Appeared in the Jordan Times
6 June 2010
By Laila Azzeh
AMMAN – Legal experts and women activists on Saturday underlined the importance of the Family Protection Law as a step in the right direction, although they said the legislation did not live up to their expectations.
During a training workshop to raise awareness on the law’s provisions, organised by the Karama Organisation in cooperation with the Cultural Forum of the Blind and the Young Women’s Christian Association, participants noted that some of the articles have yet to be fully applied, hindering efforts to eliminate domestic violence in the Kingdom.
“Although stipulated in the law, instructions pertaining to activating the role of family reconciliation units have not been put into effect… civil society organisations and the concerned bodies should shoulder their responsibilities to ensure that these units do not become invalid,” Muna Makhamreh, a legal expert, told The Jordan Times during the event, which includes lectures and discussions on the law presented by lawyers and judges.
She added that the two-day workshop, implemented as part of Karamati (my dignity) initiative, seeks to simplify the legal text of the law for all segments of society, particularly the blind.
“We converted brochures and other printed material that outlined the law’s articles and legal proceedings in the case of domestic violence into Braille to ensure that this segment of society is not left out,” noted Makhamreh, who is coordinator of Karamati project.
Noting that the Kingdom is one of a few Arab countries that has a special law for domestic violence, Karama Organisation Representative in Jordan Amneh Helweh said the main aim of the organisation is to identify loopholes that prevent women from enjoying their full rights.
“Combating violence against women is not a simple endeavour and cannot be accomplished by activating only one sector of society or working only on one level of advocacy. Karama brings together local experts and activists to unify their efforts in ending the phenomenon,” she told The Jordan Times.
She added that Karama will also hold workshops for the police and other concerned bodies to enhance their competence in dealing with abused women.
“The crime of violence is still undermined by the police… this why some women feel ashamed to file a report when they are victims of violence,” Helweh highlighted, noting that the organisation adopts a different approach when dealing with violence against women by involving women in determining their needs and rights, rather than working on behalf of them.
During the opening ceremony yesterday, Culture Ministry Secretary General Jeryes Samawi said civil society organisations are considered “pressure groups” that should work to enhance the lives of individuals, stressing the need to develop social concepts in Jordan, particularly those pertaining to women and children, and underlining the ministry’s efforts to engage women in cultural initiatives and programmes.
Karama was launched in 2005 to serve as a platform for cooperation among people working to stop violence against women in the Middle East and North Africa region. The NGO was first established in Egypt before it expanded to Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Algeria, Morocco, Sudan, Palestine and Tunisia.