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Activists plan sit-in over rights of Jordanian women married to foreigners

Protesters denounce government’s ‘empty promises’

By Rana Husseini - Jul 16,2017 - Last updated at Jul 16,2017

Activists have staged over 75 sit-ins in various parts of the country since 2009 for rights of Jordanian women married to foreigners (Photo courtesy of ‘My Mother is Jordanian and her nationality is a right for me’ Facebook page)

AMMAN — Families of Jordanian women married to non-Jordanians are due to hold a new sit-in demonstration at the Prime Ministry on July 26 to protest the government’s “failure to meet its pledges in granting full citizenship rights,” organisers said on Sunday.

“The government made many promises in previous months to ease our lives, but nothing really happened and we are suffering at most governmental institutions,” said Rami Wakeel, one of the lead campaigners of “My Mother is Jordanian and her nationality is a right for me”.

Wakeel said that children of non-Jordanian fathers are still suffering “when being issued driving licences, residency and work permits”.

“The government’s promises are just illusions. In reality, we are still suffering and nothing is changing,” he told The Jordan Times.

Amman Third District Deputy Khalid Ramadan, who has previously joined the group’s demonstrations, said he and other deputies have been “following up on the demands with several government agencies, but to no avail”.

“It is obvious to us that the government is backing off from the pledges made by the previous government and it is mainly due to the bureaucratic procedures and carelessness on the part of official government agencies,” Ramadan told The Jordan Times.

The MP urged the group to take to the street and protest because “it is their right and because we are unable to do anything since the government is not responding to our demands”.

In 2014, the government pledged to ensure the proper application of the “privileges” the government granted to children of Jordanian women, provided that their mothers had been living in Jordan for a minimum period of five years, for at least 180 days per year.

Some of the privileges included providing residency permits, applying for driving licences and real-estate ownership, as well as availing of benefits in the educational, health, labour and investment sectors.

Protesters have repeatedly complained that government agencies are not recognising the official identification documents that were issued to the children of Jordanian women married to non-Jordanians. 

Others complained about their inability to donate blood to their loved ones, to enroll in public universities, which has instead forced them to enroll in expensive private universities, and highlighted the hurdles and restrictions they face when travelling abroad and reentering the country.

Most protesters said that the identification documents issued by the Civil Status and Passports Department (CSPD) were “useless” and “not acknowledged by many government institutions”.

The demonstrators have staged over 75 sit-ins in various parts of the country since the late Nimeh Habashneh started the campaign on Facebook in 2009. 

Government officials have previously stated that there were 88,983 Jordanian women married to non-Jordanians, mostly Gazans, and that these families have 355,932 children registered with the CSPD.

Palestinians, except Gazans, who became refugees after the creation of Israel on Palestinian land, and those who were living in the West Bank when it was occupied by Israel in 1967, have been given Jordanian citizenship.

 Women’s rights activists have been demanding that Jordanian women be allowed to pass on their citizenship to their children and spouses for years, a right that only men enjoy.

 

Individuals and entities who oppose granting citizenship to family members of these women, particularly those with Palestinian husbands, say such a measure will only lead Israel to implement its “ultimate plan of creating a substitute homeland for Palestinians in Jordan”.

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