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TITLE:  JORDAN HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1993
DATE:  JANAURY 31, 1994
AUTHOR:  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
  
                      JORDAN


According to the 1952 Constitution, Jordan is a hereditary 
monarchy in which the King forms and dismisses governments, may 
dissolve Parliament, and is the ultimate arbiter of domestic 
and foreign policy.  In practice, the King sets the broad 
parameters of foreign and domestic policy while the Prime 
Minister and the Council of Ministers exercise management of 
daily affairs.  The Parliament--consisting of a 40-member 
Senate whose members are appointed by the King and an 80-member 
lower house whose members are elected--is subordinate to the 
executive branch.  

The General Intelligence Directorate (GID) and the Public 
Security Directorate (PSD) have broad responsibility for 
internal security and wide powers to monitor segments of the 
population thought to pose a threat to the security of the 
regime.  Although the Government revoked martial law directives 
in 1991, important elements of martial law, such as the broad 
scope of police powers, remain operative.

Jordan has a mixed economy, with government participation in 
key sectors, including industrial production, transportation, 
and communications.  The country has few natural resources and 
one of the highest population growth rates in the world. 
Jordan's stance during the Gulf war caused Arab Gulf states to 
suspend flows of financial aid.  Nevertheless, the economy 
continued to show surprising strength in 1993, growing by a 
projected 6 to 7 percent.  Growth during this period is in part 
attributable to the investment of repatriated savings by 
returnees from the Gulf.  Jordan continues to remain highly 
dependent on foreign assistance and remittances from its 
nationals abroad.  The Jordanian economy was adversely affected 
by a reduction of exports to Iraq, a major trading partner, as 
a result of United Nations' sanctions against Iraq.  The 
unemployment rate was at least 14 percent for the year, while 
the inflation rate moderated to approximately 5 percent.

Jordan continued to show progress in liberalizing the country's 
political system.  As a result of the legalization of political 
parties in 1992, 20 political parties, running the gamut of 
leftist, centrist, and Islamist conservative parties, were 
licensed in 1992 and 1993.  The King ratified a change from the 
previous bloc-voting system to a "one person, one vote" system 
in August.  On November 8, 1992, the Government of Prime 
Minister Abd Al-Salam Al-Majali supervised the country's first 
multiparty parliamentary elections since 1956.  While there 
were some minor irregularities on polling day, international 
and domestic observers agreed that the parliamentary elections 
were essentially free and fair.  Nevertheless, citizens still 
do not have the right to change their government.  Other 
continuing human rights problems included the broad scope of 
police powers, abuse of prisoners, prolonged detention without 
charge, lack of fair trial in some security cases, official 
discrimination against adherents of the Baha'i faith, and 
restrictions on women's rights.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

There were no reports of such killings.

     b.  Disappearance

There were no reports of disappearances.

     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
         Treatment or Punishment

Despite the Government's denial that torture occurs and the 
Legal Code's requiring humane treatment of prisoners, physical 
abuse of prisoners during interrogation and detention continues 
to occur.  Lawyers often do not receive timely access to their 
clients in cases involving state security, and this lack of 
access makes confirmation of abuse in specific cases 
difficult.  The most frequently alleged methods of torture or 
maltreatment are sleep deprivation, beatings, and subjection to 
the "falaqa" (beatings on the soles of the feet).

Defense lawyers in the trial of six military cadets and two 
civilians accused of plotting to assassinate the King charged 
the security services with torturing the suspects during 4 
months' incommunicado detention from April to August (see 
Section 1.d.).  Although the State Security Court approved the 
defense lawyers' September request for medical examinations to 
determine if physical or mental torture was used by GID 
interrogators, the judges did not release the results of the 
physician's October examinations until mid-November.  As of 
December, the "Mu'tah" trial proceeded without an official 
court ruling on the allegations of torture.  A forensic 
specialist and a military doctor testified in early November 
that they found no evidence of physical or mental 
maltreatment.  (The GID claims that detainees are routinely 
provided medical examinations during detention.)  The defense, 
however, challenged the testimony and alleged that, since the 
doctors were government employees, they were vulnerable to 
government pressure.  The military judge rejected the defense 
request to provide its own doctor to examine the detainees.  
Amnesty International and the Arab Organization for Human 
Rights investigated the allegations of torture but reserved 
judgment until the verdict was reached and the anticipated 
appeal process completed.  The Government gives the 
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) full access to 
detainees.  ICRC representatives have had full and unimpeded 
access to the suspects detained in the Mu'tah case throughout 
the trial.  

