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Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development

Sharia Court work expanded at Azraq refugee camp

ARDD

The Supreme Judge Department has decided to expand the Sharia Court’s scope of work at Al Azraq refugee camp, where legal issues are now being overseen by the court inside the camp. This important step comes in enhancement and application of the principles of the rule of law, following the application of the same approach in the Sharia Court in Zaatari camp.

It is worth mentioning that these results are based on continuous monitoring and analysis of the legal needs of refugees within the camps, and are a success for the advocacy efforts of UNHCR and its legal partner, ARDD, in cooperation and coordination with the Chief Islamic Justice Department, the Directorate of Syrian Refugee Affairs and concerned official bodies.

Theis approach allows refugees to continue addressing their family-related legal issues inside the camp, without the need to visit Sharia courts in the nearest governorate, which is costly for them in terms of transportation and other expenses.

Al Azraq refugee camp has been open since April 2014, and according to UNHCR statistics, as of August 15, 2018, the number of Syrian refugees inside the camp stands at 41,089,000. The Sharia Court began its mandate inside the camp at the end of 2015, and consisted of processing refugee documentations for the camp’s residents one day a week, with a staff consisting of a judge and court administrative staff.  

The team of ARDD’s Azraq camp office continues to handle required procedures required to facilitate refugees’ follow-up with the Sharia Court and to provide them with various legal services.

Since the beginning of August, the work of the Sharia Court has been extended to two days a week (Monday and Tuesday), a day devoted to examining cases and pleading them before the His Honour Judge Sheikh Mohammed Mubarak Al Qadi, while the second day is allocated for registration documentation. In addition, a family judge has also been added to the Sharia Court staff.

According to ARDD Azraq camp branch statistics for the month of August, legal services were provided in more than 16 cases that were heard before the Sharia court in the camp. The most prominent types of these cases were: suits for differentiation of disputes and conflicts, lawsuits to prove marital status or linage, and cases of different kinds of expenditures.

As for documentation registration, ARDD statistics estimate more than 20 camp residents seeing the court on a weekly basis. The most prominent of these documents are: marriage applications, various arguments related to marriage applications, and divorce arguments, among others.

ARDD emphasises that the legal services system within the refugee camps is a unique system and a pioneering experience that is unique to Jordan internationally, and is one of the most important lessons to be learned in all refugee camps around the world.

These services highlight Jordan’s commitment to making justice accessible for all, as it is a right  reserved under the Constitution and international conventions.

ARDD would like to extend its gratitude and appreciation to the Supreme Judge Department, the UNHCR and all relevant official authorities for this step, which will have a significant impact on bringing justice to communities, as there is no Renaissance without comprehensive and inclusive justice.

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