Islamists urge Ensour to retract statement on CEDAW reservations

by Rana Husseini |             Nov 11, 2012             |             22:52                   


AMMAN — The Islamic Action Front (IAF) has called on Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour to apologise and retract statements he made last week on reconsidering Jordan’s reservations on an international convention related to women’s rights.

Ensour had said that the Kingdom is committed to the full implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

“We believe the reservation Jordan has on one article of the treaty does not distract from our respect for the convention. However, we will revise the issue of these reservations, hopefully soon,” the premier said in an address at a human rights conference last week.

Ensour’s address was delivered at the opening of the 11th Conference of the International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.

“What you [Ensour] said is unacceptable to us and we reject it and demand that you withdraw your statements or apologise because what you said contradicts our traditions, religion and true Jordanian values,” said the IAF statement, which was released on Saturday.“It also threatens Jordanian families and social security,” the statement added.

The IAF, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, claimed that Ensour was under pressure by other governments and international organisations whose values and traditions “do not comply with our traditions, culture, morals or beliefs”.

“If the premier commits to what he pledged, then we will practise our legal and constitutional right to oppose any conventions and agreements that contradict our religion and higher national interests,” the IAF said.

In July 1992, the Kingdom signed CEDAW, which was ratified and published in the Official Gazette in August 2007 with three reservations related to the citizenship, housing and women’s mobility clauses in the Personal Status Law.

In February 2009, the government decided to lift its reservations on paragraph four of Article 15 of the convention, which gives women freedom of mobility and choice of residence without the consent of their husbands or other male family members, a move which was approved by a Royal Decree.

In April 2009, the IAF called on the government to withdraw from CEDAW, alleging that the convention will undermine family values and lead to a wide range of social problems in the country.

“Families in Jordan face the threat of total collapse under CEDAW,” the IAF warned.

According to Islamists, the clause contradicts the teachings of Islam, under which authority over women’s mobility is in the hands of their husbands if they are married, and their brothers or fathers if they are single.”The agreement is not consistent with our religion and traditions and it will change our national identity,” the Islamists said, adding that CEDAW adopts the views of liberals who do not represent Arab Muslim communities.

Other Islamists such as Marwan Faouri, who was president of the Moderation Assembly for Thought and Culture, had said several years ago that CEDAW was a form of “cultural globalisation”, and “a type of control practised by the UN on member countries”.

Faouri is currently a member of the Islamic Centrist Party’s political bureau.

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