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

Most persons are arrested and held in accordance with the 
Criminal Code, which requires filing of formal charges within 
10 days.  This period of detention may be extended if a court 
approves the Prosecutor General's renewable request for 10-day 
extensions.  The Ministry of Justice is responsible for 
monitoring cases to ensure that persons are charged on a timely 
basis.  In many cases, however, repeated requests by the 
prosecution for 10-day extensions of a suspect's 
detention--which can result in months of incarceration without 
charge--are routinely granted.  Notification of arrest and 
access to legal counsel are provided on an inconsistent basis 
during the detention period.  Notification and access are less 
likely to be provided in so-called state security cases.  

The practice of prolonged detention without charge continued in 
1993, especially in "security" cases.  After obtaining an 
arrest warrant, the GID detained persons without formal charges 
or trial for indeterminate periods.  The Government detained a 
number of Islamists in 1993 for alleged affiliation with or 
membership in an illegal political organization, the Islamic 
Liberation Party (Hizb Al-Tahrir Al-Islami), which advocates 
the violent overthrow of the Jordanian Government, the 
abrogation of the Constitution, and the adoption of Islamic law 
as the foundation of the State.   Several--including party 
leaders Ata Abu Rishteh and Bakr Al-Khawlidah--were released 
after almost 6 months in incommunicado detention.  There are 
unconfirmed reports that up to 10 Hizb Al-Tahrir party members 
remained in detention without charges at the end of the year.  
Eight Islamists involved in the Mu'tah case (see Section 1.c.), 
charged with plotting to assassinate the King and with 
membership in the outlawed Islamic Liberation Party, were held 
incommunicado from the time of their arrest in late April until 
defense lawyers were granted access by the State Security Court 
in late August.  Throughout that time, the suspects were denied 
visitation by family members, human rights representatives, and 
legal counsel.

Governors may order arrest and detention under a law 
authorizing them to do so in order to prevent a crime.  As an 
example of this practice, human rights monitors cited the case 
of a Jordanian man arrested in September and detained for
1 week without charges upon the instruction of the Governor of 
Amman, allegedly to prevent his participation in antipeace 
process demonstrations.

The Constitution prohibits the exiling of Jordanian citizens, 
and the Government does not engage in the practice.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

The judicial system consists of civilian courts, which hear 
most criminal cases; the Appeals Court; the State Security 
Court, which replaced the Martial Law Court in 1991; religious 
courts; and special courts, including one that deals 
exclusively with disputes involving government agencies.

In the civilian courts, trials are open, except in a few cases 
such as those involving sexual offenses.  Defendants are 
presumed innocent until proven guilty and are entitled to have 
counsel, to question witnesses, and to testify.  Defendants 
facing the death penalty or life imprisonment must have legal 
counsel; if they cannot afford or do not want counsel, the 
Government must appoint representation.  Decisions may be taken 
to the Appeals Court.  

Religious courts have jurisdiction over such family matters as 
marriage and divorce.  The Shari'a Court handles all family and 
religious cases involving Muslims.  Other courts handle similar 
matters for members of the main Christian sects (Greek 
Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant).  Shari'a laws are 
generally applied in matters of inheritance, regardless of the 
religion of those involved.  

Observers continue to express concern about the impartiality of 
the judiciary, citing low judicial salaries and strong tribal 
affiliations as undermining the court system.  Observers have 
also raised concerns about the impartiality of military judges 
who preside over security cases in the State Security Court 
prosecuted by military lawyers.

