The rights of the child are accepted as some of the most established, most universal tenets of human society. This seemingly universal truth is reflected in the conception of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1989. Since its genesis, more countries have ratified this document than any other human rights treaty in the course of all history – a massive list of 192 countries taking part in a joint agreement to the CRC.
The 41 Articles of the document include various safeguards to protect a child’s health, safety, right to education, exploration, curiosity, happiness, love, a nuclear family dynamic, and more. Article 27, Section 1, specifically states that, “[Signing] Parties recognize the right of every child to a standard of living adequate for the child's physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development.”
On November 20, the National Council of Family Affairs in coordination with UNICEF will launch a child-friendly Arabic version of the CRC and an Arabic handbook for adults including the CRC and Sustainability Development Goals. This move will facilitate the spread of information and unalienable rights to various stakeholders and the general public in Arabic speaking nations.
Jordan will also celebrate World Children’s Day on November 20 and has already launched events for children to meet with important persons and share their suggestions. Jordan has also marked the World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse. These actions hope to provide a mechanism in which the most vulnerable part of human development is protected not just by normal human conduct, but also by law.
The Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD) hopes to help Jordan bridge the divide between children and their wellbeing, between policy and direct action. ARDD has launched a new project that touches on this topic, titled Enhancing Public Support for Justice Sector Reform in Jordan with the support of the EU Delegation to Jordan . The project objective is to engage the public in the ongoing justice sector reform process by raising public awareness about selected initiatives in this important sector in Jordan.
Capturing the breadth of its slogan, Justice for All, this project aims to understand issue of accessibility, protection, and knowledge of legal rights in the public and justice sectors. Moreover, it works to disseminate information on legal reforms and basic rights to the general public, as the simplified Arabic version of the CRC will do. This issue of protection for children is of great importance, and ARDD believes spreading information is the only way to create a culture of accountability in which children are protected.
*This document has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development-ARDD and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.
ARDD concludes Phase II of the “Women’s Access to Justice” project
Monday, November 20, 2017
Amman- 20 November 2017 : Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development - ARDD in partnership with Oxfam GB, held a closing event for Phase II of the Women’s Access to Justice (WAJ) project, funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland.
The event, on November 20th, presented the closing recommendations and outcomes for the WAJ II project, which aimed to reduce the vulnerability and suffering of disadvantaged women among refugee and host communities. The event was attended by representatives from the government and judiciary system, along with representatives from local and international organizations, stakeholders, and media. Two panel discussions addressed the status of women’s access to justice from the perspectives of civil society and the justice sector alike.
The first panel, “Civil Society: A Way Forward for a Supportive System for Women’s Access to Justice” discusses the state’s efforts in women’s and human rights issues, the costs and socio-economic challenges associated with seeking justice. Jordanian Government Coordinator for Human Rights, Basel Tarawneh, Member of Jordanian Parliament, Wafaa Bani Mustafa, Consultant for ARDD’s WAJ II project, Nuha Muhreiz, and Journalist Rana Alhusseini were the panel speakers.
The second panel titled “Justice Sector: Facilitating a Supportive Environment for Women’s Access to Justice,” focused on the root causes that prevent an enabling environment within the court system, gender sensitivity in policy making, the effect of court procedures and their costs on women, and the juristic perspective on Jordanian personal status legislation. The consultant of the Jordanian Supreme Judge Ashraf Al-Omari, Senator Fedaa Al Hmoud, President of the Center for Women’s Studies, Abeer Al Dababneh and SIGI Jordan lawyer, Enaam Asha led the discussion on these topics.
WAJ II implemented a holistic approach that combined legal, psychosocial, and financial empowerment, in addition to capacity building and community engagement, to facilitate legal system access and just outcomes for beneficiaries in Amman and Zarqa governorates. It built upon WAJ I (2011-2014) by continuing to provide women in the MENA region with the tools to reduce vulnerability and suffering by securing just outcomes and verdicts. Phase II expanded on prior programs in Jordan and Lebanon and introduced new programming in Egypt and Yemen, to create change at the individual, community, regional, and national levels.
Community facilitator’s supported by ARDD began holding group Information sessions
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
In November community facilitator’s supported by ARDD began holding group Information sessions in Amman and Zarqa. Fourteen sessions conducted so far reached 177 participants in Amman and Zarqa, and six more will take place in the coming weeks, reaching at least 60 more beneficiaries. During these sessions, community facilitator’s provided vital information on the right to education, spreading key messages such as registration dates, relevant documents and certificates, age requirements, and catch up classes. Shady Safar, a community facilitator, said the first session truly shed light on the importance of spreading this information: “We found that before the session, many refugees were unaware about their basic rights to education and about other educational programs such as catch up courses...We will work to reach different segments of society in different regions of Jordan where refugees live.” Another facilitator, Hassan Al-Othmani mirrored these sentiments, “The first session of the Syrian Refugee Empowerment Project showed the social need for such projects to raise awareness and disseminate information about laws that protect the right to education for all, especially in the areas where the Syrian presence is concentrated in Amman.”
The Group Information sessions are supported by ARDD’s Syrian Refugees Empowerment Project (SREP) in partnership with Tamkeen and funded by Open Society Foundation. By training Syrian and Jordanian community facilitators, ARDD is able to reach marginalized groups and empower both individuals and communities. Reformed education laws are only the first step in helping refugees. Spreading awareness of these laws is the key to ensuring individuals are empowered, educated, and accessing their rights.
