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JD1m allocated to build shelter for ‘honour crime’ victims

Around 40 women now behind bars under ‘protective custody’; some have been there for years

By Rana Husseini - Aug 24,2017 - Last updated at Aug 24,2017

AMMAN — Minister of Social Development Hala Lattouf on Thursday said that JD1 million has been allocated by the government to open a shelter for women whose lives are in danger due to reasons related to “family honour”.

“We have received JD1 million from the government to help us open the long-awaited shelter for women whose lives are at stake,” Lattouf told The Jordan Times on the sidelines of a one-day workshop held to discuss proposed regulations for shelter.

In December 2016, the government published the text of a by-law governing the facility in the Official Gazette.

Interior Minister Ghaleb Zu'bi and Lattouf acted as patrons at the event, which was held by Mizan Law Group and supported by the EU. The workshop was attended by MPs, senators, government officials, police officers experts in social and protection work as well as representatives from concerned civil society institutions.

Lattouf stressed that the ministry wants to open the shelter as soon as possible because “we want to ensure that Jordanian women whose lives are in danger receive the proper protection and services they deserve”.

She added that the ministry is also working on the by-law governing sheltering facilities, along with the civil society, including Mizan Law Group, “so that when the shelter opens, the rules under which it will operate will be in place”.

The ministry has placed ads in various newspapers for bids to “find the suitable building and work on preparing it to receive women”, the minister announced, stopping short of revealing when the shelter will be open.

“The ministry will wait for bids and start work on locating a building as soon as possible”.

Currently, any woman whose life is in danger for reasons related to so-called family honour, and whose case is known to the authorities, is placed at the women’s correctional facility by the administrative governor in what is termed as “protective custody”.

Many of these women spend indefinite periods in the centre, sometimes exceeding 10 years, without any charges levelled against them. The women cannot leave the facility without the administrative governor’s permission, according to activists.

On some occasions, women were reported to have been killed once they are bailed by family members who had not signed a guarantee not to inflict harm on them. 

Currently, there are around 40 of these women who are detained at Jweideh Correctional and Rehabilitation Centre for Women, according to Colonel Abdullah Masarweh from the Correctional and Rehabilitation Administration at the Public Security Department.

“Most of the women who are in our facility are locked up by the administrative governor on cases such as rape, adultery, incest and for going missing from home,” Masarweh told the gathering.

The Executive Director of Mizan Law Group Lawyer Eva Abu Halaweh, whose organisation has helped release over 60 women from protective custody with the help of other organisations and the relevant government agencies, told the gathering that establishing the shelter “will ensure fair and just protection for women who are spending indefinite periods in prison”.

“We are hopeful that the shelter will contribute to minimising the number of women who are killed in Jordan for reasons related to family honour because it will encourage them to report any threat as they will now have safer alternatives,” Abu Halaweh told participants.

Around 20 women are murdered annually for reasons related to “family honour” in Jordan.  


The participants are expected to come up with recommendations that will shape the instructions governing the shelter, Halaweh told The Jordan Times.

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