The security forces used excessive force and arrested hundreds of peaceful and other demonstrators calling for reform. The authorities maintained tight restrictions on freedoms of expression, association and assembly, and imposed new restrictions on electronic media. There were reports of torture and other ill-treatment of detainees. Unfair trials continued before the State Security Court (SSC). Hundreds, possibly thousands, of criminal suspects were detained indefinitely without charge or trial. Women faced discrimination and violence; at least ten were reported to be victims of “honour” killings. Migrant domestic workers were exploited and abused. There were reports that some refugees were forcibly returned to Syria. At least 16 people were sentenced to death; there were no executions.
Demonstrations continued throughout the year against the slow pace of political reform and economic conditions, including cuts in government fuel subsidies. Protests in November became violent; one man was killed in Irbid in November in disputed circumstances and two police officers died of gunshot wounds sustained during disturbances in Karak and Amman. The King sought to assuage dissent by appointing new prime ministers in May and again in October when he dissolved parliament. Elections were set for January 2013 under an Elections Law approved by royal decree in July; opposition members argued that pro-government candidates retained an unfair advantage.
Thousands of refugees entered Jordan to escape the conflict in Syria, adding to the pressure on resources.
In November, a UK court prevented the UK government from deporting Abu Qatada to Jordan, ruling that he could not be guaranteed a fair trial there (see United Kingdom entry).Top of page
The security forces detained hundreds of peaceful and other protesters calling for political and other reform; many were beaten on arrest or in detention. In September, the government amended the Press and Publications Law to tighten restrictions on electronic media, creating powers to close or block websites.
There were reports of torture and other ill-treatment of security suspects and people detained, some incommunicado for prolonged periods, following pro-reform protests.
The SSC continued to prosecute civilians for security offences in trials that fell short of international standards of fairness. Hundreds of people including nine children faced charges under Penal Code articles criminalizing peaceful dissent and were referred to the SSC for trial.
Hundreds, possibly thousands, of people continued to be detained without charge or trial for long periods under the 1954 Law on Crime Prevention, which empowers provincial governors to order the indefinite detention without charge of anyone they suspect of having committed a crime or deem a “danger to society”.Top of page
Women were discriminated against in law and practice, and were inadequately protected against gender-based violence. At least ten women were reported to have been killed by male relatives, victims of so-called “honour” crimes.
The UN CEDAW Committee and the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women urged the government to amend the Citizenship and Nationality Law to enable Jordanian women to pass on their nationality to their children and spouses on an equal basis with Jordanian men, and to lift reservations to Articles 9 and 16 of CEDAW relating to nationality and to discrimination in family relations. In November, the Prime Minister said the government would address these reservations.Top of page
There were reports of migrant domestic workers, mostly women, being confined to their employers’ homes, denied pay, having their passports seized or being physically, psychologically or sexually abused by their employers.
In March, the UN CERD Committee urged the government to ensure full labour rights for all employees including migrant domestic workers, regardless of nationality or ethnicity.Top of page
Thousands of people fleeing the conflict in Syria sought refuge in Jordan. UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, said in December that 163,088 refugees from Syria had registered or were waiting to register with them; the total number of refugees was believed to be higher. There were reports that some Syrian and Palestinian refugees were forcibly returned to Syria. On 31 August, Jordan’s Foreign Minister said some 200 Syrians had been removed from al-Za’atari refugee camp and returned to the border area between Jordan and Syria after “rioting” and inciting violence.Top of page
At least 16 people were sentenced to death; at least five death sentences were commuted. There were no executions; the last execution was in 2006.Top of page