was approved by the Judicial Institute as a training reference in the area of family protection, in coordination with the relevant bodies. Furthermore, the subject of domestic violence has been included in the institute’s curriculum. Coordination is underway with the institute to provide training in gender concepts for top-level administrative staff of the Ministry of Justice. A special course on juvenile justice has been prepared for teaching to students of the judicial studies diploma. Furthermore, a training manual on juvenile issues has been produced as a basic national text for trainers and the nucleus for ongoing training.

5. JNCW, in collaboration with a civil society organization, has produced a guide to applying CEDAW in court. A number of civil society organizations have adopted this guide to bring exemplary cases relating to human rights and the application of international conventions to court, employing lawyers trained in use of the guide. These cases are still before the courts.

6. The act amending the 2011 Penal Code imposes harsher penalties for crimes of physical and sexual violence, such as rape, indecent assault, abduction and sexual harassment. Furthermore, the act criminalizes all acts of violence committed against women. Clause 153(bis) imposes harsher penalties on the perpetrators of crimes of cross-border people smuggling, pimping and abduction. If two persons sentenced to a term of not more than two years in prison were married prior to the commission of the crime, the court may, at their request and on justifiable grounds, rule that the punishment be carried out consecutively. The 2013 list of demands called for amendment of the law, formulation of a definition of sexual harassment, annulment of article 62 – which permits parents to discipline their children in ways that do not cause them damage or harm, as sanctioned by general custom – and review of those articles which involve discrimination against women.

7. In relation to the crime of marital rape, the Penal Code criminalises and punishes all injurious acts, including physical, sexual and psychological harm done by a husband to his wife. The law holds that acts of force, such as beating and wounding, are crimes of violence and thus outlawed. The Shariah courts consider forced or violent intercourse to constitute injury and to represent grounds for the wife to demand termination of the marital relationship. She may also demand financial compensation for the pain or physical harm caused.

8. On Committee recommendation no. 28, concerning so-called honour crimes: With the addition of article 345 (bis) of the Penal Code, so-called honour crimes are disqualified from benefitting from the mitigating circumstances stated in articles 97 and 98, if the act is committed against a person – male or female – under the age of 15. Furthermore, mitigating circumstances were not admitted by any court in 2010 and 2011. Statistics show that, in verdicts handed down by the courts in cases of so-called honour killing in which mitigating circumstances were taken into account, the sentence was not less than 10 years. In 2013, the courts heard 10 cases of so-called honour crime; in one of these, the death sentence was handed down and in another, the sentence was 20 years hard labour. The remaining cases are still being heard.

9. On Committee recommendation no. 27: When discussing its second national report under the universal periodic review mechanism before the Human Rights Council on 24 October 2013, Jordan accepted the annulment of article 308 of the Penal Code and repeal of any legislation discriminating against women. Furthermore, the 2013 list of demands recommended annulment of article 308 and 20 deputies put forward a proposal at the end of 2013 to annul it. The Iftaa Board of the General Iftaa Department issued fatwa no. 2758, which stated that the marriage of a rapist to the person he raped is a reward for his crime and unacceptable in custom, Shariah and civil law. JNCW held a seminar attended by a number of specialists from relevant governmental and non-governmental organizations to discuss the psychological, social and legal (civil and Shariah) effect of the marriage of the perpetrators of honour crimes to their victims.

10. On establishing a special domestic violence court: There has been an expansion in the establishment of family sections in all courts of first instance in the Kingdom. These have a special trial chamber to hear juvenile cases. The Family Reconciliation and Mediation Offices Statute (2013) was promulgated under the Code of Shariah Procedure and several offices have commenced operation, creating additional measures to protect women from violence and ensure that they obtain their rights. The statute stipulates that the Family Reconciliation and Mediation Office in each Shariah court shall seek to end family disputes by amicable means, as well as raise awareness of and provide instruction in marital rights and duties and provide family counselling. Under the statute, a central family reconciliation office for cross-border disputes (mixed marriages) was opened to try and end any disputes cordially and by means other than litigation, if possible. This matter has been circulated to Jordanian embassies by the Ministry of Foreign and Expatriate Affairs.

11. On Committee recommendation no. 25, that reconciliation in cases of domestic violence may lead to the re-victimization of women who have suffered from violence: The forfeiture of personal right in certain crimes reduces the penalty, on condition that it is the person who owns the right who forfeits it and that he is legally entitled to do so. On the one hand, it is the court which estimates the value of the forfeiture and its impact on the criminal act. On the other hand, a new bill has been drafted to protect against domestic violence, designed to address acts occurring within the domain of the family. Addressing all aspects of the issue, this may afford genuine protection for the family in general and women in particular. Furthermore, referral to the committees provided for in the bill requires the agreement of both parties and comes with conditions that ensure that the woman’s right is protected. The act provides for judicial oversight of the work of the committee formed to address the situation with the consent of both parties. As regards the reporting of violence, there are a number of bodies which receive complaints from battered women, such as the JNCW complaints office and NCHR. Civil society organizations offer legal assistance to battered women and plead their cases in court. Furthermore, a woman’s financial rights and right to the family home, whether or not violence is involved, are guaranteed by the Personal Status Act, as are her moral rights regarding children. The Family Reconciliation and Mediation Offices Statute (2013), promulgated under the Code of Shariah Procedure, has been adopted and several offices have commenced operation, creating additional measures to protect women from violence and ensure that they obtain their rights.

12. On Committee recommendation on. 10, regarding implementation of the Passports Act: The act amending the Passports Act (2013) annulled article 12, which made the issue of a wife’s passport conditional upon the agreement of husband or guardian, and stipulated that a separate diplomatic passport be granted to the spouse of the holder of a diplomatic passport.

13. In relation to recommendation no. 26, on measures for the methodical collection of data on violence against women and girls: The Family Protection Department deals with cases of domestic violence and sexual assault using the automatic tracking system, which is part of the automation project implemented by JNCW. This ensures an excellent and prompt response by institutions providing victim and case services, employing a participatory approach based on coordination between them to determine the type of service needed and the roles and responsibilities of service providers. It constitutes a database that records and monitors cases and assesses response. The bodies linked to the system include the ministries of social development, health and education and the Jordan River Foundation. Social service offices of the Family Protection Department and its sections in the governorates dealt with 4,746 cases of domestic violence in 2013. Of these, 2,298 involved children under the age of 18 (1,311 females and 987 males) and 2,448 involved adult females, indicating that 79% of cases involved women and 48.4% involved children. This shows the link between violence and the sex and age of victims. The Department runs training courses on human rights and on preventing and responding to gender-based violence in crises.

14. In 2009, the JNCW complaints office set up a computerized database to provide quantitative and qualitative reports on complaints by women of cases of violence and discrimination against them. The goal is to establish a national statistics record. The database has been updated and linked to official and

non-governmental partner bodies. Each year, JCNW runs the 16 Days Campaign to combat violence against women. The 2013 campaign recommended that work continue on ridding legislation of any remaining discriminatory provisions and promoting full legal recognition of women’s citizenship. Work is underway on a multi-dimensional approach to ensure protection and rehabilitation of women victims of violence and guarantee their right of access to justice.

15. In 2013, the Amneh Democratic Forum for women in societies in transition and under occupation was launched to protect women and girls and help ensure freedom, justice and gender equality under laws protecting rights and freedoms. The forum has given rise to local forums at country level, bringing together women’s and rights organizations and human rights activists. The forum’s action plan will focus on monitoring and documenting violence and abuses against women by building specialized units in each partner country, including Jordan, building the capacities of women’s activism and launching extended and effective media campaigns (one campaign will be launched on the marriage of female minors and a second on the targeting of women as instruments of war).

16. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), under a scheme to address gender-based violence, provides a free service for female Palestinian refugees and also receives battered children and men. Work teams are trained and assigned to deal with cases. Teams consist of staff from the relief and social services section in the camps and personnel from the directorates of health, education, relief and social services and volunteers from women’s centres and rehabilitation centres. UNRWA departments offer assistance to victims and legal, social and psychological services, as well as legal representation and shelter and follow-up in the form of house visits, primary health care and advice on reproductive health etc. Since the beginning of 2013, more than 220 cases have been dealt with and more than 150 cases have been given access to various services or been transferred to cooperating bodies. Those cases which have come to light can be broken down as follows: physical abuse (68%), early/ forced marriage (7%), death threats (8%), withholding of resources, opportunities and services (11%), sexual abuse (13%), psychological abuse (44%), neglect (15%). Note that individuals may be subject to more than one type of violence.

Article 3:

Measures taken to ensure the full development and advancement of women

17. JNCW prepared the national strategy for women (2013-2017) using a participatory method involving concerned bodies from various sectors and geographical areas and civil society institutions. The strategy, approved by the Cabinet in January 2013, includes a set of goals to be achieved and measures to be adopted for each of the themes it contains. It was circulated to all bodies to be put into practice. JNCW has further drafted the national plan on implementation of resolution 1325, on women, peace and security, and subsequent resolutions. These are to be sent to the Cabinet for adoption and circulation to the concerned bodies to be put into practice and goals achieved.

18. To put into practice the principles of institutional governance – which are a feature of sound governance – the Jordanian Government formed the Higher National Integrity Committee in 2012. Consisting of a select group of specialists and chaired by the Prime Minister, the committee sought to formulate a conceptual framework of how to foster integrity, transparency and accountability in the public and private sectors, ensure the proper management of public funds and put in place guidelines to prevent financial waste, promote measures of transparency and accountability throughout the public sector, empower the supervisory agencies and strengthen their institutional capacities to curb and combat corruption, foster sound governance in the private sector and develop frameworks to regulate public and private sector partnerships.

19. In 2013, the “We are all Jordan” Youth Commission/ King Abdullah II Development Fund created the women’s liaison and empowerment unit to foster links with civil society institutions, promote women’s economic and political participation, provide economic opportunities to strengthen women’s position and foster the role of girls with disabilities. After qualifying from the commission’s family counselling train the trainer programme, female liaison officers hold awareness-raising courses in their local communities on the importance of girls affirming their stake in the decision-making process and in issues affecting the community.

20. To ensure that women and girl victims of violence receive proper treatment and protection, a programme of concomitant care and aftercare is being implemented as part of the “Supporting penal institutions in Jordan” project, which has been trialled, developed and updated in several women’s reform and rehabilitation centres in collaboration with the Department of Reform and Rehabilitation Centres and civil society organizations. The aim is to prepare female inmates coming to the end of their sentences for release, monitoring their reintegration in society and arranging aftercare.

21. The “Gender and climate change in Jordan action plan” and “Gender and climate change training manual” were launched in 2011 in a collaboration between the JNCW, Ministry of Environment and International Union for Conservation of Nature. Furthermore, Jordan devoted its third national report to the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Conference on Climate Change to the issue of gender.

Article 4:

Temporary positive measures to accelerate equality

22. To promote women’s political participation, the House of Representatives Act (2012) allocates 15 seats for women, in addition to the seats obtain by women in general or local constituencies. The Municipalities Act (2011) raised the allocation for women in municipal councils from 20% to 25%, resulting in women winning 35.9% in the 2013 elections. The Political Parties Act (2012) stipulates that the proportion of women founding members of a party shall be not less than 10%. Participation of women is taken into account in the formation of committees and boards. Five women took part in the National Dialogue Commission to propose the House of Representatives Act and Political Parties Act and one women sat on the Royal Committee for Enhancing the National Integrity System.

23. JNCW has set up the “Who is she?” database to identify experienced and qualified women and facilitate their nomination and appointment to boards and public positions. In 2013, to promote fairness and equality opportunity, JNCW held workshops for members of the National Assembly on a number of issues, including: review of the 2013 list of demands, gender-responsive budgeting, raising awareness of CEDAW, international human rights conventions, International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions no. 100 (equal remuneration for work of equal value) and 111 (equality in respect of employment and occupation) and the amendments required to the Labour Act.

24. In 2012, the Secretariat-General of the House of Representatives created the Directorate of Civil Society Institutions, with a section responsible for women’s and human rights defence organizations. The duties of the section are defined in the plan as to record and archive data and information on women and human rights in order to build a database, to liaise and exchange expertise with women parliamentarians and international associations and organizations, and to create a social media page.

