Jordan

SOCIAL/CULTURAL

What is the population of your country?
Population (2009): 5.97 million.
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3464.htm

What is the ethnic make up of your country? Ethnic groups: Mostly Arab but small communities of Circassians, Armenians, and Chechens.
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3464.htm

What is the religious make up of your country?
Religions (2001 census est.): Sunni Muslim 92%, Christian 6%, other 2%.
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3464.htm

What is the literacy rate?
Education (2007, according to Jordan's Department of Statistics): Literacy--92.1%.
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3464.htm

What is the maternal mortality rate?
19.1 deaths per 100000 live births reported for 2007-2008
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20810108

What is the infant mortality rate?
Infant mortality rate--20/1,000
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3464.htm

What is the life expectancy for men and women?
Health (2007): Life expectancy--71.6 yrs. male; 74.4 yrs. female.
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3464.htm

What percentage of the country is under 14, between 15 and 64, and over 65?
Based on 2000 figures, 39.6% of the population is under 14 years of age, 57.7% between 15–64 years, and 2.7% over 65 years.
www.ishib.org/journal/Ethn-15-01s-0077.pdf

What is the status of women in your country?
“The status of Jordanian women is currently undergoing a historic transition, with women achieving a number of positive gains and new rights. While much room for progress remains, Jordanian women enjoy equal rights with respect to their entitlement to health care, education, political participation, and employment. Nevertheless, women in Jordan continue to be denied equal nationality and citizenship rights with men. Women also face gender-based discrimination in Jordan's family laws and in provision of government pensions and social security benefits. Violence against women remains a serious problem in Jordan, and protection mechanisms for women victims of violence are inadequate.”
http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=174

Does your country have a drug problem?
There is no illicit drug production or cultivation of illicit drugs reported for Jordan.
http://www.unodc.org/egypt/en/country_profile_jordan.html

Does your country have problems with AIDS/HIV or any other major infectious disease?
In 2007, there were an estimated 380,000 people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in the region, according to UNAIDS. Although figures are low compared with southern Africa or Asia, they are still a cause for alarm, particularly since they are rising rapidly
http://www.usaid.gov/our_work/global_health/aids/Countries/me/jordan.html

The government has launched the Jordan National AIDS Programme, whose strategic objectives stipulate curbing the spread of the human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV), as well as alleviating the psychological, social and health consequences of infection on the victim and his/her family. Its objectives are in harmony with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), set to be met by the year 2015, which call for combating HIV/AIDS and other diseases and achieve universal access to treatment for all those who need i?. (2010-2014)
http://www.jordantimes.com/index.php?news=30995

In 2005, total reported malaria cases were 86 with no local malaria transmission
http://www.emro.who.int/rbm/CountryProfiles-jor.htm

Approximately how many years do boys go to school?  How many years do girls
attend school?
male: 13 years
female: 13 years (2008)
www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/jo.html

What is the relationship between religion and the public sector in your country?
The Islamic religion is a dominant part in the Jordan society. Although other religions like Christianity are allowed most of the Government and the King partake in Islamic rituals, and follow the Koran.

Amman, Nov. 16 (Petra) - The pro-Habashneh - His Majesty King Abdullah II on Tuesday, crowds of worshipers to perform Eid prayers in the mosque of King Hussein Bin Talal, God rest his soul.

His Majesty was briefed and worshipers to the Eid sermon delivered by His Eminence Sheikh Abdul Karim Al-Khasawneh Grand Mufti of the Kingdom, in which he said that the Eid in Islam is on obedience to God, the Almighty is the link, worship, sacrifice and as a means to regulate the relationship is with himself and his fellow members of the community so that acts of obedience and Istzid of righteousness.

He explained that the feast is a day of solidarity and Tahab and visit one and the ties of kinship and connect with people, and said that a Muslim working to activate and strengthen the love between the sons of the same society and fit in between the two disputing parties and unite the scattered and fills the needy.

He spoke about the virtues of the Muslim Eid, which comes after the Hajj, which meets the sons of the Islamic world from every deep ravine to the rituals performed in and fade out the differences, where everyone is equal.

He said that rejoices in this feast pilgrims for forgiveness and mercy, where it accepts the slaves to God Almighty, Mottagrbin udhiyah to devote to giving love and tender approach to following the example of Abraham and the Sunnah of our Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him.

He pointed out that the sacrifice is a confirmed Sunnah, one of the symbols of Islam, The Muslim sacrifices in multiple aspects of life through dedication to work and good citizenship and participation in nation building.

Upon the arrival of His Majesty to the mosque, accompanied by His Highness Prince Hussein bin Abdullah II, Crown Prince, His Majesty greeted a group of guards of honor and played the music of peace and the Royal Artillery fired a twenty-one shot.