ARDD held a "Partnerships and Needs Assessment” Workshop at its offices in Mafraq
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
The Arab Renaissance For Democracy and Development- ARDD held a "Partnerships and Needs Assessment” Workshop at its offices in Mafraq on Monday 13/11/2017 for the Maan Lenabne project. Maan Lenabne is two-year project that builds the capacity of community-based organizations (CBOs) in order to participate in decision making processes at the municipal level. The project engages the CBOs in a manner that will enable them to voice the needs of their communities (both refugees and host community members) at the municipality level in order to ensure the provision of better services in Mafraq, Sarhan, and Ramtha. During the workshop the group discussed both community and CBO needs and the challenges of responding to them. The workshop concluded with a field visit from GIZ and AECID – the project donors and partners, in which a discussion of the project and the challenges of decentralization and Municipal engagement were exchanged.
Ma’an Lenabne is part of the Qudra Programme
The Qudra Programme is a regional action financed by the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis, the 'Madad' Fundand the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) seeking to strengthen resilience for Syrian refugees, IDPs and host communities in response to theSyrian and Iraqi crises. The programme is jointly implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Expertise France (EF) and SpanishAgency for International Development (AECID) in programme partner countries of Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and (North) Iraq.
Global Compact on Safe, Regular and Orderly Migration An Opportunity for Positive Policy Change or a Consolidation of State Practices?
Monday, November 13, 2017
In order to ensure civil society’s participation in this first consultative phase, several regional civil society consultations took place in parallel to the intergovernmental consultations. The purpose of these consultations has been to provide the space for civil society to identify lists of priorities to be shared with state actors and representatives in the context of ‘common spaces,’ with at least one of these civil societies consultations being connected to each of the four regional intergovernmental consultations. The first major civil society meeting took place in Berlin between June 29th-July 2nd under the umbrella of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD.) GFMD convenes an annual meeting “Civil Society Days” where civil society organisations from around the world come together and discuss pressing migration and development issues. This year, the overarching motto for the Civil Society Days was "Safe, Orderly, Regular Migration Now: Mechanics of a Compact Worth Agreeing to,” as implied in the motto, the Civil Society Days meeting focused entirely on theGlobal Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. The meeting consisted of working sessions that directly tied to the Global Compact on Migration process.
From Berlin to Beirut
Several civil society organisations from the MENA region attended the Berlin meeting. In fact, the first consultation meeting for organisations from the MENA region was organized on the margins of the Civil Society Days by the Cross-regional Centre for Refugees and Migrants (CCRM) in Berlin.
After the meeting in Berlin,CCRM has convened a meeting in Beirut on July 24th- 25thin preparation for the regional civil society consultations on the Global Compact on Migration, which took place on August 24th-25th. The Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD) has been an active participant in both meetings. Building on our work experience with refugee, migrants, and other vulnerable groups in Jordan, ARDD contributed to identifying thematic priorities that can lead the discussions for the region. As a legal assistance provider, ARDD believes in the importance of facilitating access to justice for everyone as this can guarantee their protection against rights’violations, and the need to engage with decision makers and duty bearers where it represents the needs of the populations it serves as well as advocate for policy reform, especially for refugees and migrants.
ARDD sees the Global Compact on Migration as a unique opportunity for civil society organisations to promote the rights of the migrant and refugee populations they serve, especially through the ‘common space’ regional consultations that convene civil society organisations along with state actors. These‘common spaces’ open up the space for civil society to contribute to the discussion and lobby governments and state actors to take into consideration the priorities identified by civil society to the Stock-taking phase, which will culminate in the first draft of the Global Compact (February 2018), after which the third and final Negotiations phase will start.
Civil society at global level must consolidate its efforts at this stage because collaboration between states in the framework of the Global Compact has the potential to either positively or negatively impact the situation of migrants around the world. State collaboration could bear positive impact on migrants iffor example it leads to providing more secure migration schemes that respect the human rights of migrants and spares them of human trafficking;as well as facilitate their access to justice in event of rights violation. However, states’ cooperation could be harmful if states prioritised their interests to that of migrants. For example, agreements on returns and deportation could emerge from this cooperation; making it easier for states to separate migrants from their lives and families, thus returning them to countries that couldn’t offer much in the way of decent work or social support. Another example of the harmful impact this cooperation could bear on migrants is the creation and expansion of restrictive circular migration programmes that do not lead to stable residency in the new country, and furthermore could oblige migrants to give up fundamental rights and freedoms in exchange of working in another country.
Given the above, it is very necessary at this stage to affirm civil society’s role in the Global Compact(s) processes. In many contexts, civil society organisations are the voice of the voiceless. We stand up to protect and assert the rights of vulnerable populations, as well as represent their needs to state actors and hold the latter accountable towards people living within their borders. From this standpoint, the active, meaningful, and strategic participation of civil society in the Global Compact processes is crucial to maximizing opportunities for migrants and reducing possible harmful impacts.
In conclusion, the Global Compact is a very unique process that could substantially improve the livelihoods and rights of migrants around the world if it gets carried out as initially envisioned by the New York Declaration. However, it is critical that civil society actors recognise the need to act smart and act quickly in order to maximise the gains of this process.
The Cross Regional Center for Refugees and migrants is a network of civil society organisations in the MENA region that works to promote the rights of refugees and migrants in the Euro-Mediteranean and Arab regions and to amplify local, regional and international advocacy work on refugees and migrants.