The Amman Center for Human Rights Studies organized an event on Monday evening at the Royal Cultural Center under the patronage of the Speaker of the House, Engineer Atef Tarawneh.
The event celebrated the conclusion of the project “Political Dialogue between Civil Society and the Jordanian Parliament” and the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the establishment of the center. More than 120 participants from community and academic organizations, political parties, professional unions, members of the House of Representatives, ambassadors to Jordan, representatives of the EU, United Nations agencies, local and international NGO’s, delegates from various media networks and supporters of ACHRS attended the celebration.
The ceremony began with a speech by Dr. Lubna Bayouq, a member of the Center’s Scientific Council and a professor of political science at the Arab Open University. In her speech she thanked the United Nations Democracy Fund for their support for ACHRS in implementing the dialogue project between civil society and parliament. She also gave a brief explanation of the project’s activities and outputs and reviewed the most prominent achievements of the center during the past twenty years.
The second speaker, Dr. Eckhard Strauss, Senior Adviser on Human Rights, spoke on behalf of Mr. Anders Pedersen, the United Nations’ resident and humanitarian coordinator in Jordan, emphasized the importance of the project by saying: “The project to support political dialogue between civil society and parliament is another example of the innovative and pioneering work of the Amman Center Here again, the Amman Center for Human Rights Studies has overtaken the approach of an independent institution to reflect on human rights, when it has actively facilitated the dialogue process on fundamental human rights, which has produced advanced discussions and recommendations during the round tables Various, I highlighted valuable guidance on the next practical steps, on how to further protect and promote the right to life, freedom of opinion, academic freedom, and women’s rights. I highly appreciate the inclusion of students in dialogue on these topics, followed by study visits to Parliament, as an important contribution to the involvement of young people in political debate and decision-making.“ Additionally, he noted that “the project is also an example for the effective partnership between the UN Democracy Fund and civil society. The UN Democracy Fund was created by UN Secretary-General Kofi A. Annan in 2005 as a United Nations General Trust Fund to support democratization efforts around the world.”
Mrs. Leila Hamarneh, Executive Director of the Arab Women Association, affirmed the distinguished role of the Amman Center for Human Rights Studies for Human Rights Studies and said: “We commend the role that the Amman Center for Human Rights Studies has played over the past 20 years of collaborating with us, in the defense of democracy, social justice and human rights”. She emphasized, “In our society, we have seen how hundreds of young women and men, who have turned into leaders in the defense of human rights, have been prepared and empowered. Now we are witnessing how they, in turn, became trainers for other young men and women from local communities to teach them the knowledge and skills to defend the rights of citizenship, by calling for changing discriminatory laws and practices and moving to democratic societies. The active civil society movement in our country and the activists’ movement in the human rights’ field exist mainly thanks to the giving and continuous activity of the Amman Center for Human Rights Studies.”
Student Rand Assaf, in the name of all the graduates of the training course, said: “Let me share with you some of the knowledge and skills we gained and amend the directions that we got in this course. The course broadened our understanding of the concepts, provisions, conclusions and ideas of the public affairs of Jordanian.” She also pointed out, that “perhaps the most important aspect is the knowledge of the relationship between the concepts of the constitution, democracy, human rights, peoples, citizenship, collective rights and public work. The citizens of the state cannot fully use their potential unless they actively participate in managing the affairs of society and the state, based on incorporating popular will. The participation in public affairs is not just an administrative technique, but rather a role based on a system of ideals, values, principles, concepts that respect human and people’s rights and are protected by national and international law”.
The event was concluded by a speech from the first Deputy of the president of the parliament Dr. Nassar Al-Qaisi. He praised the importance of the outputs of the social dialogue project with the House of Representatives and said: “We are pleased that the House of Representatives is sponsoring the closing ceremony of the project (Supporting Dialogue between Civil Society and the House of Representatives). A project, funded by the United Nations Fund for Democracy, that sheds light on important human rights issues and contributed to raising the level of knowledge and understanding of the citizens participating in its sessions. Additionally, it has achieved a real partnership for civil society with the public authorities, including the legislature, to promote and materialize the human rights situation, a goal in perpetuating good governance and the rule of law. These are values that have long been affirmed by His Majesty King Abdullah II in many of his speeches and directives, which raises the important point that no one is above the law”. He mentioned that, “we look forward to a great receptiveness in the House of Representatives on the final recommendations of this project, which is the result of efforts from interactive dialogues between deputies, civil society organizations, the academic community and University students. We look forward to the House of Representatives opening its arms to partnership with civil society institutions and it welcoming proposals and recommendations that are geared towards positively furthering our national path and improving our legislation in a way that fulfills the aspirations of citizens”.
At the end of the celebration, Dr. Nassar Al-Qaisi kindly gave the certificates to the graduates of the first class of the youth leadership program for Jordanian university students. He also distributed prizes to the winners of the competition for Jordanian university students and delivered certificates of appreciation to a number of deputies and shields, for their role in defending human rights and public freedoms.