25. Review of applications for employment and appointees in the public sector in the period 2000-2012 shows that the number of female applicants has increased by approximately 2.79 times and the number of male applicants by 3.18 times. There were 118,827 appointees in total, representing an average of around 9,000 per annum, distributed approximately equally between males and females but with a slight majority of females. Female university graduates made up 48% and high school diploma holders 61% of all appointees in 2012. This is consistent with the drive toward de facto equality between the sexes. Among the disabled, 54 males and 79 females were appointed to public office. When making public appointments, the Civil Service Bureau takes the humanitarian situation into account. Women enjoyed the highest proportion of appointees, with 79.8% of the total. Alongside the signing by the bureau of an agreement with the Family Development Association (FDA) in 2012, a window was opened for the Izdihar project, a FDA project concerned with the empowerment of economically, socially and educationally less fortunate women by providing work training opportunities that match the needs of the job market. Job opportunities were provided for 350 female trainees.

Article 5:

Modifying social and cultural stereotypes based on the idea of the inferiority or superiority of either of the sexes

26. A women’s studies centre was set up at Yarmouk University in 2011, in addition to the centre at the University of Jordan, with the aim of conducting specialized studies on women’s issues and educational and training programmes based on these studies. On the occasion of the municipal elections, the centre prepared a training programme for elected women members of municipal councils on self-empowerment, administrative empowerment, leadership and political participation, in which 160 women took part. The programme commenced in December 2013. Research has been conducted on the role of family, educational and institutional upbringing in fostering the culture of voluntary work and a training programme on physical fitness was organized for girls.

27. The Jordanian Government encourages the media to present a positive picture of women and eliminate traditional stereotypes by means of special programmes where women take part in interviews and talk shows, discussing political, social, economic and cultural issues. The JCNW website ( posts articles on women’s issues appearing in the various media. Furthermore, Farah al-Nas radio, which focuses on programmes for young people, was established to raise and give voice to women’s and development issues. Incentive initiatives have been launched, such as an award for promoting the image of women in the media. Collaboration with the Jordan Media Institute has resulted in the gender dimension being incorporated in institute programmes and curricula and journalists are trained to take the gender dimension into account in the exercise of their profession. A woman has been appointed editor-in-chief of an Arabic-language daily newspaper. The ministries of social development, health, labour and education and the Jordan River Foundation follow a comprehensive policy focusing on all media. Lectures aimed at school and university students, and the local community, are delivered to change negative attitudes toward women into positive ones and teach women and girls the skills to enable them to defend themselves and contain the situation, as well as how to report abuse by presenting in person at the department or police station etc. Furthermore, JCNW promotes the role of the Arab media network to protect the family from violence in garnering backing and support for family protection issues.

28. The Ministry of Education implements a series of extra-curricular activities for all students and teaching staff to raise awareness of the values and principles of human rights and mainstream the concept of gender in schools. Civil society institutions contribute to training schemes for students of both sexes in positive practices and behaviour. There have been many success stories. School curricula incorporate the concepts of family cohesion and family planning and the impact of these. All gender stereotyping in whatever form at all levels of education is eliminated by encouraging coeducation and other types of education. The Government’s 2013-2016 action plan includes the development of curricula and textbooks to match the changing needs of the individual and society and monitoring the introduction of contemporary educational concepts, such as health, population, environmental and vocational education in the curriculum. It seeks to promote a balanced picture of the family in general and women in particular. Furthermore, the Ministry of Education is committed to striving for fairness and equality between the sexes by granting educational opportunities to both genders, incorporating the gender perspective in its planning and strategy and introducing contemporary concepts, such as population education, gender, protection of children from abuse and human rights in the curriculum. The goal is to enable students to deal constructively with social, cultural, economic and political issues, to contribute – in cooperation and partnership with relevant institutions and organizations – in building a modern society open to world cultures and to enable them to acquire positive behaviours and attitudes in their daily lives, in affirmation of the Education Act and the outputs of educational development conferences.

29. Cases of violence are dealt with confidentially and in private by specialist staff of the Family Protection Department, in partnership with the Ministry of Social Development. Staff are qualified in the social, psychological, medical and administrative fields. The ministry has established social service offices providing clinical services, as well as forensic and psychological medicine, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health. Domestic violence cases have access to these services in protection units that exist in most governorates in the Kingdom. These offer shelter and a completely safe place where a full range of specialist services commensurate with sex and age are provided. Psychological and social support, family rehabilitation, economic support and empowerment, education and training, leisure, sporting and cultural activities are provided by the Russeifa Care Home for Girls and Amman Home for Adolescent Girls, which strive to rehabilitate girls aged over 18 socially, academically and educationally to assume responsibility.

30. The Family Reconciliation Home operates as an integrated services centre, combatting domestic violence with an innovative approach that gives victims and their families access to a qualified, multi-disciplinary team drawn from the relevant service-providing bodies to help victims and perpetrators of violence together to break the cycle of domestic violence, protect children from its adverse impact and build sound family relations to bring about social security. In 2013, the home received a United Nations award for its public service work in protecting women. The integrated services provided by the home include reception, social services, psychological counselling, medical treatment, legal services, police liaison and education. By the start of 2014, the home had been expanded to admit 876 women, accompanied by 165 children, referred from the Ministry of Social Services; of these, 95 were Syrian refugees. This is a reflection of an increasing readiness to speak out about violence. The home admits all cases referred from the Family Protection Department or development directorates working in the field, regardless of the beneficiary’s nationality. In the northern region, which has seen the greatest influx of Syrian refugees (43%, of whom women make up 48%), a family reconciliation home was set up in 2014 by the Ministry of Social Development with the support of UNICEF. Additionally, the home has a programme to protect girls who have run away from their families from falling victim to violence and abuse. The programme involves halting their transfer to reform and rehabilitation centres and admitting them to the home, while working with the family to re-establish the relationship by providing counselling and education, resolving social problems that have arisen due to absence and obtaining proper legal guarantees.

31. The Ministry of Social Development cares for 330 elderly people in care homes and 2,000 persons with disabilities in residential and day care centres. Studies have been conducted on customs exemption for 10,933 disabled persons. In 2013, 367 associations – of which 208 are charities – registered as associations, bringing the number to 2,481. The ministry provides several associations with financial support.

32. In 2012 the JNCW, in collaboration with a local association, opened a family counselling centre in Maan district, in the south of Jordan, providing family, psychological and marital guidance to help curb the problems facing family members. Since the beginning of 2013, the centre has received 100 cases, most of them women, who have received family relationship counselling. Furthermore, JCNW coordinates and directs the efforts of national public and private institutions concerned with protecting the family from all forms of violence, thus enabling these institutions to carry out their role of promoting social cohesion.

33. In 2010 and 2012, the Higher Council for Youth held a conference on enlightened thinking in which 2,500 young people took part, focusing on the importance of the role of women in life, society and raising a family in an atmosphere of moderation and temperance. Workshops have been held on violence against women and the etiquette of dialogue, in partnership with young women’s centres. In addition, the Directorate of National Guidance has convened workshops on women in the media and the environment, and on the skills necessary for decision-making, in which 2,000 female university students took part. In 2013, the Leadership Development Centre held a special course on leadership empowerment for women, in collaboration with the League of Arab States.

34. In February 2014, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan officially joined more than 61 States, together with the European Union, in the “UNiTE to End Violence against Women” initiative, affirming the country’s commitment to putting an end to violence against women at the top of its priorities. Positive measures will be taken to improve the legislative environment, develop mechanisms to provide information on the extent of the phenomenon and devise a strategy to eliminate violence against women. In response, the Ministry of Social Development, in collaboration with JCNW, prepared the National Strategy to Combat Violence against Women (2014-2017). An implementing action plan will be formulated, which will include activities targeting both women and men.

Part 2

Article 6:

Trafficking in persons

35. With reference to Committee observation no. 29, that the act does not adequately define human trafficking, article 3 of the Act to Prevent Trafficking in Persons defines crimes of trafficking in a manner consistent with international standards. Furthermore, the National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking in Persons (2010-2013) has been launched, together with a flexible action plan elaborated to deal with this crime; appropriate information-gathering mechanisms have been created. The strategy contains a number of themes. The prevention theme covers comprehensive policy formulation, education and specialized training. The protection theme covers strengthening the means of identifying, protecting and supporting victims of the crime. The judicial prosecution theme covers strengthening the rule of law, creating a specialized judiciary and setting up a qualified enforcement agency to combat the crime. The partnership-building and local, regional and international cooperation theme promotes transparency and the participatory approach. In 2012, the regulations on shelters for victims of crimes of human trafficking were issued and on 5 February 2013, the Cabinet approved the establishment of a shelter for the victims of trafficking, to open at the end of 2014, and approved the Family Reconciliation Home as a temporary shelter for women victims. An anti-trafficking unit was set up within the Public Security Directorate in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour.

36. Since promulgation of the act in 2009, the courts have delivered decisions in 66 cases, as graph no. 1 shows.

Figure 1:

Number of recorded cases of human trafficking decided by Jordanian courts in 2010-2013




The first national report of the National Committee for the Prevention of Human Trafficking compares years 2012-2013 with 2010-2011 and shows that in 2013 the proportion of male victims was 54% higher than that of females (27%); the proportion of male perpetrators was 38% and female perpetrators, 7%. Some 17 cases were monitored, compared with 12 in 2012, 29 in 2011 and 26 in 2010. Female domestic workers represent the highest percentage of cases (38%). The committee has formed a team to study the situation of female domestic workers in embassy shelters and the hotline receives calls around the clock in the languages spoken by the workers. The report indicates that there were 16 recorded cases of women given shelter in 2012 and 36 in 2013, in addition to 6 cases of men given shelter in hotels. The Ministry of Justice has developed a training programme on human trafficking for diploma students at the Judicial Institute of Jordan (JIJ) and prepared training material on this crime. The Ministry of Labour has put into effect regulations for domestic workers and formed a committee staffed by its own representatives and those of the Ministry of Interior, the Syndicate of Owners of Recruitment Offices for Domestic Workers, NCHR and the embassies of States that send workers, to monitor and resolve the problems of domestic workers or refer them to the judiciary. Leaflets have been prepared in workers’ languages to inform them of their rights, with telephone numbers to call in the event of problems. The Ministry of Justice has formulated draft national referral regulations to provide information on the services provided by concerned official and unofficial institutions, including the National Committee for the Prevention of Human Trafficking, to identify victims.

37. Some 80 judges, prosecutors, security officers and labour inspectors have received training in the crime of human trafficking, including ways of combating it and providing legal protection, and how to identify victims and common patterns. A specialised training workshop was held on techniques of questioning victims and witnesses in trafficking cases in which 22 judges and prosecutors took part. Nine course were held in 2010 on topics relating to human trafficking for 139 judges, as well as seminars on alternatives to prison sentences and on international refugee law. Workshops to raise awareness were held for 70 female judges and prosecutors, as well as a capacity-building course for police personnel from Jordan and regional States, in collaboration with the League of Arab States and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Training programmes on human trafficking issues have been designed and implemented for judges, prosecutors, public security officers, lawyers, journalists, the staff of diplomatic missions and owners of recruitment offices. The Public Security Directorate has incorporated these topics in middle-level and advanced leadership courses. Some 549 public security personnel employed as experts at border crossing points have been trained to detect victims and forged documents. Furthermore, 18 specially-designed training courses have been held for judges, prosecutors, students of the JIJ, public prosecutors and staff of the Ministry of Justice and anti-trafficking unit, as well as a programme for future judges. A crime investigation manual for prosecutors has been produced and training provided. After the anti-trafficking unit was set up, inspectors made daytime and night-time visits to 51,661 commercial establishments to ensure that proper working and health conditions were in place and to take legal action against offending companies.

38. The Ministry of Labour has implemented training and capacity-building programmes for inspectors on issues of forced labour and human trafficking, in which 83 inspectors took part, and conducted five activities in the following areas: training trainers and inspectors in issues of human trafficking, working together to combat trafficking, protecting migrant workers from trafficking, migrant labour, inspection management and developing the capacities of inspectors and managers of migrant labour.

