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Good step towards gender equality

Jan 13,2014 - Last updated at Jan 13,2014

The deal that accords spouses and children of Jordanian women married to foreigners full civil rights, brokered by 25 deputies with the government, is a breakthrough that will help alleviate the plight of these people.

Husbands and children of some 85,000 Jordanian women married to foreigners can now, under the accord struck between the government and the MPs who launched the initiative called Mubadara aiming to end the hardships and suffering of these “dependants”, hope for quite some relief in their daily lives.

Hitherto these peoples were denied basic civil rights like ownership of property, enrolling in schools, getting driving and work permits, and, above all, residency rights without having to go through the hassle of annual renewal.

As great as this step forward is, it still is only a stopgap on the road to granting these people citizenship rights.

The government cannot continue to evade its obligation to accord men and women equal rights.

The Constitution stipulates that Jordanians are equal before the law. The government cannot pretend to be above this sacred item of legislation.

This is not to mention the legally binding international conventions on gender equality, especially the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, which prohibits any form of discrimination against women, including the right to pass on their citizenship to their children, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

These two basic international instruments have become part and parcel of countries’ national laws and must, therefore, be respected and implemented in full.

Short of doing that, any country would remain a violator of binding international law.

The 25 deputies deserve credit for the measure.

It is hoped that the government will not stop here, but go all the way towards granting equitable rights to all its citizens.

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