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Shelter to open Monday for women whose lives are in danger

By Rana Husseini - Jul 27,2018 - Last updated at Jul 27,2018

AMMAN — A first-of-its-kind guesthouse for women whose lives are threatened in relation to the so-called family honour violence will open its doors next Monday, Minister of Social Development (MoSD) Hala Lattouf said.

The opening ceremony will be held under the patronage of Prime Minister Omar Razzaz, according to Minister Lattouf.

"The building is ready to receive cases and will be officially inaugurated by the prime minister on July 30," Lattouf told The Jordan Times.

The instructions to run the guesthouse have been published in the Official Gazette on May 31, finalising the legal process related to the almost three-year project that was initiated by the MoSD, Ministry of Interior, the Public Security Department, local NGOs led by Mizan Law Group for Human Rights and other relevant government entities.

Lattouf added that the ministry-run guesthouse has been  furnished and staff members “have been properly trained to deal with the cases in the best manner”.

Around 40 female employees affiliated with the MoSD have undergone special capacity-building training in May so as to be ready to deal with newcomers and manage the facility.

In previous interviews with The Jordan Times, Lattouf has said that the ministry’s main priority was “to ensure the safety and security of these women”, saying “they are our responsibility and we need to take good care of them”. 

Around 35 women are currently in jail at the Jwaideh Women’s Correctional and Rehabilitation Centre, for indefinite periods and without any charges in what is termed “protective custody”, according to officials.

Many women in “protective custody” spend periods that sometimes exceed 10 years, during which they cannot leave the facility without the administrative governor’s permission, according to activists.

The new instructions stipulate that “women whose lives are in danger are entitled to be admitted to the guesthouse willingly at any time and during holidays, after being referred by the administrative governor”.

Most of the women in protective custody are kept for involvement in cases of rape, adultery and incest, where they might be the victims, or for leaving the family’s home voluntarily.

On some occasions, women were reportedly killed after being bailed out by family members, even after guarantees had been signed to inflict no harm on them. Around 20 women are murdered annually for reasons related to “cleansing family honour” in Jordan.

The guesthouse will be obliged to receive women, open files for them to document their cases under strict security and provide them with the necessary legal, psychological, social, medical and recreational services, according to the instructions, which noted that the guesthouse can also receive children accompanying their mothers who are six years old or younger.

The services will be terminated in the event that women do not wish to stay, cause threats to other women residing in the guesthouse or if the problem of a given guest is resolved and there is sufficient evidence that her life are no longer in danger. 

Workers in the shelter will be evaluating cases and make necessary recommendations accordingly, as the instructions stipulate.

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