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Newsletter: July-December 2007

Amman Center for Human Rights Studies
2008 / 1 / 24


Amman Center for Human Rights Studies
Newsletter: July-December 2007
Amman Center for Human Rights Studies — Amman – Al-Abdali – Sharaf Building
Telefax: 00962-6-4655043 — Email: achrs@achrs.orghttp://www.achrs.org
In this issue:
• The training courses on election monitoring for Jordanian human
rights organizations were concluded.
• Workshop on drafting parallel reports
• Implementation of the Spanish Cooperation Agency- ACHRS
Project: "Enhancing youth participation in the political system.
• ACHRS attends the General Assembly of the Euro-Mediterranean
Non-Governmental Network.
• ACHRS hosts the sixth training course on trainers for human
rights defenders funded by the Norwegian Embassy in Jordan.
• ACHRS participated in the 23rd General Assembly of CONGO
from the 5th to the 7th of December in Geneva.
• ACHRS participates in the workshop on the Universal Periodic
Review (UPR) of the Human Rights Council.
• ACHRS attends resumed 6th Session of Human Rights Council
2007
The ACHRS would like to extend its warmest thanks to the invaluable efforts
and contributions made by the outgoing International Relations Unit staff:
Luise, Aki and Beth and we would like to wish them all the best for their future
endeavors.
The training courses on elections monitoring for
Jordanian human rights organizations were concluded
The seventh, eight, ninth and tenth training courses on election
monitoring for Jordanian human rights organizations were conducted by the
Amman Center for Human Rights Studies and the Jordanian Coalition for Civil
Society Organizations, in cooperation with Housha Cooperative Institute
during the months of July, August and September, 2007. Several participants,
from the different associations that are members of the Jordanian Coalition for
Civil Society Organizations, attended the course.
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Workshop on drafting parallel reports
In August 2007, the Amman Center for Human Rights
Studies organized a workshop for its staff in order to improve their skills in
drafting reports on the application of the international human rights treaties
which the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan acceded to, and to acquaint the
participants with the United Nations human rights mechanisms.
Implementation of the Spanish Cooperation Agency-
ACHRS Project: "Enhancing youth participation in the
political system"
The Amman Center for Human Rights Studies, with the financial
support of the Spanish Cooperation Agency, started implementing the project
" Enhancing youth participation in the Jordanian political system" in October
with their eyes on the Jordanian general elections on the 20th of November in
order to increase youth involvement in the process.
The aim of the project
To improve and increase youth participation (15-22 years old) in the
political life of Jordan at both levels: regional and national. To advance their
abilities and skills in order to fully and adequately participate in the political
system, especially taking into consideration their involvement as leaders and
voters in the electoral system.
The general characteristics of the project:
- The project was carried out in 7 schools (Al-Itihad, Princess Taghreed,
Makheer Amman, Jawa, Al-Durr Al- Manthour, Al-Gwesmah, Abu-
Alanda and Al-Zhoor) and 7 universities (Philadelphia, Al-Hussein Bin
Talal, King Abdullah II Fund at the technical University of Tafeela, Al
Balqa a, Jarash, Al-Isra a, Al Yarmouk, Mou’ta, the University of
Science and Technology and Al-Zarqa) covering the main Jordanian
universities. The courses were attended by hundreds of students, both
female and male and were carried out by Mr. Muhammad Sarsak.
- The plan was performed in order to improve the knowledge of the
students about their political and electoral system.
- The project was executed through seminars, conferences and teaching
sessions.
- The students completed assignments on these issues.
- The teaching courses were conducted by the following lawyers: Dr.
Mustafa Yaghi, Zaha’a Al Majaly and Raed Al Athamna, members of
the Training Unit of the Center.
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ACHRS attends the General Assembly of the Euro-
Mediterranean Non-Governmental Network
Madrid, 10 & 11, November 2007
The Amman Center for Human Rights Studies participated in the
General Assembly of the newly formed Euro-Med platform for Non-
Governmental Network as a permanent member of this network. Miss Gloria
Donate was the representative of the Center for the duration of the Assembly
and was able to vote on the amendments, the budget, and annual plan of the
network. In addition, the new board and president were also nominated.
After this GA, the ACHRS decided to start working on the creation of a
national (Jordanian) platform of non governmental organizations in the
following months.
ACHRS hosts the sixth training course on trainers for
human rights defenders funded by the Norwegian
Embassy in Jordan
The Amman Center for Human Rights Studies thanks to the support of
the Norwegian Embassy in Jordan organized and trained 18 human rights
activists from all around the Arab world on the issue of women rights. The
course lasted 20 days (the first stage taking place from 20-29 June and the
second from the 25 October – 3 November).