The State Security Court comprises a minimum of three judges.  
While either civilian or military judges may serve, the use of 
military judges in security cases has prevailed in recent 
years.  State Security Court procedures give rise to concern 
because of the routine denial of private, unimpeded access to 
lawyers in the pretrial period and the absence of the right of 
appeal.  A State Security Court sentence of death or 
imprisonment of more than 10 years must be reviewed by the 
Court of Cassation (the highest court) within 30 days.  
Although the State Security Court is theoretically open to the 
public, in practice, courtroom access is restricted to official 
guests, journalists, and a limited number of family members.  
Embassy officers have been allowed to attend sessions.  

Under the State Security Court Law ratified in January, all 
Security Court decisions may be appealed to the Court of 
Cassation.  Unlike the previous law, which allowed the Supreme 
Court to review only the application of the law, the new code 
permits the court to review witnesses' testimony, the evidence 
presented, and the State Security Court's decision.  Most 
important, the appeal of State Security Court cases must be 
reviewed by a civilian--rather than a military--panel of 
judges.  As of the end of the year, the appeal procedures had 
remained untested in sensitive state security cases such as the 
"Mu'tah" case.  Claiming that no one is currently serving a 
prison term solely for political views, the Government denies 
that it holds any political prisoners.  Following King 
Hussein's general amnesty in November 1992, approximately 50 
prisoners remain in prison who were convicted in military 
courts of crimes committed in pursuit of political aims; the 
charges in these cases included arms possession and terrorism, 
but in at least some of these cases the legal proceedings did 
not meet international standards for fair trial because of the 
State Security Court's denial of unimpeded access to lawyers in 
the pretrial period and an inadequate right of appeal.

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
         Correspondence

The law stipulates that search warrants must be issued by the 
prosecutor general or a judge for searches of premises in most 
cases.  In cases involving state security, however, the normal 
legal requirements for a search warrant are not routinely 
applied.  Search warrants for security-related cases are 
sometimes obtained retroactively.  Security personnel 
reportedly monitor telephones, read correspondence, and engage 
in surveillance.  These practices, legal under Jordanian law, 
are not believed to be widespread.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

In principle, the Constitution provides for freedom of speech 
and the press, and Jordanians freely express wide-ranging 
opinions, including criticism of the Government.  However, the 
Government continues to exercise limited censorship of the 
local media by pressuring news editors to change or omit 
coverage that the Government finds embarrassing or contrary to 
what it perceives to be Jordan's interests.  More often, the 
print and broadcast media censor themselves without specific 
prompting from the Government because of fear of the 
authorities.  The Parliament is also sensitive to public 
criticism and as an institution has been quick to sue critics 
for slander.  

A reporter for a weekly political party newspaper covering the 
"Mu'tah" conspiracy trial was banned from the courtroom and 
arrested September 26 on the order of the military prosecutor; 
his editor was called in for questioning on September 29.  Both 
were charged with slandering the State Security Court in 
articles written about court delays in ordering medical 
examinations for defendants.  The Ministry of Information 
refused to intercede with the court on behalf of the journalist 
and editor, stating that the issue was judicial in nature.

The new Press and Publications Law that went into effect on May 
17 calls for the Government to reduce its ownership share of 
the capital of the press company or organization to 30 percent 
within 2 years.  The Government still owns the main newspapers 
and administers the broadcast media.  Foreign newspapers and 
magazines are widely available, though on two known occasions 
the Government forbade distribution of foreign newspapers 
containing controversial articles about the King.  In August 
the Government blocked distribution of two London-based Arabic 
dailies which carried off-the-record comments made by the King 
during a meeting with journalists.  The Jordanian authorities 
forbade sale of an issue of the International Herald Tribune in 
September that carried a Washington Post editorial questioning 
the future of Jordan as a state.  Western cable television is 
available through satellite links.

