Jordan adds new reference to women's rights to constitution after parliament brawl

On Monday, members of parliament will vote on amendments on the rights of people with disabilities

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Jordan has passed an amendment to its constitution to add the term "Jordanian women", after a fist-fight erupted between members of parliament in the assembly last week over proposed reforms.

Footage of the brawl between the parliamentarians went viral.

The violence started when a discussion on proposed constitutional amendments escalated. It drew condemnation from other officials as well as the public.

“The behaviour is unacceptable to our people and harms our country's reputation,” said Khalil Atiyeh, a member of parliament who witnessed Tuesday’s brawl.

The phrase was added on Sunday to the title of the second chapter of the constitution, which outlines the rights and duties of Jordanians.

Out of 130 members of parliament, 94 approved the amendment while 26 rejected it and 10 were “absent” from the vote, state news agency Petra said.

Minister of Political and Parliamentary Affairs Musa Maaytah said the change was made to “honour and respect women”. Jordan's current constitution makes reference to women's rights, or "special conditions" in the workplace, under Article 23, but gives no further details.

Parliamentary Legal Committee member Ghazi Al Thneibat was also criticised for on-air comments calling the proposed clauses on the empowerment of women and youths, matters of “aesthetics designed to appease the international community”.

The dispute over the issue highlighted the deep-rooted problems that plague Jordanian society when it comes to traditional norms.

Rights activists point out that foreign spouses and children of Jordanian women, for example, cannot receive Jordanian citizenship while those of Jordanian men can.

Also on Sunday, 106 deputies voted to amend a paragraph in the constitution on motherhood and people with disabilities.

"The law shall protect the rights of persons with disabilities and promote their participation and inclusion in various walks of life. It [the law] shall also protect motherhood, childhood and the elderly, take care of young people and prevent abuse and exploitation," Paragraph 5 of Article 6 now reads.

MPs however voted against allowing the king to preside over the National Security and Foreign Policy Council.

On Monday, the parliament will continue discussing matters pertaining to the rights of people with disabilities and their inclusion in society among 27 proposed amendments.

Updated: January 03, 2022, 10:48 AM
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