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Women’s shelter for targets of ‘honour crimes’ to open ‘soon’, ministry says

By Rana Husseini - Feb 15,2017 - Last updated at Feb 15,2017

AMMAN — Ministry of Social Development officials on Wednesday said a shelter for women, whose lives are in danger for reasons related to “family honour”, will soon be established.

“We are currently examining the ministry’s facilities to designate one for the shelter. This is a short-term solution,” the ministry’s spokesperson, Fawaz Ratrout, told The Jordan Times.

He explained that the building’s location will be temporary, because the “ministry plans to either buy or rent a temporary building for the shelter and this will take up to two years”.

The next step, the spokesperson added, “is to draft instructions on how the shelter will be run and who will be received at the premises, since legislation was issued two months ago”.

As it stands now, any woman whose life is in danger for reasons related to so-called “family honour”, if the authorities know about her, is placed in a women’s correctional facility by the administrative governor in what is termed “protective custody”.

Many of these women spend indefinite periods in custody, sometimes for over 10 years, without any charge and are unable to leave without the administrative governor’s permission, according to activists.

An average of 30 women could be imprisoned at any point in time, on some occasions being bailed out by male relatives, only to be killed “to cleanse the family’s honour”, activists have said.

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

For years, activists have been urging the government to open a special facility that would house these women and provide them with both safety and freedom.

The shelter will be connected with other governmental and non-governmental organisations “which will refer cases that come to them seeking help to the shelter”, according to the ministry official.

Ratrout stressed that “women in need of such shelter will be admitted willingly”.

Director of Social Protection at the Ministry of Social Development Moawiah Massadeh, told The Jordan Times in a previous interview that the projected shelter could house up to 50 women.

The facility will be managed by the Ministry of Social Development in cooperation with the administrative governor and the Family Protection Department affiliated with the Public Security Department (PSD).

The house will be protected by the PSD and there will be female police officers present.


Government officials have said the shelter will be established because of “the Kingdom’s commitment to human rights conventions and clauses that stipulate finding alternative methods of protecting women whose lives are in danger”.

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