The new Press and Publications Law, which replaces the 1973 
Press and Publications Law, was widely criticized by Jordanian 
journalists and by international press rights groups because it 
continues restrictions on freedom of expression.  Controversial 
provisions include:  licensing of journalists, editors, and 
directors of publications and printing facilities; licensing of 
newspapers and periodicals; limited protection of 
confidentiality of journalists' sources; and restrictions on 
press coverage and prior restraint.  Its requirement that 
journalists join the Jordan Press Association is a continuing 
source of contention.  In August the Information Minister 
proposed a "press code of honor" to be enacted as a provision 
of the Press and Publications Law and as a Jordan press 
association law.  The proposed honor code contains 11 points, 
including exhortations not to publish off-the-record 
information or state secrets, particularly those pertaining to 
the armed forces that might benefit the "enemy of the Hashemite 
Kingdom of Jordan or any sister Arab states."  Many journalists 
have characterized the code as redundant and view it as a 
further attempt to control their activities.  The Press and 
Publications Law authorizes licensed political parties to 
publish newspapers, and these new publications have tested the 
limits of the new law's vaguely worded restrictions on coverage 
of proscribed topics such as national security, parliamentary 
proceedings, and stories about the royal family.

The Prime Minister issued a directive in September barring 
civil servants from writing for the press.  Such activity was 
already proscribed by the Civil Servants' Law, but that law was 
not previously enforced.

Academic freedom is inhibited by the fact that academics have 
been dismissed for expressing certain political views.  There 
were no known dismissals in 1993.  

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Public demonstrations--including election campaign 
rallies--require permits.  While such permits have been readily 
granted for peaceful protests since the beginning of the 
political liberalization in 1989, the Ministry of Interior 
banned election campaign rallies in late September.  Jordan's 
Supreme Court overturned this ban on October 28 and election 
rallies were permitted in the last week before the November 8 
parliamentary elections.  

Political parties were legalized in October 1992, and the first 
political party was licensed by the Ministry of Interior on 
December 2, 1992.  Since that time, a total of 20 political 
parties have registered.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

Under the Constitution, Islam is the state religion, and over 
90 percent of Jordanians are Sunni Muslims.  The Government 
adheres to the constitutional guarantee of freedom of worship, 
and followers of most religions experience no governmental 
persecution.  Religious groups must be registered and 
recognized by the Government in order to manage property and 
administer schools.

Non-Muslim sects are not allowed to proselytize among Muslims, 
but Muslims are allowed to convert to other religions.  
Individuals who wish to convert from Islam complain of social 
and legal barriers to equal treatment once they have 
converted.  Such persons are regarded as apostates under 
Shari'a (Islamic) law and may be legally denied property and 
other rights.  Converts from Islam do not fall under the 
jurisdiction of their new religion's laws in personal status 
matters and are still considered Muslims under Shari'a law.  
The Government does not recognize the Baha'i faith as a 
religion, but it did take steps in 1993 to alleviate some of 
the problems of discrimination faced by Jordan's small Baha'i 
community (see Section 5).  

Several other religious groups are not officially recognized by 
the Government but are able to meet without harassment:  
Jehovah's Witnesses, the United Pentecostal Church, the Church 
of Christ, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

Movement within the country is restricted in military areas.  
While all women are required by law to obtain the written 
permission of a male guardian to travel abroad, this 
requirement is generally enforced only with married women who 
wish to travel abroad with their children.  Jordanian men can 
prevent their children from departing the country, even when 
traveling with their mothers or other family members.


Passport renewals for citizens residing in Jordan require 
clearance from the police.  Palestinians residing in the East 
Bank may obtain 5-year passports, while Palestinians residing 
in the West Bank may obtain 2-year passports.  Jordan also 
grants some Palestinians of Gazan origin 2-year passports 
regardless of where they live.  The Interior Ministry routinely 
grants permits for travel between the East Bank and the 
Israeli-occupied territories and neighboring states.  There 
were reports in 1993 that several Palestinians, carrying 
restricted validity Jordanian passports, were barred from 
returning to their residences in Jordan from the West Bank on 
suspicion of belonging to radical Islamist groups outside the 
country.

The Government claims that 300,000 Palestinian refugees 
returned from the Gulf states--the majority from Kuwait--as a 
result of the Gulf crisis (actual numbers may have been 
substantially lower).  The number of Palestinian refugees 
registered with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency 
(UNRWA) is 1,093,800 persons, 223,000 of whom reside in 
Jordan's 10 official and 3 unofficial refugee camps.  