39. Investigating cases of human trafficking faces a number of obstacles, including the refusal of victims to lodge a complaint, their involvement in criminal activity, such as theft and fraud, the departure overseas of victims or witnesses, noncooperation with the judicial authorities and the deliberate alteration and amendment of statements after the lodging of a complaint and just before testimony is heard. To maintain confidentiality, emergency telephone lines have been set up to receive anonymous reports of suspected criminal activity, including human trafficking. A scheme has been launched to train security personnel in fostering awareness of the risks of crime, in collaboration with the Public Security anti-trafficking unit in Mafraq governorate, one of the worst-affected regions affected due to its proximity to a crossing point for Syrian refugee families, including women and children. Awareness-raising workshops have been held and material assistance provided to course participants and volunteers.

Schedule no. 1:

Total number of training courses on human trafficking

Type of course
Special seminars
Investigator training
Training the trainer
Identifying, protecting and supporting victims
Migration management
Systems of referral
Inspecting forged documents
Anti-trafficking and the rights of migrant workers
Special seminars

No. of courses
No. of participants
Target groups
Security NCOs;
Ministry of Labour
Security NCOs
Public security
Public security
Public security
Public security
Committee members
Public security
Public security
Civil society organizations

Article 7:

Equality in the political and public life of the country

40. The National Assembly Election Act (2012) raised the number of seats allocated to women to 15 and provided for the creation of a general, nationwide electoral constituency, to which 27 seats are allocated. This has helped to increase women’s participation in elections. Work is underway on amending the act and it is hoped to increase to at least 30% the seats allocated to women in local constituencies and to allocate a quota for women in the general electoral constituency.

41. With the election of 18 women in the 2013 elections, the proportion of women in the House of Representatives rose to 12% from 10.8% in 2009. In 2013, the Women’s Affairs Committee was added to the House of Representative’s 20 standing committees. The committee’s tasks are defined by the rules of procedure as studying laws and matters relating to women, the family and children and monitoring all aspects of policies, plans and programmes essential for the empowerment of women. There are three female deputies who hold the position of committee chairperson and two who hold the position of deputy chairperson. There are seven female committee rapporteurs. Pursuant to its rules of procedure, a women’s committee was added to the permanent committees of the Senate in November 2013, staffed by Senators of both sexes. The job of the committee is to study legislation, policy and programmes affecting women’s rights and any bills put before the Senate in order to ensure they contain nothing that discriminates against women, and to liaise with civil society organizations and women’s groups. Some 12% of the Senate are women, with women occupying the position of deputy speaker, committee chairperson and rapporteur of two Senate standing committees. A coordination office will be established to exchange information between female members of Parliament and JCNW and coordinate efforts to amend the legislation appearing on the list of demands.

42. To promote the participation of women in Parliament, a national coalition has been formed to support women’s political involvement under the leadership of JCNW, in partnership with several ministries, including the Ministry of Political and Parliamentary Development and Ministry of Interior, the Independent Election Commission (IEC), NCHR and civil society organizations. The alliance has formulated a strategy for 2012-2017 to promote women’s political participation in all elected bodies at parliamentary, municipal, union and chamber of commerce and industry level through implementation of activities raising awareness of the importance of women’s involvement in decision-making. The alliance offers intensive training programmes to enhance the leadership and negotiating skills of women wishing to become involved in political life and to foster the capacities of women parliamentarians. Furthermore, a number of civil society institutions are engaged in developing the political capacities of women.

43. The IEC administered the 2013 parliamentary elections, contributing to boosting confidence in the integrity of the elections and increasing the participation of women candidates to 210. Furthermore, the IEC helped to supervise the 2013 municipal elections, raise awareness of electoral legislation, urge participation and facilitate the electoral process for citizens, using all means of raising awareness. Women were not represented on the IEC board of commissioners until 23 April 2014, when two women – representing 40% of the board – were appointed. However, women are not represented on the Constitutional Court and one of the list of demands is the amendment of the Constitutional Court Act to enable stakeholders to appeal the constitutionality of laws and regulations.

44. The Political Parties Act (2012) stipulates that the proportion of women founding members of a party shall be not less than 10%, thereby contributing to an increase in the level of women’s participation in parties and as potential candidates in elections. Work is underway on preparing a bill to amend the act and the women’s movement is demanding that the fixed percentage for women among founding members specified in the act be retained. Women’s participation in political parties rose from 29% in 2009 to 32% in 2012 and includes one holding the position of party general secretary. Societal culture and stereotyping represent a challenge for women seeking to sit on the executive committees of political parties and having effective and influential representation thereon. It is argued that the nature of political work makes it an unsuitable job for a woman, due to the sacrifices required, especially in her working life. An amendment was introduced to the Public Assembly Act, abolishing the stipulation to obtain the prior written agreement of the administrative governor in order to hold a public meeting; instead, he is to be notified that a public meeting will be held.

45. Women occupy around 11% of ministerial portfolios in the executive. In the judiciary, the number of women judges rose from 48 in 2009 to 142 in 2013, some 15.5% of the total. Women occupy senior positions, including president of a court of first instance, attorney general, president of the bench of the Court of Appeal, public prosecutor, deputy administrative prosecutor and judicial inspector. However, no female judge has yet sat on the Court of Cassation due to failure to meet the terms of appointment. There are 2,314 practising women lawyers, representing 22.5% of the Jordan Bar Association. Women represent 34% of total trainee lawyers, which will help to increase the number of practising women lawyers. There are 1,075 female Shariah lawyers out of a total of 5,000 licensed to practice before the Shariah courts. The proportion of women in top-level positions is 10%, with 22% in the labour unions, 32% in the professional unions, 7.4% on the boards of professional unions, 6.5% in chambers of industry and 1.1% in chambers of commerce.

46. In September 2012 in New York, Jordan joined the nations of the world at the launch of the Equal Futures Partnership initiative to empower women economically and politically, as a founder member. Jordan gave voluntary undertakings and commitments, which will help to promote the status of women, foster their participation in sustainable development and speed up achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in 2015. At the instructions of the Cabinet, JNCW called upon ministries, official institutions and interested bodies to adopt a participatory approach in formulating an action plan to foster the initiative and take the necessary measures to advance its two themes – (1) promoting political participation and (2) promoting economic participation.

47. Through a project entitled, “Disability and the Horizons of Political Empowerment for Women with Disabilities”, the Higher Council for Affairs of Persons with Disabilities seeks to highlight the most important facilities provided and the obstacles faced by disabled women, which prevent them from participating effectively in politics. The project further seeks to translate into practice the goals of the national strategy for persons with disabilities (2007-2015), boost liaison and coordination with decision makers and civil society organizations and, in addition, highlight the council’s role in regulating institutions for the disabled in the Kingdom, in collaboration with interested partners. Disability programmes have been introduced in all ministries and Government departments, pursuant to the Disabled Persons Rights Act and United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. For its part, the IEC facilitated the election and voting process for disabled persons at the 2013 general election by equipping more than 226 polling stations out of a total of more than 800.

Article 8:

Representation at international level

48. Jordanian women represent the country at various regional and international gatherings, meetings and conferences, holding diplomatic positions such as head of diplomatic mission, working diplomat or embassy attaché, and take part effectively in official delegations. In line with the regulations of the diplomatic code, the most competent person of either sex is appointed and opportunities for admission are equal, without discrimination. The proportion of women diplomats rose from 17% in 2009 to 18.4% in 2014 and women occupy the positions of permanent representative to the United Nations, ambassador, minister plenipotentiary, counsellor, secretary and attaché. Of those engaged in managerial work in the Foreign Ministry, some 31% are women, of whom 33 are heads of section.

Schedule no. 2:

Percentage of women diplomats at the Foreign Ministry (to March 2014)

Minister plenipotentiary
First secretary
Second secretary
Third secretary
Women diplomats


49. Women parliamentarians participate in the work of organizations and commissions at regional and international level. Furthermore, women have a major role to play in various branches of the armed forces. A committee has been formed by the relevant directorates to encourage women to play a more effective role in the military and to foster their role in new areas, such as taking part in peacekeeping forces and special women’s duties. Female personnel from the Royal Medical Services and the Directorate of Military Women’s Affairs take part in overseas missions and duties, the most important being participation in Jordan’s third and fourth line hospitals (Liberia), Jordan’s second line hospital (Congo) and the special duty force (Afghanistan). Such involvement has strengthened women’s capacity to assume responsibility and lead and increased the extent of their familiarity with and knowledge and understanding of other armies. Women members of the public security apparatus continue to take part in international peace keeping and security missions. The peacekeeping forces training institute attached to the Directorate of Public Security holds training courses for women police officers before they travel to take part in international peacekeeping missions, on subjects relating to their assignment, including human rights, United Nations human rights resolutions (for example Security Council resolution 1325 and subsequent resolutions) and international humanitarian law, in addition to courses in preparation to taking up leadership positions. Furthermore the United Nations Secretary-General appointed a Jordanian woman as a member of the international commission of inquiry investigating human rights abuses in Libya. A number of Jordanian women hold senior positions in international organizations.

Article 9:


50. Regarding Committee recommendation no. 10, on amending the Nationality Act: The act does not forbid the children of Jordanian women married to foreigners from acquiring Jordanian nationality. A child born to a Jordanian mother may acquire Jordanian nationality, on condition that the child was born in Jordan and the father is of unknown nationality or is stateless or his relationship to the child has not been established in law. Otherwise, formal application of the act in practice does not give children the right to acquire Jordanian nationality. The 2013 list of demands includes amendment of the act to allow a woman who has relinquished Jordanian nationality by virtue of marriage to a foreigner to regain Jordanian nationality whenever she so wishes, without the need to establish termination of the marriage. This will reduce the hardship of a woman who has been abandoned by her husband or whose husband has disappeared and will treat Jordanian men and women equally as regards the granting of nationality to children.

51. Further, the Government is endeavouring to ease the life of the children of Jordanian women married to foreigners by facilitating residence, exempting them from fines and ensuring their right to work and education. In response to the list of demands and the efforts of civil society organizations, the parliamentary initiative group has called for the children of Jordanian women to be granted civil rights and a Cabinet decision has been issued, granting privileges and facilities to the children of Jordanian women married to non-Jordanian men. The children of Jordanian women married to non-Jordanian men will thus be treated as Jordanians with respect to education, health, work, estate, investment and obtaining a driver’s licence (private car). Some 338,444 children from the marriages of some 89,000 Jordanian women married to non-Jordanian men will benefit from the privileges granted. The Passports Act (2013) allows the Cabinet, on the recommendation of the Minister of Interior and in justified humanitarian circumstances, to issue an ordinary passport to the children of a Jordanian woman married to a non-Jordanian man for a fixed period of time (renewable).

Part 3

Article 10:


52. Jordan has put in place a number of education strategies and policies, the last of which was the National Strategy for Education (2009-2013), and has achieved the second development goal – that of universal primary education. This has opened up opportunities to benefit from investing human capital. Moreover, the 2011 constitutional amendments affirmed that primary education shall be compulsory and free for Jordanians in Government schools. To regulate teachers’ union affairs, the Jordanian Teachers’ Union Act was promulgated in 2011. Furthermore, the Ministry of Education budget constituted 12% of the 2013 State budget, 3% more than in 2009. Rates of student enrolment in courses of education have seen an increase at all levels and 30% of the total population are students. The net rate of enrolment in kindergarten is 47.7% of females and 52.3% of males. The Education for All plan seeks to increase kindergarten enrolment to 56% by 2015. There are 1,060 kindergartens attached to the Ministry of Education, each with the capacity to take in 25 pupils. The net rate of enrolment in compulsory primary education in 2012-2013 was 99.1% of females and 96.9% of males. At secondary level, it was 71.3% of males and 83% of females. Work is underway on preparing a bill to amend the Education Act to enforce compulsory education and penalize the parent/ guardian who fails to enrol his child. There are reforms to give the administrative governor the power to follow up with parents/guardians on the issue of school enrolment and drop-out.

