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In August and September 2014, the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Jordan Office organized six two-day training workshops in cooperation with The Reference for Development and Training Foundation (RDTF) in six different governorates of Jordan to train the youth on human rights. The training sessions took place in Ma’an, Tafila, Karak, Irbid, Ajloun and Mafraq.

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The workshops started with an introduction to the definition and concepts of human rights and a historical review of the international human rights law and rules. In the next session, the participants learned about relevant human rights conventions signed or ratified by Jordan including, for example, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), which was signed and ratified by Jordan on January 30th, 1972. The country is also one of the first seven countries to ratify the Arab Charter for Human Rights (ACHR), which was developed by the League of Arab States. Jordan ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), with reservations on some articles. The trainer explained Jordan’s reservations on CEDAW including article 15 which relates to women’s freedom of mobility and article 16 which ensures the equality of man and woman in marriage and family relations.

On the next day the trainer held a session on citizenship rights in the Jordanian constitution and legislation. The participants raised a set of questions concerning the enjoyment of citizenship rights. Unemployment and equal opportunities were the common concerns of young participants in the six governorates. They questioned the level of enjoyment of their rights as stipulated in the constitution and domestic laws. The economic and political rights were the main points of argument.

In his last session, the trainer talked about women’s rights and discrimination. The trainer highlighted women’s rights as stipulated in national laws and CEDAW. The Personal Status Law was visited by focusing on women’s rights to engagement, marriage, divorce, custody and inheritance. The right of women to social security and protection at work and labour laws were thoroughly explained to the participants and several mind provoking questions were raised. Women’s right to civic participation and social and economic rights were discussed and the trainer responded to all questions. He also threw light on the legal protection of women in the Penal Code. That session triggered a constructive debate especially by the female participants who took the chance to call on the male participants to change negative attitudes towards women’s role in society.

The workshop was a great opportunity for the young participants to learn not only about human rights in general but also about the legal framework governing human rights in their country.

The participants also received a manual, with the purpose of helping them spread out the word to friends and other members of their communities. Some of the governorates like Ma’an and Tafila are very conservative areas in Jordan. The workshops offered a good chance for male and female participants to come together and exchange their respective views about gender roles and rights. Most of the participants are active in civil society organizations or voluntary work and had the chance through this training workshop to come together with other active young participants and build networks.

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Jordan, December 21, 2014