‘No political implications of civil rights plan’

19-01-2014 10:42 AM

Ammon News - Jordan Times - Plans to give civil rights to husbands and children of Jordanian women married to non-Jordanians are intended only to ensure them humanitarian and social services and have no political implications, Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour said Saturday.

Ensour said these plans have nothing to do with regional developments and ongoing efforts by US Secretary of State John Kerry to breathe life into the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace push.

Critics have voiced concerns that the move would be a prelude to “settling Palestinians in Jordan” under pressure from Israel and world powers.

The plans, he told editors of local dailies, were introduced by Jordanian parliamentarians to ease problems facing families of Jordanian women married to non-Jordanians, including their children’s rights to education and health services.

“What we think of offering them are humanitarian and social services, not political,” the premier said.

“We cannot leave their children off schools. This would result in social problems that we can easily avoid,” he said.

Around 84,711 Jordanian women are married to foreigners, according to figures released by the Interior Ministry, meaning the imminent government decision would benefit them and their families, totalling around 340,000.

The announcement about the decision was made by “Mubadara” a parliamentary group comprising 25 MPs.

MP Mustafa Hamarneh (Madaba, 1st District), who is leading the initiative, said such a move would end decades of suffering for around 84,000 families.

Under the Citizenship Law, Jordanian women cannot pass on their nationality to their children and spouses, a right reserved only to Jordanian men.

These women face various difficulties, such as obtaining visas and residency permits for their husbands and children, who need them to enrol in private or public schools, and must shuttle between police stations and health centres every year to get security clearances and medical reports.

Having civil rights will allow the husbands and children of these women access to public services.

They will be able to obtain driving licences and jobs without the hassle of getting work permits, according to Hamarneh, who described such a move as “unprecedented”.

“Mubadara” is a coalition of independent parliamentary blocs that has recently proposed an initiative to engage in the decision-making process and set the ground for “concrete economic and political reforms” in the country, giving the Lower House a greater role in running the country’s affairs by evolving into a shadow government.

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