Jordan indicated that 120,000 Iraqi refugees moved into Jordan 
in the months after Iraqi travel restrictions were lifted in 
May 1991.  International relief agencies responsible for 
refugee affairs in Jordan estimate the current number of Iraqis 
residing in Jordan to be no more than 30,000.  Since the 
imposition of a 15,000 Iraqi dinar (about $94 in December 1993) 
exit tax in February, the number of Iraqis able to afford the 
trip to Jordan has been severely curtailed.  

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens 
           to Change Their Government

Jordanian citizens may elect municipal officials and members of 
the Chamber of Deputies but are not ultimately free to change 
their system of government or its leaders.  Executive and 
legislative powers are constitutionally vested in the King, who 
rules with the assistance of a Council of Ministers, which he 
appoints.

The Parliament is composed of an appointed Senate and an 
elected lower house.  The Parliament is overshadowed by the 
executive branch but has the right to approve, reject, or amend 
laws proposed by the Council of Ministers.  According to the 
Constitution, the Parliament has the right to approve or reject 
treaties and agreements with a majority vote.  The King may 
propose extraordinary sessions of Parliament and postpone 
regular sessions up to 60 days.  The King must approve all 
laws, which are then put into effect by royal decree.  The 
Parliament must approve temporary laws issued by the Council of 
Ministers when Parliament is dissolved or not in session, 
otherwise the temporary law does not become a permanent part of 
Jordan's legal system.  In August after the King had dissolved 
Parliament, he approved a temporary law issued by the Council 
of Ministers modifying the 1986 elections law by converting the 
previous bloc-voting system to a "one person, one vote" 
system.  Despite the initial objection of 18 of the country's 
licensed political parties on the grounds that such drastic 
change to laws governing the election should be reviewed and 
adopted by Parliament, most parties and political figures 
eventually decided to participate in the parliamentary 
elections held in November rather than boycott them as they had 
threatened.

On November 8, the Government of Prime Minister Abd Al-Salam 
Al-Majali supervised the country's first multiparty 
parliamentary elections since 1956.  While the Government's 
system for distributing ballot cards to registered voters was 
blamed for the difficulties in voting some citizens 
experienced, international and domestic observers agreed that 
the parliamentary elections were essentially free and fair.  
The lower house of Parliament created a number of committees to 
examine individual candidates' complaints about election 
procedures, but had issued no rulings on the formal complaints 
as of the end of the year.  

Despite the political and social uncertainties that arose in 
Jordan in the aftermath of the September 13 signing of the 
Israeli-Palestinian Declaration of Principles, King Hussein 
insisted that all Jordanian citizens--both Palestinian and East 
Banker--were entitled to vote in the November 8 elections.  
Some Jordanians of Palestinian origin had doubts about voting 
in Jordanian elections, fearing that participation in the 
Jordanian political system would preclude their participation 
in a future Palestinian election.  The Jordanian Government and 
the King actively encouraged Palestinian-Jordanian citizens to 
participate fully in the elections.  Palestinian-Jordanians 
were permitted to run as candidates in the parliamentary 
elections as well as vote on November 8.  


Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

Local and international human rights groups investigate 
allegations of human rights abuses and particularly in the area 
of women's rights have published and disseminated findings 
critical of government policy.  Human rights groups, however, 
must abide by laws and regulations governing the publication of 
information about activities of Jordan's military and security 
services, which constrains them from publishing detailed 
allegations of torture or other abuse in Jordan.  The Arab 
Organization for Human Rights and the Amman-based Peace Center 
for Humanitarian Studies have actively pursued controversial 
human rights cases both publicly and privately.  The Jordanian 
Bar Association also raises human rights concerns with regard 
to law and procedure, as well as with regard to individual 
cases.  The ICRC operates freely in Jordan and is given access 
to detainees and prison facilities.  Several women's 
organizations have dramatically increased their activism on 
issues of gender discrimination:  in parliamentary debate on 
December 7, for example, Deputy Toujan Faisal criticized the 
discriminatory policy that does not permit Jordanian women to 
transmit their nationality to their children.  

