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Regional instability undermining Jordan’s efforts to boost women’s rights, representative says

By JT - Feb 18,2017 - Last updated at Feb 18,2017

AMMAN — Jordan faces many challenges in its efforts to maintain its achievements in promoting women’s rights, Jordan’s Representative to the UN Office at Geneva Saja Majali said on Friday, noting that regional instability has negatively affected development efforts.

Majali made these remarks during the 66th session of the UN Committee on the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) to review Jordan’s sixth periodic report, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported. 

She said the Kingdom is the second largest host to refugees, estimated at 1.4 million Syrians, who constitute 21 per cent of the Kingdom’s population.

A total of 655,344 Syrians are officially registered with the UNHCR as refugees, 76.8 per cent of whom are women and children, she added.

Syrians under the age of 17 are estimated at 236,304, some 170,000 of whom are at schools and some 24,000 others are enrolled in private education, Majali explained.

Jordan is committed to all international conventions on human rights, especially women’s rights, and CEDAW, she stressed.

The representatives also reviewed constitutional amendments and new laws that the Kingdom endorsed to boost women’s rights, such as the 2015 military retirement law, which guaranteed equal pension rights, and granted women the right to receive her own pension and a share of her dead husband’s pension at the same time.

The 2014 Social Security Law allowed the disbursement of a dead woman’s pension among her heirs, and allowed a widow to combine the money she receives from her dead husband’s pension and her own salary, Majali noted.

She also referred to the 2016 by-law on vulnerable women care centres, which includes the procedures necessary to protect women from violence and rehabilitate women who were subject to sexual violence or death threats under so-called “family honour cases”, Petra added.

The representative said the government has prepared a 2025 social and economic vision that addresses women’s empowerment, in addition to having a 2016-2019 government executive programme that aims at narrowing the gap between genders.

In terms of the political empowerment of women, the number of women in the Lower House has reached 20 members, constituting 15.4 per cent of the total number of 130 lawmakers, Majali said, adding that 10 women have been appointed senators in the 65-member Upper House, also constituting 15.4 per cent.

The Council of Ministers includes two women ministers, constituting 7 per cent, she said, adding that the Decentralisation Law stipulates a 10 per cent quota for women in local councils. 

As for the judiciary, she said that women’s representation in courts increased from 6 per cent in 2009 to 18 per cent in 2014, with 174 female judges, whose number increased to 189 in 2017.

 

She noted that the government has a plan to increase the ratio of women judges to 40 per cent.

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