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Court ruling in favour of Jordanian woman married to foreigner offers hope for activists

By Rana Husseini - Dec 06,2020 - Last updated at Dec 06,2020

AMMAN — Women’s rights activists on Sunday praised a recent Court of Cassation ruling which clarified that the word “children” in the Jordanian laws means both males and females.

Activists said this “historic” ruling could open the door for Jordanian women married to non-Jordanian’s to file cases at courts demanding to pass on their citizenship to their children, a right that is only guaranteed to Jordanian men who are married to foreign women. 

The verdict, which was issued on October 28, “set the base for equality between men and women, which could reflect positively on families of Jordanian women who are married to foreign men”, lawyer Tamer Khreis said.

The case was related to a woman who filed a lawsuit against a Jordanian university that decided that only male students benefitted from certain scholarships and based its decision on the fact that the word “children” in the law meant males, not females.

Khreis filed a lawsuit on behalf of the student asking the court to clarify if the word “children” applied only to males or if it also included females in its meaning.

The higher court ruled that the word applies to both males and females, and therefore, the student should benefit from the scholarship, according to Khreis.

Lawyer and activist Noor Imam praised the decision saying what came in the verdict is not directly related to the Citizenship Law itself.

But Imam added that the fact that the court ruled that the word “children” relates to both males and females works to eliminate any misunderstanding regarding this word.

“We will try to take some cases to the relevant courts and base our demands on this verdict to see how the courts would respond,” Imam told The Jordan Times.

Meanwhile, Secretary General of the Jordanian National Commission for Women Salma Nims also welcomed the court decision but said the important issue is to “wait and see how the relevant courts would legally deal with this decision”.

“The higher court set a precedent and this could be applicable in other cases but we will have to wait and see how this issue will be handled in the relevant courts,” Nims told The Jordan Times.

The women’s movement and families of Jordanian women married to non-Jordanians have for years been demanding full citizenship rights for them.

However, individuals and entities who oppose granting citizenship to family members of these women, particularly those with Palestinian husbands, say the measure will only lead Israel to implement its “ultimate plan of creating a substitute homeland for Palestinians in Jordan”. 

Palestinians, except Gazans, who became refugees after the creation of Israel on Palestinian land, and those who were living in the West Bank when it was occupied by Israel in 1967, have been granted Jordanian citizenship.

In 2014, the government had pledged to ensure the proper application of the “privileges” the government had granted to children of Jordanian women, provided that their mothers had been living in Jordan for a minimum of five years, for at least 180 days per year.

These included the rights to residency permits, applying for a driving licence and owning property, as well as educational, health, labour and investment services.

 

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