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status

     Women

Women experience legal discrimination regarding pension and 
social security benefits, inheritance, and divorce.  

Under Shari'a law, which applies to all Jordanian citizens in 
inheritance matters, a female heir's inheritance is only half 
that of a male heir.  In practice, non-Muslim women 
occasionally have been able to obtain rulings based upon their 
own religious laws.  The divorce law allows men to obtain a 
divorce more easily than women, but men may have to pay 
considerable compensation based on the original marriage 
contract.  A woman whose husband takes additional wives may 
seek and obtain a divorce under Shari'a law.  The law grants 
women equal pay for equal work, but in practice the law is 
sometimes ignored, and women are paid less.  Under Shar'ia law, 
a woman's testimony in court carries only half the value of 
that of a man.  Tradition also constrains women's freedoms, 
particularly their entry into professional and academic realms.


Nevertheless, some women have successfully entered the fields 
of engineering, medicine, and law, and women's issues are 
receiving increasing attention in the media and at symposia.  
Women's groups stress that the problem is not only one of laws 
but also of social constraints, including women's lack of 
awareness of their rights or unwillingness to assert these 
rights.  The Jordanian chapter of the Business and Professional 
Women's Club gives seminars on women's rights and assists women 
in establishing small businesses.  Club members traveled to 
communities throughout Jordan during the election campaign and 
succeeded in increasing female voter registration and raising 
women's consciousness about the election process and their 
rights.  Despite progress in these areas, overall change in 
women's status has been minimal.

The Koran allows a husband to discipline his wife, which some 
men apparently interpret as a license to discipline with 
force.  Sources in the medical field say that, while they know 
wife beating occurs, family and cultural norms constrain 
victims from seeking medical or legal help and prevent any 
realistic quantification of the extent of abuse.  Many 
Jordanians consider it culturally unacceptable to highlight 
what is considered a private, family matter.  The issue also is 
considered a private one by the police and the judiciary, and 
public discourse rarely focuses on incidents of spouse or child 
abuse.  Legal avenues to pursue redress in cases of spouse 
abuse do exist.  If a woman is abused by her husband, she can 
visit a medical doctor, obtain a report documenting her 
injuries, submit the report to the police, and file a complaint 
in court based on this evidence.  The court will then charge 
and try the husband.  Assistance to victims of domestic 
violence is provided by nongovernmental organizations (nearly 
all of which operate with a government license).  Wife beating 
is technically grounds for divorce, but the husband may 
demonstrate in court that the beating occurred because the wife 
was irreligious or did not obey him.  It is within the 
discretion of the judge to deny a divorce in such cases.  

     Children

Jordan is a signatory to the U.N. Convention on the Rights of 
the Child, and discrimination against children in Jordan is 
rare.  In September the Jordanian chapter of Amnesty 
International sponsored a Jordanian children's forum, 
patronized by the Queen, which examined children's rights.  
Arab human rights organizations met in Amman in December to 
discuss implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the 
Child.  Jordanian labor law prohibits children under the age of 
16 from working.  It is only in the past few years that 
employment of underage children, child street peddlers, and 
child beggars have appeared.  The Ministry of Social 
Development has set up a committee to address the problem and 
in most cases removes the children from the streets, returns 
them to their families, and provides them a monthly stipend.  A 
November report of a 12-year-old girl's engagement to her 
11-year old cousin, who reportedly dropped out of school to 
work in a cottage shoe factory, caused public outrage.  The 
Jordanian Women's Union called on government officials to take 
strict measures, and the Secretary General of the Ministry of 
Social Development concurred that the engagement was an abuse 
and unacceptable.  Children under the age of 18 are excluded 
from capital punishment.  Children convicted of crimes are held 
in special reform centers where they receive vocational 
training and are not detained with adults.  Corporal punishment 
at schools is prohibited.