Seminars, lectures, and workshops held by the ACHRS,
July- December
1- In partnership with Amman Centre for Human Rights Studies (ACHRS),
Penal Reform International (PRI) organized a regional conference to
challenge death penalty in the Arab World. The conference, which was
held in Amman on 2-3 July 2007, was attended by participants
representing civil society organizations from eight Arab countries:
namely, Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon, Algeria, Palestine, Egypt, Yemen
and Jordan.
2- On the 10th September 2007 the UK based Institute for Public Policy
Research (IPPR) organized a Seminar entitled "Political Reform in
Jordan: The Role of International Partners", in coordination with the
Amman Center for Human Rights Studies. The seminar was attended by
25 intellectuals, academics, party members, and journalists representing
the various visions and political trends prevailing in the Jordanian society.
3- In November the ACHRS held a seminar on academic freedom in
Jordanian universities. The seminar was attended by a group of
academics, governmental and private universities professors,
researchers, and those parties and civil society organizations interested
in academic freedom and scientific research.
4- Also, in November 2007 the ACHRS held a discussion seminar, in
cooperation with Penal Reform International (PRI), to discuss the plan of
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the formation of a Jordanian Coalition against the Death Penalty for
2008.
5- From the 7-8 of November a regional seminar took place to evaluate the
Juvenile Justice programs in MENA region, in cooperation with the Penal
Reform International (PRI) and with the support of the Swedish
International Development Agency (SIDA).
6- From the 21-23 November 2007 the ACHRS held a Seminar on Political
Reformation and the Role of NGOs in the Arab World, in cooperation with
the Aspen Institute/ Berlin. The seminar aimed to strengthen and bring
together NGOs and civil society organizations of the region, particularly
those in Syria and Jordan, and facilitate the discussion of the many
problems they encounter by an open forum for the sharing ideas and
their experiences.
ACHRS participated in the 23rd General Assembly of
CONGO from the 5th to the 7th of December in Geneva
The ACHRS has attended the 23rd General Assembly of CONGO
(Conference of Non-Governmental Organisations in Consultative Status with
ECOSOC) in Geneva from the 5th to the 7th of December 2007. The Centre
was represented by the International Relations staff, Miss Sadaf Hariri and
Miss Gloria Doñate.
The ACHRS has recently joined CONGO (which commemorated its
60th anniversary this year) and therefore, it was the first time it attended its
General Assembly. The General Assembly was attended by around 300
participants from over the world in order to review and vote the Annual Plan,
the budget and the new president and board.
The overall theme for the debates during this assembly was focused
around the concept of “Moving from Consultation to Partnership in Promoting
Rights and Responsible Governance at all Levels”. In other words, how can
civil society organisations move from having an advice-giving position in the
international community to actually collaborating at an equal level with other
international stakeholders such as governments or financial institutions in
promoting and protecting international human rights standards.
The General Assembly reviewed and voted on the Treasurer report,
the Auditor’s Report, the Amendments (which were suspended to the next
General Assembly due to disagreements between the members) and the
Report of the President. The new board and president were elected and the
former president, Renate Bloem ended her seven year term surrounded by
general ovation.
CONGO also organized many appealing workshops during these two
days but the ACHRS chose to participate in the ¨Dynamic Partnership for
Human Rights Education and Learning” since the Centre s main activities are
concentrated around the concept of human rights education. This workshop
provided an opportunity for interactive discussion among the participants and
the key note speakers (who included Therese Bjork from the Office of the
High Commissioner, Felisa Tibbitts, from Human Rights Education Associates
and Cynthia Gervais, from Rights and Democracy). The workshop assessed
the challenges and shortcomings of the World Programme for Human Rights
.
Education (WPHRE) and its plan of action (the provision of human rights
education in primary and secondary school system). The importance of
increasing awareness of human rights among the youth was emphasised as
the key factor in preventing conflicts, increasing tolerance and ending
discrimination. This is a view strongly shared by the ACHRS, which actively
engages in training courses geared towards the youth in Jordan by organizing
workshops on human rights issues in Jordanian schools and universities.
The ACHRS wishes to thank the staff of CONGO for their serious and
well organised General Assembly and for the fascinating parallel events they
sponsored. Moreover, the ACHRS wants to express its most sincere gratitude
to the CONGO staff, specially the Secretariat Phillipe Dam for easing dialogue
between us and other members, proving that CONGO is indeed a true and
real facilitator between the UN system and non governmental organisations.
