You are here

Children of Jordanian women and non-Jordanian fathers ‘still struggle for basic rights’ — HRW

Report outlines impediments that make even obtaining promised services an uphill battle

By Rana Husseini - Apr 24,2018 - Last updated at Apr 24,2018

Women rights advocates and Human Rights Watch representatives meet the press to release a report on non-Jordanian children of Jordanian mothers in Amman on Tuesday (Photo by Rana Husseini)

AMMAN — Children born to Jordanian women and non-Jordanian fathers still struggle to obtain basic rights and services in the Kingdom, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report released on Tuesday.

Due to a law that denies women the right to pass citizenship to their children on an equal footing with men, these children are treated as foreign nationals their entire lives, with no permanent right to live or work in the country, HRW said during a joint press conference with the Jordanian National Commission for Women (JNCW).

“This is one of the women movement’s main demands as the current laws are strictly discriminatory against Jordanian women,” JNCW Secretary General Salma Nims stressed, noting that some of the obstacles facing these families include difficulties to obtain work permits.

“The government offered around 200,000 Syrian refugees unconditional work permits, while around 300,000 members of Jordanian families whose fathers are not Jordanians have to go through several hurdles and long procedures before obtaining a work permit. Where is the justice here for our children?” Nims asked.

At the press conference, HRW released the 64-page report entitled “I Just Want Him to Live Like Other Jordanians: Treatment of Non-Citizen Children of Jordanian Mothers”, in which the watchdog details the ways Jordanian authorities restrict the rights of non-citizen children of Jordanian women to work, own property, travel from and return to Jordan, enroll in higher education and access government healthcare and other services. 

The report was based on over 50 interviews with Jordanian women, non-citizen children, government officials and activists, as well as a comprehensive review of the relevant Jordanian laws, regulations and decisions. 

“By preventing women from equally passing nationality to their children, authorities are forcing hundreds of thousands of children into a life of near destitution,” said HRW Middle East Director Sarah Leah Whitson in a press release, adding that the “announced reforms have failed to meaningfully improve their lives, proving that half-measures are no alternative to citizenship”.

In 2014, the government had pledged to ensure the proper application of the “privileges” the government had granted to children of Jordanian women, provided that their mothers had been living in Jordan for a minimum of five years, for at least 180 days per year.

These included the rights to residency permits, applying for a driving licence and owning property, as well as educational, health, labour and investment services.

But HRW and local activists have insisted that the “privileges” that are expected to ease restrictions “had fallen far short of expectations”. 

The multiple forms of exclusion and discrimination non-citizen children face often lead to severely diminished prospects for future and place undue economic and social burdens on their families, the HRW and local activists claimed.

When the government announced the “privileges” almost three years ago, then interior minister, Hussein Majali, said that all 355,923 children of Jordanian mothers and foreign fathers registered with the Civil Status and Passports Department would benefit from the decision, HRW said. But by February 2018, authorities had “issued just over 72,000 special ID cards, fewer than 20 per cent of those eligible”, according to HRW. 

In addition, some people are still not able to obtain their identification cards because they are unable to meet the long list of required documents or afford the financial cost to have them issued, said Hiba Zayadeen, the author of the HRW’s report. 

“Others are refused because of the requirement that their mothers have to legally reside in Jordan for at least five years before they apply and in some instances they endure some JD700 to get the official ID that is only worth JD3,” according to Zayadeen.

Individuals and entities who oppose granting citizenship to family members of these women, particularly those with Palestinian husbands, say the measure will only lead Israel to implement its “ultimate plan of creating a substitute homeland for Palestinians in Jordan”. 

Palestinians, except Gazans, who became refugees after the creation of Israel on Palestinian land, and those who were living in the West Bank when it was occupied by Israel in 1967, have been granted Jordanian citizenship.

However, activist and lawyer Hala Ahed said this was a “weak excuse because offering the Jordanian citizenship to Palestinians who are waiting for the right of return does not mean that they abandoned their rights”.

“Even if the Palestinians in this case get the Jordanian citizenship, they still have the full legal right to return to Palestine. This excuse by the entities that oppose our efforts is not justifiable,” Ahed said.