The Eid prayer, the Crown Prince, His Royal Highness Prince Raad Bin Zeid chief secretary and the Prime Minister and President of the Senate and the President of the Judicial Council and the President of the Royal Court and advisers to King Abdullah and President of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and senior staff of the Royal Court and the Directors of the General Intelligence and the gendarmerie, public security and civil defense, and senior officials of civilians and military personnel.
http://petra.gov.jo/Public_News/Nws_NewsDetails.aspx?lang=1&site_id=2&NewsID=13089&CatID=14

Does your country have a refugee problem?
By the middle of 2009, the number of Palestinian refugees on UNRWA rolls had risen to 4.7 million, several times the number that left Palestine in 1948. In just the past three years, the number grew by 8 percent. Today, 42 percent of the refugees live in the territories; if you add those living in Jordan, 80 percent of the Palestinians currently live in “Palestine.” Though the popular image is of refugees in squalid camps, less than one-third of the Palestinians are in the 59 UNRWA-run camps.
During the years that Israel controlled the Gaza Strip, a consistent effort was made to get the Palestinians into permanent housing. The Palestinians opposed the idea because the frustrated and bitter inhabitants of the camps provided the various terrorist factions with their manpower. Moreover, the Arab states routinely pushed for the adoption of UN resolutions demanding that Israel desist from the removal of Palestinian refugees from camps in Gaza and the West Bank. They preferred to keep the Palestinians as symbols of Israeli “oppression.”
Field of Operations    Official Camps    Registered Refugees    Registered Refugees in Camps
Jordan
10    1,967,414    339,668
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/refugees.html

Does your country have freedom of religion, press, speech?
The Constitution provides for the freedom to practice the rites of one's religion and faith in accordance with the customs that are observed in the Kingdom, unless they violate public order or morality. The state religion is Islam. The Government prohibits conversion from Islam and proselytization of Muslims.
There was no change in the status of respect for religious freedom by the Government during the period covered by this report. In June 2006 the Government published the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in the Official Gazette, which, according to Article 93.2 of the Constitution, gives the Covenant the force of law. Article 18 of the ICCPR provides for freedom of religion (See Legal/Policy Framework). Despite this positive development, restrictions and some abuses continued. Members of unrecognized religious groups and converts from Islam face legal discrimination and bureaucratic difficulties in personal status cases. Converts from Islam additionally risk the loss of civil rights. Shari'a courts have the authority to prosecute proselytizers.
Relations between Muslims and Christians generally are good; however, adherents of unrecognized religions and Muslims who convert to other faiths face societal discrimination. Prominent societal leaders took steps to promote religious freedom.
Because Shari'a governs the personal status of Muslims, converting from Islam to Christianity and proselytism of Muslims are not allowed. Muslims who convert to another religion face societal and governmental discrimination. Under Shari'a, converts are regarded as apostates and may be denied their civil and property rights. The Government maintains it neither encourages nor prohibits apostasy. The Government does not recognize converts from Islam as falling under the jurisdiction of their new religious community's laws in matters of personal status; converts are still considered Muslims. Converts to Islam fall under the jurisdiction of Shari'a courts. Shari'a, in theory, provides for the death penalty for Muslims who apostatize; however, the Government has never applied such punishment. The Government allows conversion to Islam.
http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2007/90213.htm

Following a wave of arrests of journalists in 2008, the level of press freedom in Jordan remained relatively unchanged in 2009, as those arrested met with mixed outcomes in court. Jordan's constitution guarantees freedoms of expression and speech so long as their exercise does not "violate the law." Press laws include vague clauses and other restrictions that curb media freedom and allow journalists to be tried under Jordan's penal code, rather than its civil code. All publications must obtain licenses from the state. The 2007 Press and Publications Law allows the courts to block publication of any printed material and withdraw licenses, but limits the government's ability to shut down printing presses. The law also prohibits detention for opinions expressed through "speech, writing, or through any other means," yet in 2008, Fayez al-Ajrashi, an editor who published criticism of Amman's mayor, spent 15 days in detention while authorities investigated allegations that he had "agitated sectarian tensions and created strife among people." He continued to await trial throughout 2009. The Press and Publications Law provides for fines of up to 28,000 dinars (US$39,500) for speech that offends religion, the prophets, or the government.
http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/country,,,ANNUALREPORT,JOR,,4ca5cc5c28,0.html