ACHRS participates in the workshop on the Universal
Periodic Review (UPR) of the Human Rights Council
The Amman Centre for Human Rights Studies is delighted to report
that it had the pleasure to actively participate in the “Workshop and Public
Event on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR)” organised by Rights and
Democracy (Geneva) from the 8th of December to the 11th.
The centre was represented by the International Relations Unit staff,
more specifically by Sadaf Hariri and Gloria Doñate, who were kindly ask to
participate by the Director of the Arab Bureau for Human Rights, Mr Elobaid
Elamin and by the Director of Rights and Democracy in Geneva, Ms Cynthia
Gervais. The ACHRS will like to thank both of them for their invitation and for
the opportunity given to us to partake in this workshop.
The aim of this workshop was to bring together representatives from
NGOs and National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) from various parts of
the world in order to provide a space for the exchange of perspectives and
experiences, as well as enhancing the overall understanding of the new UPR
process.
In brief, the UPR is a new mechanism of the Human Rights Council
under which it will review, on a regular basis, the fulfilment by all the 192 UN
member states of their human rights obligations and responsibilities.
According to UNGA resolution 60/251, the UPR is to be a cooperative
mechanism, based on objective and reliable information, and equal treatment
of all states. The UPR is a comprehensive and inclusive mechanism which
allows submission from not only states but from other stakeholders: NHRIs,
civil society organisations, non governmental organisations, media or
academics.
As it is new international human rights instrument, there is still
considerable uncertainty about how the UPR will work in practice or if it will
actually become an effective tool in the promotion and protection of human
rights. Therefore, in order to increase and improve our understanding on this
instrument the workshop was arranged.
During the four days that the workshop lasted, there was a full
assessment of the role of stakeholders (UN agencies, states, NGOs and
NHRIs) in the UPR process. The challenges, opportunities, constraints that
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this mechanism creates were discussed between the participants.
Furthermore, since there were participants in the workshop who had already
submitted their papers to the Office of the High Commissioner, they were able
to provide a better insight into this process and offer their advice on what
strategies NGOs should follow.
Since the UPR process is such a complicated mechanism which
requires the cooperation and coordination of all stakeholders and since the
ACHRS had the privilege to attend this workshop and consequently learn
about the mandate of the UPR and understand the role of NGOs in this
process, it feels it has the responsibility to inform civil society in Jordan and
the Arab world in general about all these. Therefore, in the coming months it
will aim to organise workshops and seminars to inform their partners.
ACHRS attends the resumed 6th Session of Human
Rights Council, December 2007
The resumed 6th Session of the Human Rights Council took place
between 10th and 14th December 2007 and was attended by representatives
of the Amman Center for Human Rights Studies Sadaf Hariri and Gloria
Donate. The first part of the resumed session was dedicated to the
celebration of the upcoming 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights with all Member States affirming their commitment to the
principles therein enshrined and the need for continued state cooperation
within the UN system to the achievement of peace, security, harmony; and the
recognition of the inherent dignity and equality to which each human being is
entitled, as envisaged by the Charter s framers.
Over the course of the five days many important and pressing human
rights issues were discussed, including sessions reporting on the Mandate
and Special Rapporteur missions to Burma, Darfur, Palestine and other
occupied Arab territories, continued home to endemic and dire human rights
violations, Special Rapporteurs on Counter terrorism measures (Sheinin),
torture (Novak); the proposed resolution for the continued mandate on the
right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health
(submitted by Brazil); and the discussion of the resolution for the adoption of
the right to be free from discrimination and intolerance on the basis of
religious disposition, following on the from the Durban Declaration and
Programme of Action.
In addition, the Council looked more generally at the Optional Protocol
to the ICESCR (see below for detailed findings) granting economic, social and
cultural rights the status they deserve under the Vienna Declaration, and the
new Universal Periodic Review organ of the Human Rights Council, which is
intended to provide an overall framework for monitoring the human rights
situation of all member States and their respective obligations to international
treaties under the UN system, with a particularly crucial and integral role to
played by national human rights institutions and civil society organizations in
the reporting process stage.
There were also a great number of interesting and vital parallel side
events organized by various NGOs who were present at the Council. The
most notable of these were those on the subject of violations against children
in Darfur, the UPR in the Arab Region, the suspension of rule of law and
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introduction of martial law in the recent Pakistan crisis and legal rights in Iraq
today. This illustrates the very real need for NGOs to keep in touch with the
UN system and engage in the processes for active involvement that it amply
provides, whether they be regional or international collaborations.