53. The percentage of women in the position of section head or above in the Ministry of Education was 13% in 2013, while women formed 61% of school principals. Most primary schools are mixed-sex schools and, consequently, teaching staff tend to be female. Some 74.2% of primary school principals were women and 25.8% men; 67.5% of teachers were female and 32.5% male. The discrepancy is not great at secondary level, with 58.4% of principals being female and 41.6% male; 46.3% teachers were female and 53.7% male. Some 0.23% of female teachers and 0.85% of female administrative staff are disabled. Some 26% of women with disabilities enrolled as students following courses of education, once environmental facilities were installed; the 2013-2017 National Strategy for Women seeks to increase this figure to 35% by 2015. A programme in support of the right to education and training of persons with mental disabilities is being implemented in Ministry of Development centres and in private centres and associations. Each year, 2,000-2,500 cases are given access to support services. Furthermore, support services are to be provided in the home, permitting those with disabilities to live in the community.

54. Females constituted 51.3% of those enrolled at Jordanian universities in 2012-2013 (48.5% in the applied faculties and 53.6% in the theoretical). Females obtain the highest grades in all the branches of the secondary school diploma, enabling them to enrol at university with ease.

Schedule no. 3:

Percentage of female students enrolled at Jordanian universities in academic year 2012-2013, by degree

Postgraduate or professional diploma

Percentage of females

Source: Department of Statistics (DOS), 2012 Yearbook.

Females make up 24% of members of university teaching staff in the theoretical faculties and 45.7% in the applied faculties. In academic year 2013-2014, five women held the position of dean in the faculties of medicine, higher studies, foreign languages, rehabilitation sciences and nursing. Furthermore, at least one woman member sits on the boards of trustees of the public universities. As regards scholarships, female beneficiaries from the educational qualification programme offered by the Ministry of Education make up 43.5% of all those sent to obtain a postgraduate diploma, 32% of those sent to obtain a master’s and 12.5% of those sent on courses overseas.

55. In 2010, a gender section was set up within the Directorate of Policy and Strategic Planning (Department of Planning) of the Ministry of Education, to achieve equal opportunity and fairness between the sexes by preparing training documents, manuals, educational materials and studies, developing indicators on gender, holding educational workshops and analysing and reviewing future programmes. A memorandum of understanding was signed between the Ministry of Education and NCHR to teach women’s rights at all educational levels by mainstreaming human rights concepts in the curriculum. In 2012, the ministry set up the protection and safe environment section, a section to protect children from abuse. The section’s goals were widened to include providing a safe educational environment to regulate social life at school and investing resources in the school and the community to improve and develop the quality of services offered to students, protect them from exposure to violence and abuse and enable them to acquire the personal and social skills to help them carry out their social role at school and in the community.

56. Mixed schools represent 66% of all schools and 48% of Government schools. Pursuant to the adoption of 2003-2012 as United Nations Literacy Decade, the Ministry of Education has striven to establish adult continuing education centres to reduce the level of illiteracy and eradicate it by the beginning of 2020, using both preventive and remedial methods, post-literacy programmes, an academic track, evening and home studies and a vocational track. More literacy centres are being opened, with increased enrolment of women a priority. The ministry has terminated the “District without illiteracy” project, which was clearly successful in combating illiteracy with policies and action programmes providing non-formal adult literacy courses and illiteracy has been almost eliminated among persons in the 15-24 age group. Illiteracy fell in 2012 to 3.5% among males and 9.9% among females, with most cases being confined to the 55-64 age group. Rates of enrolment and continuation in education and literacy programmes are similar between the sexes. In addition, there are policies which stress the compulsory nature of education and promote culture for drop-outs to address and reduce the problem of drop-out – which has not reached the level of a phenomenon – by training and rehabilitating male drop-outs in the 13-18 age group and female drop-outs in the 13-20 age group, enabling them to acquire knowledge, skills and positive attitudes and qualifying them to enrol in the Vocational Training Corporation or complete their studies at home as non-formal students. The Ministry has been successful in curbing the drop-out problem and, in 2012-2013, the rate fell to 0.30, the lowest level globally. An educational development plan – the Knowledge Economy 2008-2015 – has been implemented to provide education for all and provide material support to students unable to meet the indirect costs of education. To overcome problems with the curriculum, Jordan has striven since 2009 to formulate new, developed curricula. In the World Bank report, “The Road Not Travelled: Education Reform in the Middle East and North Africa (2008)”, Jordan was ranked in first place at MENA level.

57. Schedules nos. 4 and 5 show a gap in the enrolment of students of both genders in vocational secondary education and an increase in applications for academic secondary education, due to the widespread belief that academic study will help the student to obtain a higher social status and that it offers better job opportunities. Enrolment in vocational secondary education continues to be influenced by prevalent social stereotyping and assumptions about male and female social roles. Furthermore, the continuing gender divide casts its shadow on applications by female students to vocational specializations, especially in industry, agriculture and the hotel business. Female students focus on more socially acceptable vocational specializations.

Schedule no. 4:

Percentage distribution of students by educational stream (2012-2013)

Students in vocational secondary education as a percentage of all secondary students

Students in academic secondary education as a percentage of all secondary students


Schedule no. 5:

Percentage distribution of female vocational secondary education students by specialization

Type of education
Traditional crafts
Cottage industry
Child care


Source of schedules nos. 4 and 5: Ministry of Education, Information System Management Section.

58. The Ministry of Education is looking into making sport a part of students’ daily life. Sport has been given a boost by the introduction of the King Abdullah II Award for Physical Fitness and, in 2012-2013, girls accounted for 54% of all students taking part. The ministry offers follow-up for students, holding camps for winners and champions, whom it attaches to national teams. The sports curriculum is attentive to the female student and considers her an important aspect of the educational process. It takes the special features of her development into account and attaches importance to the physical, intellectual, social and emotional aspects of her personality, as well as to her needs, propensities, disposition and capacities. Girl students have the opportunity to practice all types of team and individual sports and physical activity. They play football, basketball, handball, volleyball and badminton and take part in athletics at local championship level. Girl students take part in school sports teams and women teachers train teams and referee, manage and organize local school championships.

59. UNRWA helps to educate refugees from grade 1 to grade 10. In 2013, UNRWA had 117,000 students, of whom males made up 51.5% and females, 48.5%. Schedule 6 shows the distribution of UNRWA schools and teachers.

Schedule no. 6:

Distribution of UNRWA schools and teachers (2012-2013)


No. of schools
No. of teachers
2 121
2 299
4 420

Source: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East


As part of the Student Parliament Forum, girl students are instructed in the principles of human rights and political participation to become voters and candidates. The school parliament project is supervised by the Ministry of Education. UNRWA provides schooling free of charge at two intermediate university colleges. The first of these is Wadi Seer Intermediate College, which has 25 female students studying architectural engineering and 30 female students studying computer technology (30% of students). The second is Amman Training College, which offers diplomas in the medical professions, management and beauty; the proportion of females is 85%. At the Faculty of Educational Sciences and Arts/ UNRWA, the proportion of females rises to 90%, due to their superior performance in the general secondary examinations. The training unit holds free courses on the fundamentals and skills of making a job application to enable female graduates to proceed to suitable jobs directly after graduating. The proportion of drop-out from UNRWA schools is 1.9% and a special team is working to formulate a plan to curb drop-out with a programme promoting academic attainment and awareness of the risks of early marriage, as well as a programme to provide an attractive environment for students. Curricula are analysed from the gender perspective and enhanced by the inclusion of enrichment material. Teachers have been trained in how to use this enrichment material to avoid imbalance in the curricula.

Article 11:


60. Jordan has been affected by the global crises and by the situation in the Middle East, particularly the Syrian crisis, and the country is experiencing a rise in unemployment, which reached 12.6% in 2013 (10.6% among men and 22.2% among women). The “Second National Report on Evaluating the Progress in Implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, Cairo 1994 and beyond 2014”, which includes themes relating to women’s issues, shows an improvement in the health, education and political participation indicators but a retreat in indicators of women’s economic participation. The report focuses on the importance of boosting services to support the employment, capacity-building and empowerment of women in the light of the decline in their economic participation and access to and control over resources – which has an adverse impact on opportunities for women’s empowerment – despite the increase in women’s educational level.

61. The Government’s 2013-2016 action programme includes a set of implementing measures designed to empower women, in particular by boosting their participation in the labour market, increasing the participation of women in the production process, raising the rate of economic participation, providing social protection, encouraging women to enter the job market, widening the base of social security coverage (alongside the introduction of schemes to include groups not presently covered), amending legislation to eliminate wage discrimination against women, gradually making health insurance coverage compulsory for workers in companies not covered by other insurance schemes and regulating the provision of financing windows on easy terms for microenterprises to provide job opportunities and create income for the unemployed. This will increase the participation of women in the production process and help to raise their rate of economic participation to 16%. The current labour force participation rate of Jordanians is 37.1% (60.43% of men, compared with 13.2% of women). Of working women, 41.7% are concentrated in the education sector, 14.6% in health, 14.1% in public administration and 6.2% in manufacturing industry. Of all women in employment, 21.4% hold a general secondary school certificate or lower, while 56.7% hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. It is noted that older women have lower rates of participation: 12.0% of the 40-54 age group, falling further to 1.5% of the 55-64 age group. From society’s point of view, women of those ages are not considered to be responsible for assuming the burden of support. Furthermore, 15.1% of employees working without a wage are women. Employment in family businesses is usually seasonal and, being poorly regulated, does not contribute to raising the competence of workers or provide them with training. Female employers and self-employed women constitute no more than 4% of working women, despite the fact that this type of work is suitable for women and allows them to balance work and family responsibilities.

62. The low rate of women’s participation in the workforce is linked to a number of factors, including the poor capacity of the job market to absorb the supply of female labour and the existence of obstacles to women’s access to the economic resources which are available to men. This explains the concentration of female employment in the public sector. There are factors that continue to exclude women from the labour market, including their involvement in marginal employment, low wages and social and economic factors, including discrimination between the sexes as regards retirement age. JCNW, in collaboration with the Social Security Corporation, is seeking to implement programmes to raise awareness of the risks of early retirement.

Figure no. 2:

Percentage of the population aged 15+ outside the labour force by sex and age group (2013)

Source: DOS.

63. Statistics show that, in 2011, there was a gap between the average wages of the sexes of 12.3% in favour of males. The gap is clearly evident in both the private sector (where it is 17%) and in the public sector (11%). A woman receives 57% of the wage of a man in the industrial sector; the gap is less in the services sector (85.85%). It is 40.3% in manufacturing industry, 26.0% in health and social work and 24.5% in education. This gap represents a major challenge, given the high proportion of women working in education. To determine the factors and reasons behind the lack of equality in wages, the National Steering Committee on Pay Equity (NSCPE) was established in 2011, chaired jointly by the Ministry of Labour and JNCW, with representatives of the labour unions, civil society and the public sector, chambers of commerce and industry and the media, and with support from the ILO. The committee’s goal is to promote effective ways of closing the wage gap between the sexes and put international labour standards into practice, particularly ILO conventions nos. 100 and 111. The NSCPE legal committee conducted a study entitled, “Toward equality in wages”, which was put before the members of the House of Representatives in a dialogue session, which concluded that employment legislation needs to be amended. Accordingly, the Ministry of Labour drafted a bill amending the Labour Act for submission to Parliament, containing an amendment to article 72, concerning provision of crèches to look after employees’ children, article 69, which was enacted to protect women but has restricted their employment opportunities and other articles.

64. In 2009, the Higher Council on Population (HCP) produced a policy document on the demographic window, including – given the role of women in bringing about and benefitting from the demographic window – indicators of women’s economic and social empowerment. The document was adopted by the Cabinet in 2010. Furthermore, the HCP produced a document follow-up and evaluation plan. The theme of improving the economic and social situation of women was included in the relevant policies and indicators of the executive development programmes drawn up in collaboration with the relevant bodies by the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation. Thus Jordan goes to great lengths to promote the role of women in economic life. Furthermore, the country participates in international gatherings as a member of the MENA-OECD Women’s Business Forum, which seeks to develop policy and legislation in Member States to increase women’s contribution and support the gender balance in business. In 2011, a national working committee was formed to act as a point of contact, with a membership consisting of representatives of the public and private sectors and businesswomen’s associations. Jordan is one of the 18 States of the region participating in the development of a guide for businesswomen. Furthermore, the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Supply has embraced a scheme to development trade between Arab States, the goals of which include encouraging the role of women and young people in commerce. A number of training courses have been held to promote the products of businesswomen in overseas markets. Furthermore, the National Employment Strategy (2011-2020) has taken into consideration ways of overcoming the large gender gap in employment and the obstacles facing women in the labour market. To develop the businesses and enterprises of women entrepreneurs, particularly micro-, small and medium-size enterprises, licensing instructions for home-based businesses were issued in 2011, pursuant to the City of Amman Business Licensing Act, designed to encourage and enable housewives to engage legally in business from home in a number of economic and professional sectors.