There have been problems regarding custody of children born to 
foreign female domestic servants.  For example, if such a child 
has been fathered by a Jordanian man, that child is subject to 
Shari'a law.  Currently, the Jordanian government is 
considering a law that would make it difficult for single 
foreign mothers to obtain a residence permit for children with 
a foreign father not present in Jordan.  

     Indigenous People

According to government figures, Bedouin tribes constitute 
approximately 36 percent of the population.  These tribes 
participate freely in the political system.

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

There are large numbers of 1967 Palestinian refugees, primarily 
from Gaza, who do not have full Jordanian citizenship and carry 
only limited validity Jordanian passports.

Jordan has granted full citizenship to all Palestinians who 
fled to the East Bank following the 1948 Arab-Israeli war and 
to a large number of refugees that came to Jordan after the 
1967 conflict.  All Palestinian refugees residing in Jordan 
prior to August 1988 have the unrestricted right to live, work, 
and own property in Jordan.  Many Palestinians, however, 
experience disproportionate scrutiny in taxation and 
discrimination in the awarding of university scholarships and 
government and military jobs, especially at senior levels.  
King Hussein and the Government of Prime Minister Abd Al-Salam 
Al-Majali determined that Jordanian citizens of Palestinian 
origin were entitled to the same rights of political 
participation--voting and running for parliamentary and local 
office--as their East Bank counterparts.  Although Palestinian 
voter turnout was lower than that of East Bank Jordanians, 
Palestinians did vote in the November 8 elections.  
Furthermore, several high-level parliamentary and ministerial 
positions are occupied by Jordanians of Palestinian origin.  

     Religious Minorities

The Government does not recognize the Baha'i faith as a 
religion, and Baha'is have suffered various forms of official 
discrimination.  Baha'i identity cards are blank where religion 
is indicated.  In September the Ministry of Education issued 
regulations that made the previously mandatory study of Islam 
by Baha'i students optional.  In December the Ministry of 
Interior agreed to accept Baha'i marriage certificates as proof 
of marriage for the issuance of passports and other official 
identity documents.  However, the Baha'i community still does 
not have its own court to handle personal status and family 
matters.  Instead, these matters are handled by Islamic Shari'a 
courts.  Baha'i community property cannot be registered in the 
name of the community but must be registered in the names of 
individual members.  

     People with Disabilities

The Government passed legislation in March regarding education 
and employment opportunities as well as standardized building 
and access codes for the disabled.  The legislation, known as 
Law Number 12 for 1993, includes a comprehensive code for all 
future public buildings to accommodate the needs of the 
visually, hearing, and physically disabled through standardized 
technical building and infrastructure requirements.  The code 
stipulates that existing public structures undergo retrofitting 
to conform to the code, although no specific deadlines for 
these adjustments were legislated.  The law for the welfare of 
the disabled includes a "bill of rights" for the disabled and 
mandates the creation of a National Council for the Affairs of 
the Disabled.  People with disabilities in Jordan face the 
problems of the disabled in many developing nations:  severe 
financial constraints on government and private programs for 
the disabled, traditional attitudes of discrimination against 
people with physical and mental handicaps, and unemployment 
rates among the general population that restrict employment 
opportunities for the disabled.  Currently there is no budget 
for programs for the disabled:  all funding for government and 
private projects comes from private and nongovernmental 
organization donations as well as donations from the royal 
family.  Several private nonprofit organizations concerned with 
education and rehabilitation of the disabled have been active 
in Jordan for many years.  

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

All nongovernmental workers, except foreigners, have the legal 
right to form and join trade unions.  Workers in some 
government-owned companies, such as the airlines, are also 
allowed to form unions.  Jordanian labor unions are 
apolitical.  Union leaders are elected by secret ballot for 
1-year terms.  The Jordan Federation of Trade Unions (JFTU) 
comprises 17 unions; unions are not required to belong to the 
Federation, but at present all unions are members.  Union 
officials estimate that less than 25 percent of workers are 
unionized, thus excluding the majority of the work force from 
union representation.  All unions must register with the 
Government.

