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Gov’t ‘committed’ to cooperating with civil society on human rights — Momani

By Rana Husseini - Jun 30,2016 - Last updated at Jun 30,2016

AMMAN — The government on Wednesday stressed the need to strengthen collaboration with civil society to safeguard human rights in the Kingdom.

“The Jordanian government is committed to safeguarding the human rights of all citizens, and the best way to do it is through strong collaboration with civil society,” said Minister of State for Media Affairs Mohammad Momani, who was representing Prime Minister Hani Mulki.

However, the minister, who is also government spokesperson, criticised foreign organisations that issue “inaccurate and inconsistent reports about the human rights situation in Jordan and at the same time ignore the achievements in this regard”.

“That is why we truly value the reports that are issued by the local organisations, because they are much more accurate although not all their recommendations are applicable,” Momani told civil society representatives.

The government’s coordinator on human rights, Basil Tarawneh, said the meeting gathered members from the government coordination team with civil society representatives concerned with human rights issue to exchange views and listen to their remarks.

“This is one of many meetings that our office is conducting to discuss civil society’s views and comments on the status of human rights in Jordan,” Tarawneh told representatives of 150 government and non-governmental organisations and institutes.

The government coordinator said the aim is to enhance legislative and political practices related to human rights in Jordan.

Tarawneh stressed the need to work on implementing the two-year comprehensive national plan on human rights and “this entails regular meetings with civil society and the responsible government agencies”.

The government drafted the plan in cooperation with the National Centre for Human Rights, civil society institutions and professional associations, and views it as a roadmap created through a participatory approach, according to officials.

The plan focuses on civil and political rights; economic, social and cultural rights; and protecting the rights of vulnerable groups.

Civil society representatives attending the meeting complained of the Societies Law, saying it was “hindering their work and they are unable to obtain funding because of the conditions imposed by the government”.

Momani said the government is aware of the issue and had discussed the law three times, and decided in the end to post it online to receive feedback from the civil society.

“We do realise that the law is not the best, but we have to organise the work of non-governmental organisations and I believe we can reach a middle ground eventually,” the minister asserted.

Other civil society representatives called on the government to acknowledge the international conventions that the Kingdom has signed in courts and other aspects of life “so they will not remain ink on paper”.

Momani responded by pledging to follow up on this matter with the concerned authorities.

Tarawneh stressed at the end of the three-hour meeting that the government will “continue to adopt transparency in dealing with human rights issues through true partnerships with civil society to address negative aspects”.

 

“All the issues expressed in today’s meeting will be conveyed to the prime minister by Minister Momani,” Tarawneh emphasised.

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