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Abolition of Article 308 receives local, international praise

By Rana Husseini - Aug 02,2017 - Last updated at Aug 02,2017

Lower House members vote to abolish the controversial Article 308 of the Penal Code on Tuesday (Petra photo)

AMMAN — HRH Princess Basma on Wednesday praised the abolition of Article 308 by the Lower House of Parliament a day earlier, saying it was a “long awaited achievement” for women in Jordan.

“The abolishment of Article 308 today [Tuesday] and the amendment of Article 98 are long awaited achievements for the rights of Jordanian women and for all Jordanians who stand for justice and equality,” Princess Basma posted on her Facebook page.

“My warmest congratulations to everyone who worked so hard, as well as those whose convictions helped to bring about this historic milestone in the rule of law,” Princess Basma added.

On Tuesday, after a heated 30-minute debate, the Lower House voted to abolish the controversial Article 308 of the Jordanian Penal Code, which allowed sexual assault perpetrators to escape punishment if they married their victims.

The draft Penal Code in general, and Article 308 in particular, were subject to impassioned debate under the Dome, within civil society and among government officials, with many calling for the complete scrapping of the article from the Penal Code.

Activists and civil society groups staged a sit-in outside Parliament before the session began on Tuesday morning to reiterate their demands for the complete abolition of the controversial article.

Several women activists representing 63 local organisations took to social media to organise a campaign lobbying the Lower House to abolish Article 308, rather than adopt any amendments.

They also circulated an electronic petition calling for the cancellation, which was signed by over 5,000 people.

A Royal committee had suggested abolishing the article in February and the government endorsed the decision shortly afterwards.

Since the decision was announced, several international human rights organisations have hailed the latest developments regarding Article 308.

Equality Now (EN) described the abolishment of Article 308 by Parliament as a “huge step forward, continuing the global movement to hold rapists accountable for their crimes”.

“Women and human rights organisations, parliamentarians and Equality Now have worked for years to make this happen,” EN said in a statement.

The US-based organisation added: “Let’s hope this momentum is going to inspire Lebanon, Bahrain, Iraq, Palestine and Kuwait to follow suit in repealing sex discriminatory laws.”

Amnesty International also hailed the vote, saying in a statement that “it was a long overdue step in the right direction for the Kingdom of Jordan”.

“While this offers a much-needed glimmer of hope for women’s rights in the region, there is still a long way to go. Other countries must immediately follow suit and abolish these absurd laws,” Amnesty said in its statement.

The Senate on Wednesday approved the Penal Code, including Article 308, as it came from the Lower House.


The Penal Code will now need to be endorsed by a Royal decree then published in the Official Gazette.

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