65. At the end of 2013, the Ministry of Labour signed a memorandum of understanding with UN-Women to promote women’s economic participation, strengthen efforts to achieve fairness between the sexes, empower women and provide job opportunities by developing laws and labour market practices, providing a framework of cooperation and monitoring progress. In implementation of a national campaign to boost employment and reduce the unemployment rate in remote regions and pockets of poverty, the ministry launched phase 2 of “national employment days” at the beginning of 2013. This is an initiative to employ women to work from home as part of the solution to increasing their economic participation. Phase 1 of the campaign provided 1,227 jobs in the private sector, of which 57 were in remote areas, after the women were provided with training in life, professional and marketing skills and given the necessary tools and materials. It was agreed to sign an agreement to train and employ 600 women in all governorates in 2014, with the focus on pockets of poverty. More than half (55.8%) of all the jobs created for women in 2012 went to holders of university qualifications, while 2.7% went to illiterate women.

66. The Ministry of Labour, in the form of the Vocational Training Corporation (VTC), has adopted a policy of promoting the participation of women in job-related vocational training programmes through its institutes throughout the country. The VTC provides women with training in trades and specializations which match the needs of the job market and which will enable them to open small enterprises and become self-employed, particularly in remote and poor areas. Additionally, it provides training for the inmates of reform and rehabilitation centres in trades that will help them to enter the job market upon completion of sentence. Furthermore, the VTC provides training for girls with disabilities. Production branches have been opened to employ women in several remote areas. The Employment, Technical and Vocational Education and Training Fund (ETVET), working in collaboration with charities, civil society organizations and the private sector, has supported job-seekers to the amount of JOD 24 million through a number of schemes, including paying part of their wages, granting working women certain privileges, offering incentives to enrol in training (such as waiving training fees) and providing a transport allowance. The proportion of girls enrolled in vocational training programmes in 35.8%

67. A number of regulations and instructions have been issued under the Labour Act, giving female domestic workers more rights, regulating the business of recruitment offices and monitoring their commitment to the law, as well as giving the Minister of Labour the right to close down an office, if it has been proven to have violated the rights of female domestic workers. In January 2013, a regulation concerning domestic workers, cooks, gardeners and similar categories was issued, amending the 2009 regulation and bringing it into line with the Labour Act, international standards and international conventions. Under the regulation, a directorate of non-Jordanian domestic workers’ affairs was created in the Ministry of Labour. Instructions pertaining to female domestic workers reduced hours of work to eight and gave them the right to 14 days annual leave and one day off per week (notifying the employer where leave is to be spent), plus social security coverage. In July 2010, a decision of the Minister of Labour came into force, requiring an employer to open a bank account for a female domestic worker (and provide evidence thereof) and not to withhold her passport, which is to be retained by her. When a female worker transfers to another house, she must present herself before the relevant official to ascertain her agreement and her receipt of all entitlements.

68. To promote the economic participation of women, the Social Security Act (2014) targets all self-employed persons, employers and their business partners. The act, which may be applied to domestic servants and similar categories and to businesses employing less than five persons, is designed to enhance social and economic protection for women, particularly those working in small businesses. Furthermore, the act introduces optional subscription, allowing a housewife to make social security contributions. As a result, the proportion of women subscribing to social security rose from 25% in 2009 to 26.1% in 2014. The act further introduced motherhood insurance, which the Social Security Corporation began to apply in September 2011. This provides incentives for employers to employ women and not dispense with their services in the event that they marry or their entitlement to maternity leave is imminent. Furthermore, Jordan ratified the ILO Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention (No. 102) and is committed to the clauses thereof pertaining to insurance corporation branches.

69. Ministry of Labour inspectors carried out 87 intensive inspection campaigns on recruitment offices to ascertain their compliance with the law and the regulations and to ensure that female workers are not being exploited in any way. Legal measures were taken against offending offices and five were closed for violating female workers’ rights. The inspection committee made visits to qualified industrial zones to monitor overtime work and the conditions of employment of women to ensure that these comply with the Labour Act and the instructions of the “golden list” of companies subject thereto. Businesses employing 20 persons or more were inspected to ensure application of the law with respect to the availability of crèche facilities for the children of female workers – as a result of which some 4,000 jobs in education and childcare have been created to make a child safe environment. The instructions for the licensing of company crèches in the public, private and voluntary sectors lay down relaxed conditions, making it less complicated for an employer to provide a crèche than under the conditions governing commercial crèches. The lack of a suitable place to look after their children is a principal reason for married female workers withdrawing from the job market. In 2013, the ministry approved the licensing of 28 crèches, bringing the total to 902. The inspection directorate launched a programme of night visits to establishments that start work after the official working day to check on companies employing more than the official number of workers and ensuring that there are no incidences of violation of workers’ rights or forced labour, that employment conditions are applied, that no women are employed after 10 o’clock at night, that the workers agree to overtime and the way it is calculated and that occupational health conditions are observed. In 2011, 162 night and instructional visits were made, in the company of interpreters, to raise awareness of foreign workers of their rights and duties and to distribute awareness-raising pamphlets.

70. Given the shortage of inspectors, of whom there were 129 in 2013, numbers are to be increased, with a focus on the training, qualification and capacity-building of inspectors. The Directorate of Workers’ Affairs and Inspection includes the following sections: occupational health and safety, anti-child labour, inspection, and workers’ complaints, which operates a hotline working around the clock to facilitate the reporting of human trafficking in six languages: Hindi, Bengali, Sinhala, Tagalog, Indonesian and Chinese. In 2012, the inspection section of the Directorate of Domestic Workers received 2,297 complaints, which it proceeded to resolve. The directorate carried out 49,463 visits to businesses across the country and took the following legal measures: 3,672 warnings issued, 14,214 violation reports made out and 4,584 workers’ complaints resolved. The inspection directorate accords the qualified industrial zones top priority in terms of continuity and duration of visits, having conducted 11,189 visits and taken the following legal measures: 1,653 warnings issued and 2,531 violation reports made out. Some 5,341 complaints were received, of which 4,584 were resolved. The Ministry of Labour allocates a labour inspector to the embassy of each labour-exporting State to ensure coordination and cooperation with these States so that female workers receive their rights promptly and any pending issues are resolved. In 2012, embassy subcommittees considered 1,110 complaints, most of which were resolved. Some 177 female workers were exempted from residence fines and more than 250 who so wished were repatriated. USD 90,000 of wages due to female workers were received and the situation of 300 was put in order by their return to work with another sponsor.

71. Cases of sexual harassment in the workplace are very limited, although social stigma is the main obstacle to lodging a complaint. The inspection directorate investigates cases when complaints are received or on the basis of international or domestic reports issued by a governmental or private body; a number of incidents have been investigated on the basis of international reports. In collaboration with the “Better work” programme, the Ministry of Labour holds workshops to raise awareness of sexual harassment and train inspectors in ways of dealing with it. Instructional materials on sexual harassment are published in six languages and the ministry is working to raise awareness among employers of the problem of sexual harassment and its adverse impact on work. Specific measures have been formulated to empower and encourage female workers to submit complaints of sexual harassment and register cases with the competent security bodies. The Penal Code punishes sexual harassment committed by a colleague at work and also holds the employer liable, as he is the one in charge of his employees. The Labour Act provides for the additional punishment of an employer by closing the establishment, if he sexually harasses his employees. Furthermore, the code of conduct for public office holders adopted by the Cabinet stipulates that public sector employees interact in a spirit of comradeship, respect the relationship of partnership between men and women at work and uphold the ethics of public office. Under the Civil Service Code, an employee who commits a misdemeanour or felony involving a violation of honour is suspended and his case referred to the public prosecutor.

72. Females constitute 44% of all public sector employees. Women enter employment in this sector because it suits their social situation. There are some 1,240 women in leadership and supervisory positions. A report on gender, law and public policy in the MENA region indicates that Jordan has a high proportion of women in senior positions at public sector middle management level.

Schedule no. 7:

Percentage distribution of grade 1 and 2 female civil service employees by age group (2010-2012)

Age group



Source: Civil Service Bureau.

73. The Civil Service Code (2013) grants male employees paternity leave and female employees a daily nursing hour for nine months after maternity leave, as well as leave for miscarriage. It increases emergency leave on the death of a spouse to 10 days. It stipulates that a pregnant employee shall not be charged with undertaking physical work harmful to her health and that of her unborn child. However, the code does not require the provision of crèches for the children of employees and the family allowance continues to be given to male and not female employees. The regulations on appointment to leadership positions, issued in 2013, guarantee impartiality, transparency, fairness and equality in filling leadership positions, which will increase the presence of women in these positions.

74. In 2012, the total number of persons on scholarship inside the country and overseas was 636, with approximately the same proportion of males (52%) as females (48%). It will be noticed that the number of females on scholarship within the country exceeds the number of males, with women forming 52% of the total. However, females make up 16% and 9%, respectively, of those on overseas scholarships and courses. This gap is largely attributable to factors of societal culture and particular circumstances rather than other factors. Note that there is nothing to prevent women from travelling to take up scholarships, unless otherwise stipulated by the awarding body.

Schedule no. 8:

Percentage distribution of women sent on scholarship, by academic qualification

Professional diploma
Postgraduate diploma


Source: Civil Service Bureau.

75. The theme of human security and social protection in the national strategy for women (2013-2017) deals with women with basic needs and particular challenges and is designed to provide social and economic stability for such women to enable them to achieve self-reliance. In 2011, 25% of women with disabilities were brought into the job market and the strategy seeks to increase this to 32% in 2014. A team of experts has designed a number of innovative projects to help improve the situation of women with disabilities by building an accurate, quantitative database disaggregated by gender for use when preparing plans, projects and policies, as well as when conducting specialist studies to investigate the skills and expertise which women with disabilities have.

76. Furthermore, UNRWA is taking the measures necessary to achieve gender equality in employment and competition for jobs by not discriminating when advertising positions or accepting applications and maintaining balance when identifying candidates who meet the conditions for interview – a while giving priority to recruiting women in the event of members of both sexes being equally qualified – and keeping the gender balance among members of the interview committee (all of these measures have been fully brought into effect).

Article 12:


77. Jordan has witnessed a qualitative transformation in health care and seen increased expenditure on health services. The Ministry of Health budget represented 8% of the State budget in 2013and JOD 157.9 million has been set aside to fund primary health care services in the 2014 budget; JOD 73.8 million of this is for women’s health care. The ministry raised the level of expenditure on primary health care to 19% in 2012 and to 25.3% in 2013. The number of hospital beds was raised to 189.5 per 100,000 people and the number of ministry health centres and clinics across the governorates rose from 1,380 to 1,489. The proportion of the population covered by some type of health insurance was 88% in 2013. Average life expectancy at birth for females reached 76.7 and for males, 72.4, while average family size was 5.4 members in 2012. Fertility among working women fell, leading to a fall in the rate of women’s overall rate of reproduction from 3.8 in 2009 to 3.6 in 2012. This is due to delayed age of marriage, increased use of contraception and women’s pursuit of employment. The rate rises to 4.4 in arid areas, 3.7 in the refugee camps and 3.9 in rural areas, compared with 3.4 in urban areas. The Government’s 2013-2016 action plan seeks to reduce the overall fertility rate to 3.4.