Aroub Soboh from “My Nationality is the Right of My Family” stressed at the end of the press conference that demands of full citizenship rights for spouses and children of Jordanian women would continue.

“Our position is clear. We want full citizenship for families of Jordanian women married to non-Jordanians, and we will never back up from our original demands,” Soboh said.

up
75 users have voted.

Comments

I really want to know what rights do we have as Jordanians other than paying our blood to the government's!

ONCE EVERY YEAR, WE HEAR AND READ THE SAME STORY WHILE THE TORTURE, HUMILIATION AND BASHING OF JORDANIAN WOMEN ON THE BASIS OF GENDER AND FALSE RELIGIOUS DOCTRINE CONTINUES. CAN ANY LAW MAKER, LEADER, OR INFACT ANY LIVING HUMAN BEING EXPLAIN THIS POLICY?. THIS IS A COUNTRY THAT WE GIVE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS EVERY YEAR BUT LOOK THE OTHER WAY AGAINST WHAT CAN BEST BE DISCRIBED AS BARBARIC POLICY, LIFE IN THE DAYS OF SLAVERY, BONDAGES AND TERROR AGAINST WOMEN. CAN THE ENTIRE WESTERN WORLD TELL ME THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THIS AND THE REASONS WHY WE GANG UP ON IRAN AND OTHER COUNTRIES THAT TORTURE THEIR CITIZENS? WE ARE FIGHTING IN SYRIA BECAUSE WE WANT TO SAVE THE SYRIANS FROM OPPRESSION AND REPRESSION. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THIS POLICY IN JORDAN AND OTHER REPRESSIVE COUNTRIES IS THE MEANS USED AND NOT THE EXPECTED OUTCOME BECAUSE IT IS THE SAME. ABUSES TAKES DIFFERENT FORMS AND SHAPES FROM MENTAL TO PHYSICAL TORTURE. ST JOHN SAID, " HE CAME UNTO HIM AND HIS OWN RECEIVED HIM NOT " AND IF THIS IS TRUE, ONE CANNOT IMAGINE HOW JORDAN CAN SEE THE LIGHTS AT THE END OF THE ROAD AFTER ABANDONING ITS OWN. FROM THE TOP TO THE BOTTOM, HOW MANY JORDANIAN MEN ARE MARRIED TO NON JORDANIAN WOMEN AND HOW MANY EXCLUDING MISSTRESSES AND CONCUBINES? THEY ALL HAVE DUAL NATIONALITIES AND GREEN CARDS AND YET THEIR ENTIRE FAMILIES ARE FULL JORDANIAN CITIZENS. YES, MY COUNTRY AND MOST OTHER WESTERN COUNTRIES KNOWS ABOUT THIS TORTURE BUT TURNED A BLIND EYES WHILE ENGAGING IN WARS AGAINST THOSE THAT REPRESS THEIR CITIZENS. MY FRIENDS IN JORDAN SHOULD NEVER FORGET HISTORY FROM WHEN WE NEEDED SADDAM TO WHEN WE FINISHED WITH HIM SO THIS BLIND EYES WILL AT SOME POINT END AND QUESTIONS WILL BEGING TO FLY ARROUND ABOUT WHO DID WHAT AND WHEN. THIS OPPRESIVE AND REPRESSIVE HUMILIATION OF JORDANIAN WOMEN CAN NOT BE JUSTIFIED BY ANY RELIGION, RACE OR REGRESSION. FROM ECONOMIC POINT OF VIEW, THESE WOMEN PAY TAXES, WORK FOR THE GOVERNMENT ONLY FOR THE SAME GOVERNMENT TO USE THEIR MONEY AND RESOURCES TO WIPE THEM. DONT THESE WOMEN DESERVE THE SHARE OF THEIR NATIONAL CAKE?. IT IS NOT FUNY OR JOKE TO EVEN BE TALKING ABOUT THIS DIRTY