Does your country have any issues with trafficking in persons?
There is, however, another sector where reports of forced labour and trafficking are an area of concern. Partly because of the entry of women into the labour market, many households in Jordan have secured the services of foreign domestic workers. Official figures put their number at about 43,500, though it is believed the real number is higher. They are often female and come mainly from Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka. Over the past years, a number of organizations have published reports alleging irregular recruitment, non-payment of wages, and physical and sexual abuse. Here too the Government has made some progress working with UNIFEM on the development and introduction of a standard work contract and a nation-wide awareness campaign. Again, the Government acknowledges persistent problems in this area and has taken further action to address them.
Independently, and in collaboration with the ILO and other partners, the Government has taken progressive steps to better translate into domestic legislation its political commitment to combat human trafficking and forced labour. Some proposed amendments to the labour law were adopted by Parliament in July 2008. These include extending the coverage of the law to workers in the agriculture and domestic sectors. The new law also introduced some articles related to forced labour and sexual harassment where previously there were no such articles. There was also a proposed amendment to allow migrant workers to join unions. Unfortunately, Parliament rejected this amendment. It is understood that the Government, with the support of the social partners, is planning to resubmit this amendment, albeit in a different format, together with further amendments.
At the institutional level, in early 2007 the Government formed an Inter-Ministerial Committee for the coordination of labour issues, including trafficking in persons. The Committee’s work first focused on a single QIZ factory and led to the first sentences ever in Jordan for physical abuse of workers by a number of QIZ factory line supervisors. According to Government officials, since its restructuring the Committee directly solved 8 cases of serious worker rights violations and referred 14 cases of trafficking-related offences to different prosecution/judicial entities.
Since early 2007, the Government has been working in partnership with the ILO in implementing a pilot programme on Combating Forced Labour and Trafficking in the QIZs. In August 2008 the Prime Minister formed a Ministerial Committee on Trafficking, composed of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Health, Justice, Labour, Social Affairs, and Trade and Industry, and the Public Security Department.
Notwithstanding, the significant efforts made by the Government to eliminate forced labour and trafficking in Jordan, especially in the QIZs, there is still a great need for further action for the consolidation of a national strategy and action plan to eliminate human trafficking and forced labour in the country. Acknowledging this need, the Jordanian government as well as employers’ and workers organizations have expressed their interest to continue collaborating with the ILO in this respect. The project outlined in this document is intended to build and expand on the ongoing Pilot Programme on the QIZs, ending in December 2008. The new project would run for a period of 18 months and is designed to assist the Jordanian government and social partners in following up and capitalizing on the measures taken to combat and prosecute human trafficking while including a specific dimension on regulating and monitoring the recruitment process.
http://www.ilo.org/sapfl/Projects/lang--en/WCMS_104064/index.htm


What are three current social/cultural issues in your country?
“Homosexual Volunteers can expect to encounter difficulties. Jordanian society does not openly acknowledge homosexuality. In fact, homosexual behavior is illegal in Jordan and gay and lesbian rights are not protected under the Jordanian constitution. Homosexual Volunteers must be extremely discreet about their sexual orientation and may encounter particularly trying situations at work and in the community. Many choose not to make their sexual orientation public. Regardless of what is found in the community.”
http://www.peacecorpswiki.org/Diversity_and_cross-cultural_issues_in_Jordan

(Issue with Palestinian immigrants flooding into Jordan)
Israel has always had a “Jordanian solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The option, which was strongly backed by right-wing Likud members such as former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, basically proposed the removal of Palestinians from the West Bank and their homeland and their relocation to Jordan.

Advocates of such an option believed that Jordan was the new Palestine and the resettlement of Palestinians in Jordan was a panacea for all problems. Although the 1994 accord signed by King Hussein and former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was supposed to allay concerns in Jordan, lingering uneasiness remains for King Hussein's successors in the Arab kingdom. This concern was highlighted only a few days ago when Israeli legislator Arieh Eldad submitted a proposal for the creation of a Palestinian state in Jordan.

Eldad, who is a member of the National Union fundamentalist party in the Israeli Knesset, called on the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee to consider his proposal. But his request was turned down by Tsahi Hanegbi of the Kadima Party, who said he believed the move would heighten tension between Jordan and Israel. However, Hanegbi was careful not to rule out the idea altogether, and only suggested that such a proposal should be discussed and debated at a later time.

Meanwhile, the Israeli military's recent announcement that it plans to expel a large number of alleged Palestinian infiltrators from the West Bank has only added to the concerns of King Abdullah II, the current ruler of Jordan.  The so-called infiltrators are mostly Gazans, who have been living in the West Bank for the past few decades.  If the plan is implemented, families would be wrecked and about 70,000 people would be expelled. Israel has already expelled about 50,000 Palestinians over the past few weeks. King Abdullah II is worried that if Israel continues expelling Palestinians, they will all end up in his country since they must travel to Gaza via Jordan and Egypt. He believes the forced exodus of Palestinians to Jordan is a red line that should not be crossed since it would give rise to an all-out military confrontation.

Controversy over the issue intensified in Jordan after a number of retired army commanders wrote a letter in which they argued against giving Jordanian citizenship to Palestinian immigrants. Perhaps no one in Israel takes the Jordanian king's warning seriously, but his concerns are serious and deep-rooted.
http://www.islamtimes.org/vdcjmae8.uqeioz29fu.html

Jordan is classified as a chronically water-scarce country where less than 5 per cent of the land is arable, or fit for agricultural purposes. For smallholder farmers little or no rainfall means severely reduced cultivation and production, which leads to increased hunger and poverty. The lack of rainfall coupled with high evaporation of what little rain the country does get, has led to deterioration of the groundwater quality and an increase in the salinity levels. This leaves the soil deprived of its moisture making it difficult to grow certain crops.
In addition, smallholders also face the challenge of competition for water sources as the agricultural sector is under mounting pressure to divert increasingly larger quantities of the clean water resources to cities and urban centres for domestic consumption.
http://www.ifad.org/media/press/2010/22.htm

Comments