- The draft law on children's rights in Jordan continues to raise controversy between its supporters and opponents, after the Jordanian government presented the draft law for the first time to the House of Representatives, after continuous demands since 2006 from official institutions concerned with children's and family rights, civil society institutions, and international organizations.

But what is remarkable - according to deputies - is that the authorities pushed that law to the House of Representatives in an exceptional session, which was held to discuss a package of legislation, most of which are economic, which opens the door to speculation about the reasons for pushing that “important” law - in the opinion of experts - in this session, and why the government did not wait The start of the regular session to take his right to extensive discussion, according to deputies.

Over the past days, the pioneers of social media platforms have been preoccupied with the draft law before the House of Representatives, the state of controversy that took place in the House of Representatives in its first reading between a defender of the law and a rejection of it, and the platform pioneers interacted with the hashtag #ChildRights_Law.

Living difficulties and the Corona crisis increased child labor in Jordan (Al-Jazeera)

Regular meeting

Experts and specialists believe that the government - by presenting the law at this session - preempted the periodic meeting of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child scheduled to be held next September, to discuss and discuss what the Jordanian authorities have done to translate the texts of the "Convention on the Rights of the Child" signed in 1991.

According to specialists, the Convention on the Rights of the Child provides for a periodic review every 5 years of what countries have done in translating its texts to be embodied on the ground. Establishing supervision and punishment for violators of its provisions, and violators of the rights of the child, in order for the child to enjoy the rights stipulated therein.

Jordan had agreed to the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991, and it was presented to the National Assembly and approved by Law No. 50 of 2006, and passed its full constitutional stages, with Jordan's reservations on 3 articles related to sex change, freedom of religion, adoption and others, according to official statements.

positive and protective

On the one hand, supporters of the law highlight a package of articles that they describe as "positive and child-protective", the most important of which are:

The right of the child to free health care for those under 18 years of age;

providing emergency treatment on a free basis in government and private hospitals;

The right to establish playgrounds, gardens and parks, and to enjoy a safe traffic environment;

The right to find specialized care centers for addicted children, which are not available in Jordan, they said;

the right of the child to legal aid for litigation;

In addition, the law assigns the state responsibilities towards the care and protection of the child, and protects the Jordanian family and strengthens its cohesion.

In this context, Professor of Psychology and Childhood, Dr. Rola Al-Hroub - in her speech to Al-Jazeera Net - believes that the law constitutes "an advanced step on the path to granting the child his rights and freedoms, and it needs to be amended to guarantee rights that have been neglected; They reject the idea of ​​a law to protect the rights of the child."

Children in a Jordanian village (Al-Jazeera)

Freedom of religion and sex

On the other hand, opponents of the law fear that it will be passed, allowing in the future to "grant the right of freedom of thought, religion, sex and adoption to the child in Jordan," especially because they believe - in their conversations with Al Jazeera Net - that the law is "a Western import that seeks to destroy the family and the child," through "transferring the care of the child." The child and his responsibilities belong to the family and the parents to the state,” and thus destroying the family’s role in education, care and religious and social upbringing, and maximizing the role of the individual, which disintegrates and destroys societies, as they describe.

In his interview with Al Jazeera Net, the Jordanian Islamic MP, Nayal Al-Fraihat, does not see that international agreements "take into account the peculiarities of Arab and Islamic societies."

Regarding official reservations to articles in the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, he considers them to be “temporary,” meaning that “any council of ministers can, in the future, agree to those reservations related to changing a child’s gender, religion, and others, without referring to the National Assembly.”

The most dangerous thing about the law - according to Al-Fraihat - is that its texts are loose and bear many interpretations in the event that the judiciary resorts to applying it in the future, and that it comes within the episodes of international targeting of the family, women and children and the value system within the Jordanian society, starting with CEDAW, women's rights, gender, children's rights and others, and that it Part of the entitlements that the Jordanian government is bargaining over with grants and aid provided to the Kingdom, by approving and approving those agreements.

Opponents of the law also consider that articles 7, 8 and 24 are the most dangerous thing in the law, especially as they give the child the right to express his views, whether verbally, in writing, in print, or any means of his choice, and the right to respect his private life, and the prohibition of exposing him to any arbitrary interference or illegal procedure In his life, his family, his home, or his correspondence without the supervision of the family, and allowing the child to communicate with legal aid service providers without any restriction, according to the opponents.

violation of rights

Among the supporters and opponents of the draft law, judges and lawyers believe that the Jordanian constitution guarantees all the rights and public freedoms stipulated in international conventions, including the freedom and rights of the child.

Despite the importance of finding a law to protect the rights of the child, the draft law before the National Assembly in its current form is general and broad, and did not bring any new special provisions, and does not impose any additional rights for the child, they said.

And the former judge Walid Obeidat - in his speech to Al Jazeera Net - goes even further;

He believes that the constitutional legislator in Jordan has expanded legislation, so that the majority of laws - which are being developed to regulate the state of public rights and freedoms - are infringing upon the essence of these rights and freedoms, whether for an adult or a child, and confiscating their rights and freedoms.

He pointed out that there are "executive regulations" entrusted to issue them to the government and ministers that go beyond the law, and ordinary citizens cannot "object and challenge" those laws and regulations before the Constitutional Court, because they are "closed and the mechanisms for challenging laws are specific to certain parties."

In the face of these discussions and dialogues, everyone is waiting for the parliamentary committees in the Jordanian House of Representatives to start discussing the draft law, and to invite specialists to hear their views, while parliamentary sources suggest that the law will remain in the drawers of the parliamentary committees for the next session, and perhaps for the next parliament after 3 years.