AND URGLY STROY OF SEGREGATION, STRATIFICATION AND STRANGULATION OF YOUR WOMEN AND GIRLS. UNFORTUNATELY, THOSE JORDANIAN WOMEN THAT HAVE TAKEN THIS VOW OF OBEY AND FOLLOW HAS FORGOTTEN THAT INFECTIOUS DISEASES KNOWS NO BOUNDRIES BECAUSE THEY ARE EQUALLY GETTING THEIR OWN DOSES OF THE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCIES OF THIS POLICY. SHAME TO THE WEST THAT HAVE CONTINUED TO FUND WOMEN BASHING, INDERECT GENDER SELECTIONS AND OTHER FORMS OF DISCRIMINATIONS THAT DIRECTLY VIOLETS OUR OWN LAWS IN THE USA AND WEST. THE TIME HAS COME WHEN MY COUNTRY MUST APPLY ONE RULE OF JUSTICE ALL OVER THE WORLD FROM GAZA TO ALL THE REPRESSIVE POLICIES IN THE WORLD. MAN IS A MAN IN A SOCIETY AND MAN OUTSIDE ANY SOCIETY IS EITHER A BEST OR A GOD AND WE ALL ARE THE CHILDREN OF GOD WITH THE SAME VALUES OF HUMAN RIGHTS. BY THE WAY, WHY ARE THE JORDANIAN WOMEN NEGOCIATING THEIR GOD GIVEN RIGHTS THAT ARE ACCEEPTED AND RATIFIED BY ALL NATIONS? WITH MICKY MOUSE NEGOCIATIONS AND OUTCOMES EVERY YEAR WHILE THE BIG GOES ON IS LIKE THE PALESTINIAN PEACE PROCESS THAT HAS LASTED FOR OVER FIFTY YEARS. IF THIS POLICY IS NOT CHANGED BEFORE OUR NOVEMBER ELECTION, I WILL MAKE SURE THAT IT BECOMES THE LITMUS TEST FOR THE SENATE AND COGRESSIONAL SEATS AND ITS VERY EASY TO DO.
WE ARE IN THE " DOT-COM " GENERATION WHICH CAN ILLUMINATE AND AMPLIFY THIS EXPLOSIVE POLITICAL ISSUES IN THE USA UNIVERSITY CAMPUSES ALL OVER THE STATE AND LOTS OF WOMEN WILL HEAR ABOUT IT. ONE SHOULD NOT FORGET THE ROLE THAT THE UNIVERSITY CAMPUSES PLAYED IN SOUTH AFRICA. I AM ALSO CONSIDRING A TWIT TO PRESIDENT TRUMP TO CONSIDER HOLDING THE FEETS OF OUR FRIENDS TO THE SAME FIRE AS SYRIA AND NORTH KOREA. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH NOT JUST BECAUSE IT AFFECTS MY FAMILY BUT REMIND ME OF THE URGLY HISTORY OF SLAVERY AND HOW THE CARREBIAN COUNTRIES SUFFERED IN UK UP TILL NOW AS I AM WRITING THIS ARTICLE TODAY.
LAST BUT NOT THE LEAST, THE NEW WORLD ORDER IN JORDAN THESE DAYS IS " PAY TO PLAY ". THINK ABOUT THIS, MONEY BUYS CITIZENSHIPS TODAY IN JORDAN BUT SENDS BLOOD RELATIVES TO EXILE. REFUGEES BRING FOREIGN HARD CURRENCY FROM DONORS TO FUND PAY TO WORK AS MANY REFUGEES IN JORDAN TODAY ARE MORE DISERED, ACCEEPED AND PARTICIPATES IN THE JOB MARKET FULLY AND FREELEY BUT YOUR BLOOD RELATIVES ARE SENT ON EXILE. SHAME TO US ALL FOR MAINTAING THE CODE OF SILENCE.

UNACCEPTABLE. FULL STOP. GIVE CHILDREN BORN TO JORDANIAN WOMEN MARRIED TO SO CALLED FOREIGN MEN, THE SAME RIGHTS AS JORDANIAN MEN, WHEN THEY MARRY 4 FOREIGN WIVES!

Add new comment

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
9 + 3 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.

Newsletter

Get top stories and blog posts emailed to you each day.