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Christian leaders unanimously approve bill granting gender equality in inheritance procedures

By Rana Husseini - May 09,2023 - Last updated at May 09,2023

AMMAN — The Councils of Christian Denominations (CCD) in Jordan approved a draft Law of Wills and Inheritances for Christians, which grants equal inheritance rights for men and women.

Christine Faddoul, the first ever female judge at the Court of Appeals from the Greek Orthodox Church in Jordan, said that the draft law was approved unanimously by all denomination leaders on Thursday. 

 “This is an important achievement since we have been working on ensuring just rights for Christian women since the end of 2018,” Faddoul told The Jordan Times.

Christians in Jordan, as is also the case in other countries in the region, enjoy autonomy in family law, according to Faddoul.

The draft law will “be referred to the government for endorsement and accreditation as stipulated in the Jordanian Constitution Article 109 of 2011,” according to Faddoul.

Article 109 (2) stipulates: The Tribunals of Religious Communities shall apply the procedures and provisions related to the matters of personal status which are not considered matters of personal status of Muslims within the jurisdiction of the Sharia Courts; provided that the legislations of such Tribunals shall organise the conditions of the appointment of their judges and the procedures of trials before them.

The draft also includes an important amendment granting female Christians the right to block their male relatives from inheritance rights in the event that there are no immediate male family members, Faddoul explained.

After CCD approval, the draft still needs to go through the proper legal and administrative channels. A lawyer on the committee told The Jordan Times that the draft law is expected to be sent to the Cabinet for endorsement.

“Once endorsed by the government, the law will go through the legal channels of being sent to Parliament and once approved to be endorsed by a Royal decree,” added the lawyer, who preferred anonymity. 

Reem Abu Hassan, a former minister and activist, who served on the draft law committee, praised the step.

“The unanimous decision of the Christian denominations in Jordan responds to repeated demands by Christian women to have equal inheritance rights and govern family relationships,” Abu Hassan told The Jordan Times.

Abu Hassan added that there might be another legal option to approve the CCD draft by having the government endorse the bill “in the form of regulations”.

“The government will ultimately decide if this major decision by the CCD will be issued in the form of a law or regulations," Abu Hassan added.

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