78. A comprehensive health care services policy has been formulated that includes 693 branch, primary and comprehensive health centres, 47 mother and child clinics, 37 dental clinics and 31 hospitals. Furthermore, a number of primary health care plans have been successfully implemented including, the National Population Strategy (2000-2020), National Reproductive Health/ Family Planning Strategy (2008-2012), Ministry of Health Family Planning Strategy (2013-2017) and National Reproductive Health/ Family Planning Strategy (2013-2017). These plans focus on improving the reproductive health/ family planning policy environment, increasing the quality of services provided, fostering the contribution of the private sector and NGOs and raising awareness of and increasing demand for reproductive health services.

Schedule no. 9:

Percentage of users of family planning methods disaggregated by educational level

Contraceptive methods
Above secondary

Use of any method
Any traditional method
Any modern method
Not presently using

Source: Population and Family Health Survey (2012).

79. Early health care for women is fully available throughout the country. The data show that, in the five years up to 2012, 99% of women received early care from a competent health professional (physician, nurse or midwife) during their last pregnancy and more than 8 out of 10 women received health care within two days after delivery. The proportion of women receiving post-natal care at an appropriate time was higher among rural women than urban women.

80. The Government action programme to achieve the fourth and fifth Millennium Development Goals, on making reproductive health services generally available and reducing maternal mortality, contains a raft of implementing measures, including promoting reproductive health and family planning programmes by providing high quality services and information on reproductive health and family planning to ensure the peak demographic window is reached by 2030. To safeguard achievements, the Ministry of Health implemented, in 2011-2012, a safe pregnancy strategy involving the transfer of high-risk cases of pregnancy and fostering feedback mechanisms between hospital and health centre and vice versa to reduce maternal mortality. Leaflets on safe pregnancy are distributed to health centres and many women from remote municipalities and villages classified as pockets of poverty and disadvantaged girls benefitted during the last four months of 2013 from the awareness-raising activities in the field of the “Our health and our comfort is in family planning” campaign, implemented by the family planning promotion project through centres attached to the Ministry of Health, the Jordan Association for Family Planning and Protection, UNRWA and private sector clinics. This complements a previous campaign that made great strides in raising awareness of modern methods of family planning among as large a section as possible of women, informing them about clinics and centres that provide family planning and reproductive health services in general, the importance of monitoring during pregnancy and delivery and of spacing pregnancies, while raising awareness of the adverse effects of consanguineous marriage. Vouchers for family planning services are given free of charge to women who wish to use modern methods, after they have received counselling.

81. The Population and Family Health Survey (2012) indicates that the proportion of women using methods of family planning is 61% in urban areas and refugee camps, 62% in rural areas and 58% in the arid areas. More than 4 out of every 10 women use a modern method obtained from a public source, whether a Government health centre, a mother and child care centre or a Government hospital. Some 15% obtain contraceptives from the private sector, 11% from the Jordan Association for Family Planning and Protection, 10% from UNRWA clinics and 7% from specialist physicians. More than half (54%) of sterilized women accessed the female sterilization service at a Government hospital, while one quarter received the service from medical services. In addition, the coil is provided by all bodies. One of the obstacles facing reproductive health services and family planning is the shortage of female physicians in remote and disadvantaged areas.

82. In 2015, Jordan is seeking to curb the spread of the HIV/ AIDS virus in line with the Millennium Development Goals and major strides have been made in combating the disease, in terms of controlling the risks of transmission from mother to child and reducing or protecting against infection through implementation of the national AIDS control programme (2004-2013), which focuses on preventive measures, particularly as more than 70% of cases are of non-Jordanians who were infected abroad. There are 1,026 cases of infection, of which 283 are Jordanians. The level of infection among males is rising across all age groups. The national AIDS control strategy plan (2012-2016) has achieved the following: created a system of monitoring and evaluation of the national AIDS control programme, provided treatment and prevention programmes free of charge, maintained a low rate of spread, built effective partnerships with governmental and civil society institutions to combat the disease, implemented education programmes, developed the capacities of health staff and civil society institutions and produced educational and training materials and manuals on combating AIDS and sexually-transmitted diseases. There have been insufficient media campaigns on combating AIDS and discrimination against those infected needs to be reduced. Counselling and voluntary testing centres have been set up in the governorates. Great strides have been made in curbing the spread of tuberculosis and fighting malaria. Jordan is considered free of malaria and the cases now discovered are of foreign workers, who are deported.

83. In 2010, there were 941 cases of breast cancer, the most common form of cancer among women, representing 37.1% of cases of female cancers (and 19.8% of all cancers), followed by colorectal cancer (9%). The incidence rate of cancer was 79.4 per 100,000 of the adult population (74 for males and 85.1 for females). A number of awareness-raising campaigns have been launched to encourage early detection of the disease. The last of these was the “Your health matters, let’s get tested” campaign in 2013, which included a media competition in which prizes were awarded to the journalists who produced the best awareness-raising articles on breast cancer. Some 4,184 women underwent a mammogram. Furthermore, the 2012 Kingdom-wide “Promise us you’ll get tested” campaign was a success.

Schedule no. 10:

Number of seminars and number of women benefitting from breast cancer awareness programmes

Underwent clinical examination
Trained to carry out self-examination
Number of instructional seminars
Number of attendees
Referred for mammogram

51 753
50 926
5 602
54 145
4 571
57 756
59 957
6 435
61 359
5 067

Source: Ministry of Health.

84. In 2011, the Jordanian Government promulgated the National Centre for Women’s Health Care Statute, under which the National Centre for Women’s Health Care in Tafilah was established to provide specialist health care services for women. The centre implements training, educational and awareness-raising programmes on the importance of women’s health care and its role in the development of society, conducts research and studies, holds specialist scientific conferences and forums and coordinates with public and private sector institutions locally and internationally. A section in the Directorate of Maternal and Child Health of the Ministry of Health has been created, concerned with the prevention of domestic violence and early detection of cases of violence against women and children. Training and instructional manuals have been prepared and health staff have been trained in detecting, referring and dealing with cases. A special form is being prepared for the reporting and referral of cases of domestic violence.

85. The Ministry of Health provides health and rehabilitation services for the elderly under their health insurance coverage and simplifies procedures for referral to hospital. Training courses are held for ministry staff on the fundamentals of dealing with the elderly and a special section for the care of the elderly has been created. On 18 October 2012, the Cabinet approved the formation of a committee to monitor the Jordanian National Strategy for Senior Citizens and at the beginning of 2014, a “Senior citizens without limits” initiative was launched to occupy the time of the elderly with a number of programmes to improve their memory and health, improve their psychological, social, spiritual and nutritional situation, delay the onset of senility and maintain their intellectual and physical capacities. The initiative focuses on supporting the local community service programme in institutions and ministries by involving pensioners as voluntary labour and creating community schools and universities that focus on promoting local community services in health centres and hospitals, utilizing the energies and special qualities of the elderly, developing pre-retirement programmes, providing home nursing services for senior citizens unable to look after themselves, in coordination with the universities and, in particular, colleges of nursing, and implementing programmes of social integration for the elderly. An initiative to “sponsor the elderly with money and time” was launched. Furthermore, there are initiatives on the part of the National Council of Family Affairs, Ministry of Health and other bodies to boost health and psychological care services for the elderly, as well as a programme coordinated with the World Health Organization (WHO) to establish a number of senior citizen-friendly centres. The cost of residential care for the elderly is borne by the Ministry of Social Development; the ministry adopts a policy of purchasing services.

86. Concerning Committee queries nos. 45 and 46, on the absence of a law protecting girls with mental disabilities from forced sterilization: The Penal Code provides for a punishment of not less than 10 years for each act committed against the body of a person resulting in amputation of a limb or causing permanent disability. The Public Health Act guarantees the right of persons, including those with disabilities, to give full consent to any medical procedure or surgical intervention offered to them and for the consent of parent or guardian to be obtained, if the person is below the age of discretion. The Jordanian Medical Constitution holds physicians legally liable in the event of a medical error affecting the well-being of a person. Furthermore, it is the policy of the National Council for Persons with Disabilities for the disabled and organizations for the disabled to have an active role in decision-making, guaranteeing the civil and criminal protection of their physical well-being and helping to ensure that the council’s ministerial and institutional partners support decision-making by the mentally and psychologically disabled in such a way as to guarantee their right to choose and determine for themselves the medical treatment they receive.

87. The women’s committee of the Higher Council for Affairs of Persons with Disabilities holds workshops to raise awareness of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which has been ratified by the Kingdom, and empower persons with disabilities to obtain their rights. Since 2012, 31 workshops have been held and lectures delivered, targeting 455 families of girls with mental disabilities, as well as special education institutions, on the subject of hysterectomy for girls with mental disabilities. At the same time, families receive counselling on avoiding hysterectomy. In addition, workshops have been held focusing on the criminalization of hysterectomy, targeting the Jordan Medical Association, decision makers, religious leaders and activists across the country concerned with disability issues. The General Iftaa Department issued fatwa no. 194 (2014) outlawing and criminalizing hysterectomy for girls with mental disabilities and ruling that society has a responsibility toward them. This fatwa will come into force once the punishment for violation has been stipulated. Work is underway on amending the law to protect persons with disabilities from violence and women with disabilities from forced sterilization.

88. In 2011, an integrated procedures manual was prepared on the detection, early intervention and diagnosis of disability and health service providers in mother and child centres have been trained how to use it. Persons with disabilities are being empowered to gain access to comprehensive reproductive health services and medical support. Furthermore, awareness-raising programmes have been implemented for adolescents and newly-wed couples. In collaboration with WHO and civil society organizations working in the field of mental health and with the relative participation of persons with disabilities, the Ministry of Health has developed a national mental health and psychiatric treatment policy, adopting a philosophy of greater inclusivity and espousing the principles of human rights and the involvement of persons with disabilities in the decision-making process. Furthermore, a disabled person has been appointed member of the Senate. As regards the social development of the disabled, there are some 270 instructional programmes in place and 585 persons have been rehabilitated physically with medical equipment and appliances financed by the National Aid Fund.

89. On Committee recommendation no. 40: The law considers abortion for medical reasons to be lawful but it is unacceptable religiously and socially in other cases, where the priority is to safeguard the right to life of the foetus. However, women who have been raped resort to unsafe abortion, especially in cases of incest. This area needs to be reviewed and the legality of abortion during the first days of pregnancy looked into. New-born illegitimate children are placed in care homes attached to the Ministry of Social Development. Under the Civil Status Act, they are given new names chosen by the registrar; the father’s and mother’s names are not stated on the register of births either singly or together, except at the written request of one or both of them, supported by a definitive judicial ruling, in which case the mother’s name is stated and the registrar chooses an assumed name for the father. If the real name of the parents of an illegitimate child are not stated before the birth is registered, one or both parents may acknowledge parentage by means of a written statement supported by a definitive judicial ruling. If the parents are in a degree of consanguinity precluding marriage or the mother is married but the child is not her husband’s, the registrar is forbidden to state the name of the father or mother either singly or together, even if requested to do so.

90. UNRWA provides health services and primary health care free of charge to Palestinian refugees registered with the agency in Jordan (of whom there were 2,110,114 in 2012), through 13 health centres located in Palestinian concentrations outside the camps and 12 centres inside. Treatment services are provided free of charge and include general and specialist clinics, laboratories, radiology, dentistry and physiotherapy, as well as preconception services and prenatal and postnatal services at all health centres. Screening for high-risk pregnancies is provided, as well as health care for infants in the 0-5 age group, including monitoring growth, inoculations and therapeutic intervention when required. In 2012, 25,857 pregnant women were registered to receive pregnancy care in UNRWA clinics, of whom 74% were in the first three months of pregnancy. Pregnant women made an average of 5.4 visits, from conception until delivery. Some 99.7% of pregnant women were vaccinated against tetanus. 100% of deliveries took place under health supervision, with 99.9% taking place in a health facility. Screening is carried out for complications during pregnancy, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and anaemia, as part of a comprehensive and integrated health care programme. Appropriate therapeutic intervention is carried out as required. UNRWA seeks to cover all births in hospital under an agreement with the Ministry of Health. In 2012, 90.5% of registered pregnant women received postnatal care. Family planning services are provided by the family planning unit and take the form of raising awareness of family planning and prenatal and postnatal health counselling for women and men. Some 39,612 women regularly make use of the family planning service. The percentage use of family planning methods, which are provided free of charge is: coil (38%), hormone pills (33%), condoms (25%), vasectomy (1%) and hormone injections (3%). In 2012, the average size of refugee families in Jordan was 5.5. The rate of infant mortality was 22.6 per 1,000 live births and the rate of maternal mortality was 22.4 per 100,000 births.