Participatory Activities of the ACHRS
1- A meeting of Experts Committee to discuss the observatory and survey
of Arab Institution for Democracy, Beirut, Lebanon from 1-4 October
2007.
2- Celebration of World Day against Death Penalty, organized by the
International Coalition against Death Penalty, Casablanca, Morocco, 1-4
Oct., 2007
3- General Assembly of the Euro-med Non-governmental Platform, Madrid,
Spain, 9-11 Nov. 2007.
4- The twentieth Conference of the International Federation of Workers
Education Associations (IFWEA) was held in Ahmedabad, India, during
the period 1-5 Dec. 2007.
5- The 23rd General Assembly of CONGO (Conference of Non-
Governmental Organizations in Consultative Status with ECOSOC) in
Geneva from 5-7 Dec. 2007.
6- The Workshop and Public Event on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR)
of the Human Rights Council, Geneva, 8-11 Dec. 2007.
7- The Consultative Meeting on "Ways of Activating the Arab Charter for
Human Rights", held in Cairo on 29/12/2007.
Publications of the Center
1- The eleventh issue of the election observer, July 2007.
2- The twelfth issue of the election observer, August 2007.
3- The thirteenth issue of the election observer, September 2007.
4- A book entitled "The Electoral Systems in the World", written by twelve
university teachers from Jordan, Iraq, and Palestine.
5- A book entitled "The Academic Freedom and Creativity - Theoretical and
practical study in the light of the Iraqi, Arab and world experiences",
written by Professor Abdulsalam Ibrahim Al-Baghdadi – 2007.
6- The second annual report on press freedom in the Arab countries for
2006.
7- The first report on academic freedom in Arab universities for May and
July, 2007.
8- A report on media freedoms in the Arab countries for the first half of
2007.
9- A report on municipal elections in Jordan, 31 July 2007.
10- The seventh issue (in English) of the center s newsletter in 2007.
11- A book entitled (The Right to a Fair Trial), by Judge Dr. Mohammad Al-
Tarawneh.
12- The fourteenth issue of the election observer, October 2007.
13- The fifteenth issue of the election observer, November 2007.
14- A report entitled: “Comments on the elections of the 15th Jordanian
House of Representatives.” The report consists of 18 pages and
1
discusses the electoral law and the election regulations enforced in the
Hashemite kingdom of Jordan.
15- A study on Academic Freedom in the Jordanian Universities.
16- Summary of the Report on the monitoring of the Media coverage of the
Jordanian parliamentary Elections for 2007.
17- A report on electronic coverage of the parliamentary elections in 2007.
18- A book entitled "Juvenile Justice: The Arab Experience" in cooperation
with Penal Reform International (PRI). The book is a collective
publication published in 2007.
19- A book entitled "Studies on Death Penalty and the right to live in the Arab
world" in cooperation with Penal Reform International (PRI) and
supported by the European Commission. The book is a collective
publication published Dec. 2007.
20- The sixteenth issue of the election observer, December 2007.
About ACHRS
Amman Center for Human Rights Studies (ACHRS) is an independent,
regional, scientific, advocacy center for studies, research and training on
issues of human rights and democracy.
In pursuit of contributing to the dissemination of a culture of human rights, our
work and activities aim at strengthening civil society in Jordan and in the Arab
World, and at inducing a change to the general level of awareness and
sensibility towards human rights and democracy.
The projects carried out by ACHRS mainly concentrate on training for
democracy and human rights as they are closely related and highly
complementary. Conducting studies and research to serve as an informational
basis is a further means to achieve our aims.
ACHRS:
- Consultative status with ECOSOC
- Constituting member of the Federation of Human Rights Centers in the
Arab World
- Member of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN)
- Correspondent member of the International Federation for Human
Rights (FIDH)
- Member of the Arab Network for NGOs
- Member of the International Federation of Workers Education
Associations (IFWEA)
- Member of the Euro-Mediterranean Youth Platform
- Member of the Euro-Mediterranean Civil Forum
- Initiator for establishing the Election Network in the Arab Region
(ENAR)
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- Constituting member of the Jordanian Alliance for the CSO in Jordan
- Initiator for establishing the Arab Network for HR Trainers
- Initiator for establishing the Jordanian Network for HR Trainers
- Initiator for establishing the Iraqi Network for Supporting Women and
Youth in Elections
- Member of the Arab Social Forum
- Member of CIVICUS
- Member of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC)




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