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Experts debate merging of children’s rights upcoming law, Junevile Law

By Ana V. Ibáñez Prieto - Apr 26,2018 - Last updated at Apr 26,2018

AMMAN — The National Council for Family Affairs (NCFA) on Wednesday held a workshop aimed at discussing the draft law on children’s rights, raising controversy among the participants over the possibility of integrating the new act within the Juvenile Law. 

The dialogue comes in the framework of Jordan’s preparations for the submission of the latest report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva next year, following the committee’s 2014 recommendation to the Kingdom to pass a law on the rights of the child. 

For Social Development Minister Hala Latouff: “The goal of this dialogue is to come up with the most appropriate formula in the best interest of all children in Jordan and the ministry is keen on listening to all sides to achieve a comprehensive law that effectively protects children.”

 UNICEF representative in Jordan Robert Jenkins pointed out that “the adoption of a law on children means moving forward from theoretical principles on the rights of the child to the creation of a legally binding document”, noting the need to “address imbalances in other laws and issues such as early marriage”.

The judges present at the workshop supported the idea of merging the draft law on children’s rights with the Juvenile Law, explaining that the integration of both acts is an opportunity to "address the gaps present in the current Juvenile Law". 

Judge Nasser Salamat called for the integration of both laws, pointing out that “since its adoption, the Juvenile Law has suffered from a lack of clarity”.

However, several participants expressed concerns over the time it would take to ratify the new law in the event of a merge, stressing that the first draft of the law was issued in 1998.

NCFA Secretary General Mohammad Miqdadi warned that the merging of both laws might take up to three years, further delaying the implementation of the bill. 

Instead, participants called for separate amendments to the Juvenile Law based on its current gaps, and the transfer of those items related to the protection of children to the draft law on children’s rights in order to avoid the intersection between both bills.

"The existence of a common ground between the two laws does not justify the merge,” Judge Ashraf Omari stressed, noting that “several other laws include content related to children, and merging all of them into one single bill is not possible”.

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