91. A health care service is provided to female Syrian refugees in the Zaatari camp by civil society organizations, in collaboration with international bodies and donor organizations. Three clinics have been opened to provide reproductive health services, including prenatal, perinatal and postnatal care, family planning, gynaecology and health education; acute cases are transferred to hospital. Comprehensive reproductive health care services for women are also provided at the Cyber City, King Abdullah Garden and Emirati Jordanian camps. Deliveries are referred to clinics or hospitals. The Noor Al Hussein Foundation raises awareness of reproductive health, family planning, the risks of early marriage, the dangers of sexually-transmitted diseases and other issues. At comprehensive reproductive health clinics – both static and mobile – in the towns and villages of the Kingdom, civil society organizations receive Syrian refugees and Jordanians seeking mother and child care, reproductive health care and prenatal, perinatal and postnatal care for women. Cases are treated or referred to Government hospitals, if necessary. All methods of family planning are available, as desired, after information is provided on the merits of each.

92. To coordinate services, a committee on reproductive health for Syrian refugees has been formed, staffed by representatives of the Ministry of Health and organizations working in the field of reproductive health. A subcommittee has been formed in Zaatari camp to identify and monitor cases, needs and priorities. Furthermore, the Ministry of Health has formed a committee to coordinate and improve services, provide health professionals to attend to refugees in the northern governorates and provide mother and child services in Zaatari camp. The services for refugees provided at all Ministry of Health centres include inoculation campaigns, particularly against infant poliomyelitis. To raise reproductive health awareness, courses and workshops are held for staff of NGOs, who are supplied with instructional and awareness-raising material on reproductive health. The Ministry of Health receives cases referred from reproductive health care centres. 100% of deliveries take place under medical supervision and no cases of mortality among female Syrian refugees in the camps have been recorded.

Article 13:

Elimination of discrimination against women in other areas of economic and social life

93. A measure is before Parliament to amend the civil and military retirement acts permitting, inter alia, a retired and widowed female employee to combine her pension with her entitlement to her husband’s pension. Under the provisions of the Social Security Act (2014), the pension of a deceased women who dies while in receipt of a retirement pension or while still working and paying contributions is inherited in full by the beneficiaries (as a man’s pension is), including her husband, if he is disabled and unable to work, and passes in full to her children and parents, if the husband is not entitled to a share thereof. The amendment allows a widow to combine her full share of a retirement or invalidity pension which passes to her from her husband with her work salary and her share of retirement and invalidity pensions which pass to her from her parents and children. A daughter who receives a retirement or invalidity pension shall have the right to combine this with her share of a retirement or invalidity pension which passes to her from her parents. The resulting share continues to be paid to the female in her capacity as beneficiary, regardless of her age, as long as she is unemployed or unmarried. In addition, a mother is granted a share of her deceased son’s pension unconditionally. The provisional Personal Status Act (2010) provides for the establishment of a court-awarded alimony fund for women, particularly widows and divorcees who are unable to collect. However, the necessary regulations to put the fund’s provisions into effect have not been issued.

94. A number of bodies are engaged in strenuous efforts to support the poorest women and female breadwinners and the Government has devoted considerable attention to the financing of micro, small and medium-size enterprises to serve the poorest section of the population and the middle class. This helped to reduce the poverty level from 18.6% to 14.4% in 2010. Women obtained 19.6% of the total number of agricultural loans granted (representing 12% of the total value of all loans). A loan guarantee scheme of USD 250 million has been put in place to encourage banks to finance credit-worthy small and medium-size enterprises, support job-creating enterprises in the governorates and promote women’s ownership of such enterprises.

95. A number of bodies have helped to surmount the obstacles which limit the capacities of women and the potential for women’s participation in the production process and employment:

95(a) Women represent 60% of the total number of heads of households benefitting from the National Aid Fund. Most are in rural and arid regions and receive monthly financial assistance. In 2012, the target base increased and more women were included within the scope of financial aid programmes. There are now five key target groups of women: widows, orphans, women with no provider for themselves and family, divorced women and their children and the families of absentee or absconding men. The sum allocated for women in 2012 was JOD 39 million, which is set to rise to around JOD 42 million in 2016. The income of families with a sole female breadwinner was reappraised such that a housewife’s monthly income of less than JOD 150 from employment or from a handicraft or business she operates from home is not considered as family income and thus has no effect on the assistance to which she is entitled. A maximum of 40% only of the income of a working widow is recognized as family income in the public and private sectors.

95(b) Through branches across the Kingdom, the Microfund for Women finances and expands small enterprises and reaches out to the needy in disadvantaged areas. Women represent 97% of fund beneficiaries. Furthermore, the fund offers non-financial services, such as education, business development, social services, capacity-building, incentive programmes and insurance to cover year-round and seasonal financing.

95(c) The Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development provides revolving loans at low interest and with convenient repayment terms to women’s associations and rural women to support productive family enterprises. These amounted to 65% of the total number of loans in the period 2011-2013. The fund also provides training and capacity-building for borrowers in the skills necessary to manage productive enterprises, including marketing, packaging and labelling, and accounting, while encouraging innovative ideas for new, competitive and non-traditional enterprises.

95(d) The National Microfinance Bank contributes to the success of the national strategy to reduce the problems of poverty and unemployment by increasing the productivity of owners of small enterprises – particularly women – and improving their living standard. The bank provides sustainable financial services to meet the needs of micro- and small-size enterprises and grants loans without collateral or security. It accords particular attention to women’s contribution to development and women constitute 88% of borrowers. Some 60% of loans are granted outside Amman in order to reach a larger section of the target population. In addition, the bank provides a number of other services to enable clients to access greater marketing opportunities for their products and supports them with the training skills necessary to manage their businesses. The bank will launch a new initiative to train 100 young men and women in the areas of empowerment, entrepreneurship and combating poverty.

95(e) The Development and Employment Fund granted loans to the value of JOD 24 million in 2013, providing more than 8,000 jobs. This 32% increase in the amount of its lending compared with 2012 was the result of the fund’s adoption of a policy of carrying out field work to ascertain the needs of citizens in the remote governorates, arid regions and pockets of poverty in order to make optimum use of special funding programmes to reduce the problems of poverty and unemployment. The fund plays a role in enabling target groups to obtain access to the finance necessary to establish small and medium-size production enterprises, with the goal of achieving sustainable development in the tourism, handicraft, commercial, service, alternative energy and food processing sectors, as well as in charitable and cooperative production enterprises and enterprises to empower women. In 2013, actual results were 104% higher than planned. Rural and desert areas received 48% of all loans and women made up more than 50% of total recipients. Loans in Amman governorate did not exceed 21%, due to financial incentives for schemes outside the capital, low credit facilities (murabaha) offered by the fund of between 3% and 5% per annum and the acceptability of multiple collateral alternatives to enable all target groups without exception to have access to finance.

95(f) The Agricultural Credit Corporation grants loans to promote agricultural development. The corporation’s programmes and plans include financing special projects for women designed to combat poverty and unemployment in rural and arid areas. Out of the total number of loans granted in the years 2010-2013, the proportion granted to women was 37%, 33%, 33% and 33%, respectively. Out of all loans to enterprises, the proportion granted to rural women for various enterprises was as follows: agricultural resource management (phase 2) in the southern governorates to promote the role of women in diversifying sources of family income: 83% up to 2013; a small loan scheme to set up small, income-generating family projects: 56% (the scheme continued up to 2013 as part of the easy measures to involve women in agricultural employment); the healthy village scheme, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, to empower women economically and socially by granting agricultural loans, particularly to female-headed households, and creating small, income-generating projects: 46% up to 2013; the fertilization by irrigation scheme (2011-2014), which finances agricultural projects to preserve the environment and improve the quality and quantity of agricultural production by increasing the efficient use of irrigation water and fertilizers and training farmers in their optimum use: 9%; and the River Yarmouk basin agricultural resources management scheme: 55%.

95(g) The Jordan River Foundation seeks to empower women in remote, poor and disadvantaged regions, undertaking to integrate women socially and economically in the development initiatives it implements, create economic opportunities to take advantage of their capacities as an additional source of income to set up their own projects, provide training and capacity-building and provide access to information and financial resources. The foundation allocates funds to local community organizations run by women to enable them to set up income-generating projects and grants renewable loans to women entrepreneurs. At the end of 2013, the foundation and UN-Women founded a women’s economic empowerment project in Mafraq governorate, bringing together 22% of the poorest women. Levels of poverty are very high, particularly among female-headed households. The foundation has set up a unit to combat violence against women, providing psychological and social care for battered women.

96. UNRWA’s Relief and Social Services Programme helps to mitigate the severity of chronic poverty and promote food security for the Palestinian refugee community. The agency’s social security network seeks to provide food and cash support. In 2013, approximately 11,875 poor families benefitted from the programme; 35% of the heads of these families were women. In 2010, UNRWA changed the assessment method it uses to determine entitlement to the social security network and the programme now targets families living under the chronic poverty line, without discrimination, taking into account age and gender. To empower women, a system of dealing with gender-based violence is applied. Staff of the relief and social services section and the education and health section are trained to deal with cases and refer them to various UNRWA sections and partner bodies. Furthermore, UNRWA handles dispute between spouses over receipt of financial support or support in kind from the relief section in such a way that the woman can receive it, if she has lodged a complaint with the relief section stating that her husband does not provide her with financial support for the children. UNRWA has granted 3,683 small loans under its microfinance programme to empower women economically. A feature of the programme is that it does not require the woman to provide a male guarantor.

97. In 2010, the Jordanian National Forum for Women founded a women’s development centre to empower disadvantaged Iraqi and Syrian refugee women and Jordanian women, offering professional, social, health and psychological assistance to a large number of women, improving their standard of living by providing the appropriate tools and vocational training and granting loans to women and girls to enable them to access job opportunities or set up enterprises. In addition, the centre offers awareness-raising, instruction, education, self-empowerment and advice.

98. Women take part in all sporting activities. Women’s football has achieved a qualitative leap forward and the national team of 23 players appears on the FIFA world ranking, winning the inaugural Arabia Women’s Cup – “on the road to Germany”. The national team will take part in the finals of the Asia Cup and the training staff continue to monitor players’ readiness and prepare the team to perform well. Jordan has been chosen to host the 2016 FIFA under-17 Women’s World Cup (6th edition), giving women’s football a boost and launching a positive wave of support for the development of women’s football, especially among girls. All the institutions of State have expressed their willingness to support this event, in the wake of achieving the first goal of qualifying for the finals of the Asia Cup and the finals in China, followed by reaching the play-offs. Jordan is the first women’s team to achieve success in the World Cup qualifiers. The women’s handball team will take part in the 2014 Asian championship and 2015 Arab games. Women’s basketball teams have participated in local and regional championships, while women have won gold medals in fencing at regional level.

Article 14:

Rural women

99. The Ministry of Agriculture has taken positive steps toward promoting the role of rural women in development and has adopted two themes to achieve this goal. The first theme involves holding training courses in production skills and women’s role in development. The main courses are those on management, marketing, accounting and the use of technology in project management. Note that the proportion of women receiving training in agricultural topics has risen to approximately the same as that of men. The second theme involves improving women’s economic and social conditions. Positive steps taken to achieve the two themes include: (1) the introduction of the “healthy villages” community initiative programme in remote areas and pockets of poverty, with 15 craft courses held in various fields; (2) a 25% increase in women’s involvement in decision-making positions in village councils and cooperative associations; (3) an increase in the number of cultural, information and instructional programmes for rural women on women’s role in the family and society and on women’s rights, as well as the inclusion of gender issues in agricultural decision-making and literacy programmes; (4) 80% of rural women have access to courses on capacity-building, development topics, women’s empowerment and communication and networking skills.

