NCHR Calls Out ‘Unconstitutional’ Protests, Highlights Police, Officials Violations of Human Rights

AMMAN —AlGhad— The National Centre for Human Rights (NCHR) issued its report today, Tuesday, on the recent protests and the authorities’ methods of dealing with them, highlighting violations by the police and officials, as well as ‘unconstitutional’ breaches by the protestors.

The Centre issued a statement summarising the report.

Following are the highlights of the statement:

1-      Surely, the government’s recent policies have doubled the strain on Jordanians, in terms of income and the costs of living, especially after the price hikes.

2-      Citizens were further agitated by the tax revamps. It did not help that the amendments to the tax law were leaked before they were actually approved.
These revamps contradict with the progressive taxation principle highlighted in Article (111) of the constitution.

3-      The protestors demanded the resignation of the government and that a fundamental shift in economic policy be set in motion. Protestors also called for the serious countering of legalised corruption and for advancements in the fields of political reforms.
Protests addressed the head of state as the primary decision maker, since the government is has lost its general mandate, according to the protestors.

4-      Protestors breached the ceilings of expression during the protests. Some went to smearing and insulting the head of state, which allows, constitutionally and legally, for their prosecution.

5-      On the other hand, authorities have systematically violated the human rights of detainees, which are guaranteed by the constitution, as well as international covenants Jordan has signed. Detaining political activists in “dangerous criminals” facilities, solitary confinement, extended administrative detention and their referral to the Court of State Security are all examples of violations practiced by the executive authorities. Especially since political detainees are not particularly dangerous criminals, nor do they constitute a danger to state security. Regardless of the Centre’s opinion on the legality of the Court’s jurisdictions.

6-      Numerous reports came in, indicating officials have been exploiting office and leveraging and extorting detainees into forcefully swearing fealty, either them or their family members and relatives, not to mention attempts to sway the detainees’ opinions and convictions while in prison.
In some reports, government officials are said to have used family members to pressure detainees into swearing fealty in return for expedited release.
The right to express one’s opinion is guaranteed by Article (19) of the constitution and any violation against it is unacceptable. It also contradicts the principle of the Rule of Law His Majesty the King has been calling to reinforce.

7-      Restrictions on peaceful protest and public accountability as well as expression and criticism of public policy serve neither security nor development. It hurts societal vitality and weakens its immunity, not to mention it eradicates the citizens’ trust in the state institution. It helps nourish hostile, anti-state sentiment and feeds corruption, authoritarianism and nepotism.
Combined, these affect the rule of law and legitimacy of the state. The state has a responsibility to guarantee and safeguard the public’s right to protest and criticise, without insult and personal degradation, while holding those who do so responsible, all in accordance to the law and constitution.

The Centre calls for all the authorities and bodies of the state to work together to maintain the achievements made so far in regards to protecting human rights and the rule of law, by reinforcing it equally and respecting human rights.

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