Government influence over the JFTU decreased following 
political liberalization in 1989, but the JFTU is not 
independent since it depends entirely on government financing.  
In August the JFTU announced it would convene a general 
congress for the first time in 14 years.  In April the JFTU 
established an official relationship with the Asian-American 
Free Labor Institute.  These two moves, spearheaded by the 
current Secretary General of the JFTU, are designed to 
invigorate Jordan's labor unions.

Labor laws forbid strikes if an arbitration committee has been 
appointed by the Government to end the dispute.  If arbitration 
fails, the matter may be referred to an industrial tribunal, 
provided both parties to a dispute agree to have the tribunal 
hear their case.  The tribunal is a formal, independent body 
made up of judges appointed by the Ministry of Labor.  The 
tribunal's decisions are binding.  Strikes are not permitted 
during arbitration or during the tribunal's deliberations.  The 
current labor law stipulates that it is prohibited to dismiss 
workers during labor disputes.  There were no official strikes 
in 1993.  


     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

Unions in Jordan have the right to organize and bargain 
collectively.  JFTU member unions regularly engage in 
collective bargaining with employers.  Negotiations cover a 
wide range of issues, including salaries, safety standards, and 
working conditions.  

Though the Constitution bars antiunion discrimination, the 
International Confederation of Free Trade Unions notes that the 
Government does not adequately protect employees against 
antiunion discrimination by employers and does not protect 
public employees adequately against dismissal for political 
reasons.  Allegations of such discrimination may be taken to 
the Ministry of Labor, which on occasion has ordered the 
reinstatement of employees discharged because of their union 
activities.  

Duty-free trade zones, in Aqaba and Zarqa, are governed by the 
same labor provisions that apply countrywide.  Private sector 
workers employed in these zones are part of a national union 
and are thus allowed to organize and bargain collectively.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

Compulsory labor is forbidden by the Constitution, except in a 
state of emergency such as war or natural disaster, and it is 
not practiced.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

The labor laws forbid children under age 16 from working except 
in the case of professional apprentices, who are allowed to 
leave the standard education track and begin part-time (6 hours 
per day, no night shift) training at age 13.  Ministry of Labor 
inspection teams attempt to enforce these laws.  In practice, 
some underage children work, primarily in family businesses.  
Despite compulsory education (education is compulsory up to the 
10th grade or age l5), a small number of children in more 
remote areas are kept from school by their parents in order to 
work.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

There is no national minimum wage, but the Government 
periodically prepares and adjusts a minimum wage schedule for 
various trades, based on recommendations of an advisory panel 
composed of representatives of workers, employers, and the 
Government.  The absolute minimum wage rate is estimated at 
$140 per month, inclusive of all allowances.  Unskilled workers 
earning the lowest scheduled wage face increasing difficulties 
earning enough to provide a family a decent living by local 
standards.  

Laws mandate maximum work hours and paid leave:  workers are 
not supposed to work more than 48 hours per week (54 hours for 
hotel, restaurant, and cinema employees), and may not work more 
than 16 hours in any continuous period or more than 60 hours 
overtime per month.  Employees are entitled to 1 day off each 
week.  Domestic servants in Jordan are not protected by 
Jordanian labor laws.  Therefore, there is no legal forum to 
address their labor grievances.  Large numbers of Sri Lankan 
and Filipino workers do not have the benefit of embassies in 
Jordan to lobby for their interests.  

The Labor Ministry maintains a group of full-time inspectors to 
oversee occupational health and safety standards.  A 
parliamentary committee works with the Ministry to monitor 
conditions in the workplace.  Jordanian law specifies a number 
of health and safety requirements for workers, including 
standards for bathrooms, drinking water, and safety and first 
aid equipment.  The Government appears to administer and 
enforce its labor laws fairly, but the deployment of too few 
inspectors hinders its effectiveness.  In addition, under the 
present Labor Code, inspectors lack the power to make, or have 
issued, orders having immediate force and no obligation is 
imposed with respect to notifying the Labor Inspectorate of 
Industrial Accidents and Occupational Diseases.  Parliament 
declined to consider a draft labor law during its last session 
that would revise and update legislation dating from 1960.



[end of document]

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