100. In collaboration with the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the Ministry of Agriculture has formulated a strategy to mainstream gender issues in ministerial policy, projects and programmes and in rural development, and to update the measures and activities designed to reduce the problems faced by women in agriculture and increase their economic participation. The unemployment rate among women in rural areas was 24.2% in 2013 and women in rural areas own only 3% of agricultural land due to a lack of the financial resources necessary to purchase land. Women own 12% of livestock, 8% of poultry and 5% of agricultural machinery. The Ministry of Agriculture has implemented schemes for rural women, such as a home garden project, a project to raise the income of poor rural families and the food security unit. Some JOD 5.7 million was allocated to the anti-poverty programme in the 2014 budget, an increase of JOD 0.5 million over 2013. Allocations for the construction of homes for poor families increased to JOD 1.5 million and the number of beneficiary families rose to 120, compared with around 100 in 2013.

101. There has been a growth in social development services provided by civil society institutions. In 2011, the number of registered charities working in poor areas rose to 85 and the number of individuals and families for whom the poverty gap narrowed increased to around 85,970. The proportion of females benefitting from training courses offered by the Development and Employment Fund each year has risen to 78%. To narrow the gap between regions, the Government launched an initiative in 2011, founding the Governorate Development Fund with capital of JOD 150 million. Also launched were a governorate executive development programme (2012-2014) and a human resources and human capital investment development strategy for governorates remote from the capital. These involve establishing universities, allocating scholarship funds and offering a special admission track for graduates of less advantaged schools, which suffer from a poor educational environment. The Ministry of Labour implements a number of projects to encourage economic opportunities for women and enhance their role in the labour market. The most significant of these are the young women’s project (to employ young women from remote areas) and the production branches project (to transfer certain production branches of several large factories to areas where there is a large population of young women to make it easy for them to reach the workplace).

102. In 2010, the poverty level among females was 7.4%, compared with 6.9% among males; at national level, the figure was 10.4%. Disaggregated by the sex, the figure was 9.5% among male-headed households, compared with 0.9% among female-headed households. The level rose among families in rural areas to 13.1%, while it was 9.9% among families in urban areas. Poverty is higher among females in the countryside than in urban areas due to the size of rural families, a lack of jobs locally, limited basic social services and a high level of illiteracy among female heads of household compared with male heads of households. Female-headed households constitute 13.7% of families (14.1% in urban areas, compared with 11.3% in the countryside).

103. The Coordination Commission for Social Solidarity, working in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme, conducted a study on the impact of trade agreements on poverty and employment over the 2009-2013 period. The commission has prepared a guide for organizations working in the field of social cohesion, outlining its mission, goals, operational strategy, future plans and target groups. Specialist studies have been conducted on aspects of the fight against poverty, including studies on aspects of poverty in Jordan from the gender perspective, women’s issues and economic empowerment.

104. The Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development implements intensive environmental and economic training programmes to enable rural women in pockets of poverty to acquire vocational skills that can be readily applied in income-generating production enterprises, such as training in dressmaking, clothes design, food processing and recycling schemes. The natural resources management programme takes an interest in women and seeks to promote women’s pivotal role in the process of economic development and their positive impact on the environment. Women, particularly rural women heads of households, are targeted by projects and activities that seek to improve their standard of living by building capacities and providing training in a range of skills including, making use of greywater/sullage, recycling domestic waste, providing energy and food security, profiting from a domestic garden and digging domestic wells.

Part 4

Article 15:

Legal capacity and equality with men before the law

105. The Jordanian Constitution guarantees everyone the general and absolute right of recourse to the law. Under article 256 of the Civil Code, persons injured – male or female – have the right to seek compensation for damages. The Evidence Act contains no provision that accords the testimony of women a different legal value from that given to the testimony of men. Indeed, the testimony given by a woman in the civil courts is equal in legal force to that of a man. The movement of persons and freedom to choose place of residence is guaranteed under article 9 of the Jordanian Constitution (2011, amended), which stipulates: No Jordanian may be deported from the territory of the Kingdom. No Jordanian may be prohibited from residing at any place; be prevented from movement; or be compelled to reside in a specified place, except in the circumstances prescribed by law.

106. The social and economic changes which Jordan has witnessed, including the general improvement in the position of women, have played an essential role in creating the conditions which have brought about emancipation from inherited traditions and prevailing customs, which very often involved the denial of a woman’s rights to inheritance. The data for 2012 indicate that there has been an increase in women’s ownership of real estate assets. Women constitute 9.2% of all landowners, 19.5% of apartment owners and 43% of owners of securities. Annual rental income from property was as follows: for females, JOD 1,581.6 and for males, 1,565.5, while transfer income was: JOD 2,881.0 for females and JOD 1,755.7 for males – indicating a gap in favour of women in both sectors. The property income of females was JOD 120.9 and of males, JOD 167.2, indicating a gap in favour of males.

107. On Committee observation no. 49, that separation of property may involve discrimination against women: The separation of property between spouses means that a husband has no authority over his wife’s disposal of property. This was affirmed by the International Islamic Fiqh Academy (an offshoot of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation) in a decision stating: The financial independence of a women means that no-one has authority over her property and her financial responsibility. A woman has full legal capacity and complete and independent financial responsibility. She has absolute right under the provisions of the Shariah over what she earns in the course of her employment. Her wealth is her own and she has the right of ownership and right of disposal over what she owns. A husband has no authority over his wife’s property and she does not need the permission of her husband to acquire and dispose of property. Furthermore, Jordanian legislation regulating the rights of property and inheritance is devoid of any discriminatory provisions against women or any restrictions on her legal capacity and right of ownership or inheritance. None of its provisions allow her to be deprived of these rights.

Article 16:

The elimination of discrimination against women in all matters relating to marriage and family relations

108. In relation to Committee recommendation no. 10, relating to review of the reservations to article 16.1(c), (d) and (g) of the Convention: These recommendations failed to meet with Jordan’s approval before the Human Rights Council on the grounds of their incompatibility with Islamic Shariah, pursuant to the justifications presented in the fifth report and previous reports. Given the current decline in support for women’s rights in many of the States of the Middle East and North Africa and in an endeavour to preserve gains, given that the women’s movement is facing calls to renounce the Convention, the Jordan Islamic Scholars League sent a letter to the speaker of the House of Representatives calling upon the house not to approve lifting the reservations to the Convention, on the grounds that they violate Islamic Shariah. Accordingly, the issue of lifting the reservations has to be dealt with very sensitively and gradually, in a manner that balances the promotion of women’s human rights with the obligation to reject whatever contradicts the provisions of Islamic Shariah.

109. The Personal Status Act (2010) deals with the substantive and procedural provisions relating to marriage and specifies competence to marry at 18 years of age. In certain specific cases, with the permission of the judge and approval of the supreme judge, marriage at 15 is allowed – but not under that age – as long as the groom has the financial capacity to support his bride and pay the dowry, that their marriage has recognized benefit and that the consent and free choice of the bride be ascertained if the groom is more than 20 years older than she is. It is permissible to stipulate conditions in the marriage contract as long as these do not contradict Shariah, such as her right to work or pursue her education after marriage. However, unofficial practices and societal pressure or culture can prevent a women from exercising these rights. A number of official and non-official bodies are engaged in raising awareness of this. Furthermore, the act reduces the burden of proof in cases of discord and dispute. It sets out rules for polygamy. Further, it invalidates the assignment of immovable, inherited property without making a transfer transaction in the name of the testator prior to registering the assignment document and it regulates the rules for registering assignment documents to include the period which must expire between the death of the testator and assignment of the estate. The act raises to 15 the age to which the mother retains custody of a child; thereafter the child chooses which parent (s)he wishes to stay with.

110. Act 279 of the Penal Code sentences to a term of imprisonment any person who conducts or is a party to the conducting of a wedding ceremony that is not in accordance with the provisions of the Personal Status Act. The instructions on granting permission to marry for those under the age of 18 contain rules, one of which states that the marriage shall not be polygamous or adduced as a reason for primary education to be discontinued. A 2012 statistical report from the Supreme Judge’s Department revealed that, of marriages registered with the Shariah courts, 12.6% were of girls under the age of 18. It is noteworthy that the lowest figure was recorded in Tafilah governorate. The average age of first marriage among females has risen to 25.9 years and among males, to 30 years (source: DOS, 2012). The UNFPA State of World Population 2013 report discusses marriage among female Syrian refugees in Jordan and an opinion survey found that the most appropriate and socially acceptable age for girls to marry is between 15 and 18, particularly in rural areas. As they do not document the marriage contracts of minors, concerted national and international efforts are needed to raise awareness of the risks of these practices and protect refugees from exploitation.

111. The 2013 list of demands recommended the need to: review the provisions relating to mandated wills to include the right of the children of a daughter who dies before her father to inherit from the estate of their grandfather, the same as the children of a son who dies before his father; increase the compensation for arbitrary divorce, particularly when the wife is of advanced age after years of married life; address the subject of property held jointly by the spouses and division thereof upon divorce; and have the Iftaa Board issue a fatwa cancelling or minimizing the significance of the judicial decision of the Shariah Court of Appeal not to recognize the testimony of a woman whose head is uncovered and is unveiled in personal dispute cases.

112. The Shariah Enforcement Act (2013) has been promulgated and the 2006 Act repealed. The act expands the concept of writ of execution implemented by Shariah courts to cover, in addition to summary rulings and decisions, (1) agreements issued or ratified by the Shariah courts between parties involving a right and (2) peremptory foreign rulings, for the purpose of facilitating acquisition of rights and avoiding resort to litigation. Furthermore, the act facilitates enforcement in general.

113. On polygamy: In the previous report, reference was made to amendments to the Personal Status Act requiring the judge to ascertain the financial capacity of the husband, advise the wife of the polygamous marriage contract and inform the bride that the groom is married. In fact, most cases of polygamous marriage occur in the light of de facto separation between man and wife and while waiting for the court to issue a separation ruling. Statistics of the Population and Family Health Survey (2012) indicate that 5% of marriages are polygamous.

114. On recommendation 50(d): Under the Civil Status Act, a woman retains her maiden name. Furthermore, the legislation on inheritance by women is derived from Islamic Shariah, which adopts the principle of fairness in respect of division of inheritance, not the principle of absolute equality, and is part of an integrated equation. Thus a daughter receives one-half of the share of a son in one established case, while a woman’s share of inheritance may exceed that of a man’s in more than six cases. Furthermore, a woman’s share is equal to a man’s share in six other cases. There are cases where a woman inherits from a deceased man, while a man does not inherit. Legislating for inheritance in this manner ensures a woman’s right. The provisions on inheritance are set out in the Personal Status Act, which was submitted for discussion and received widespread national acceptance and approval. As regards the prohibition on a Christian woman inheriting from her Muslim husband, we note that a man, too, is prohibited from inheriting from his Christian wife. Two spouses cannot inherit from each other if they are of different religions. However, this has no religious basis and civil law needs to take another look. It also needs to consider allowing a bequest to a wife in excess of her mandatory hereditary share. A working wife is entitled to financial support on two conditions: that her employment is legitimate and that the husband consents explicitly or implicitly to her employment. A husband may not revoke consent to his wife’s employment without legitimate reason unless she has suffered harm.

115. By instigating divorce unilaterally, a man undertakes to assume all the financial consequences thereof. The Personal Status Act grants a woman the right to apply for divorce of her own accord. Furthermore, she is permitted to stipulate in the marriage contract that she may divorce whenever she wishes, while retaining all her rights arising from the marriage contract. She has the right to separate for a number of reasons, including: disconcerting sexual or physical failings on the part of the husband, desertion, abstinence, impotence, failure to provide financial support or pay the advance dowry, sterility or reason of for discord or dispute.

Article 126 of the act stipulates that any harm done to a woman constitutes grounds for applying for separation. Such harm could be physical, such as harmful actions or words, or mental. Mental harm is shameful or immoral conduct or behaviour constituting moral abuse of the woman or a violation of marital rights and duties. The woman’s word alone may be relied upon and there is no need to resort to the customary methods of proof. Under article 232 of the act, a mother may act as executor for a minor, whether or not she has custody of the minor. Shariah court records indicate that a majority of women act as executors for a minor. Note that an executor, whether a man or a woman, may dispose of the minor’s property only with the court’s permission.

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