Remarks made by the Commissioner General for Human Rights to the NHRIs panel held in conjunction with the CSW 55, on 22 February 2011 in New York

 How NHRIs have contributed to women's rights, gender equality and empowerment of women in Jordan

NHRIs Panel

Tuesday 22 February, 2011

New York

Dr. Muhyieddeen Touq

Commissioner General for Human Rights/ Jordan

Jordan National Centre for Human Rights

Short Introduction to NCHR

The National Center for Human Rights (NCHR) is an independent national institution that works to protect and promote human rights in Jordan since its establishment back in 2002. The NCHR has a juridical personality with full financial and administrative independence in performing all activities related to human rights. The Centre currently functions according to its permanent law No. 51/2006. NCHR's law identifies its objectives, mandate, jurisdiction, composition and responsibilities. The law also ensures NCHR's financial and administrative independence.

The Centre is supervised and managed by a Board of Trustees consisting of 21 members appointed by a Royal Decree upon the recommendation of the Prime Minister. The Commissioner General heads the General secretariat and is in charge of monitoring transgressions and violations of human rights and public freedoms, receiving complaints, and making the necessary follow up procedures thereon.

The General Secretariat of the Centre consists of 2 commissions (the Enhancing Rights and Public Freedoms Commission and the Legislation Commission), 10 Units and a Media and Outreach Office as follows:

  1. The Complaints and Monitoring Unit,
  2. The Following Up and Ending Violations Unit,
  3. The Women's Rights Unit,
  4. The Legislation Unit,
  5. The Criminal Justice Unit,
  6. The Public and International Relations Unit,
  7. The Projects' Unit,
  8. The Training and Empowerment Unit,
  9. The Research and Documentation Unit,
  10. The Administrative and Financial Affairs Unit

NHRIs can contribute to women's rights, gender equality and empowerment of women in many different ways. These ways emanate from the roles and functions of NHRIs embedded in the Paris Principles governing their work and establishment.

  1. NHRIs contribution to women's rights is affected by their management structure as much as by their mandate, vision and objectives.
  2. What does JNCHR management structure look like?

    • 30% of the Board of Trustees members are women.
    • 40% of the Heads of Units in the General Secretariat are women.
    • 44% of the overall staff members are women.
    • A specialized unit for women's affairs is a fixed feature of NCHR's structure.
  3. NHRIs contribution to women's rights is affected by their ability to work effectively with relevant stakeholders, i.e. government, women's organization, NGOs and CSOs.
  4. What does NCHR do in this regard?

    a. With the government

    • Working with the Ministry of Social Development and Women's Affairs to 1) protect and promote the rights of women victims of violence, 2) improve the situation of and services to female juveniles shelter homes, 3) establish a shelter home for women at risk.
    • Working with the Ministry of Labour to: 1) include female domestic helpers (FDH) under the protection of the law, 2) establish a shelter home for badly treated FDH.

    b. With women's organizations

    • The NCHR has signed a MoU with the National Committee for Women's Affairs 1) better cooperation and coordination in receiving and handling complaints, 2) preparing shadow report on the CEDAW, and 3) developing a database on the violations of women's rights.

    c. With NGOs and CSOs

    The NCHR is a member of a women's network called SHAMA (Candle) to promote and protect women's rights.

  5. NHRIs contribution to women's rights is influenced by their role in monitoring and reporting of violations of women's rights,
  6. What does NCHR do in this regard?

    • JNCHR monitors and receives complaints from women on a daily basis –most complaints focus on the rights for citizenship for their children-
    • Women's rights represent a permanent feature of JNCHRs annual report on the situation of human rights.
    • JNCHR issues specialized reports; i.e. juveniles' houses, homes of the elderly.
  7. NHRIs contribution to women's rights is strongly affected by their ability to influence legislation related to women. JNCHR was successful in positively influencing amendments to:
    • Elections Law –improved women representation.
    • Penal Code –better protection against violence and sexual assault.
    • Personal Status Law –better rights in marriage and divorce.
    • Labour Law –inclusion of Female Domestic Helpers.
    • Social Security Law –better protection and coverage of women workers.
    • Anti-trafficking in Humans law –enclosure of trafficking in women in the law and the national strategy.
    • Ratification of the additional protocol to the UN Convention against Organized Transnational Crime (UNTOC).
    • Withdrawal of the reservation to article 15/4 of the CEDAW.
  8. NHRIs contribution to women's rights is influenced by the role they play in education and awareness raising of women's rights and gender equality.
  9. What does JNCHR do in this regard?

    • JNCHR is presently implementing a project on the protection of women and children against violence.
    • In 2009 the JNCHR has actively participated in raising the awareness of parliamentarians on women's rights.
    • The JNCHR has signed a MoU with the Ministry of Education to include human rights issues, including women's rights in school curricula and textbooks.
  10. VI. NHRIs contribution to women's rights is partly affected by the role they play at both the regional and international levels.

JNCHR is an active member in the working group on women's rights established by the Arab European Human Rights Dialogue.

JNCHR has signed MoUs with both the Philippines NHRI and the Indonesian NHRI.

At the international level, JNCHR has participated in CSW 54 and 55 and in the preparation of Jordan's state and shadow reports on CEDAW.