Hundreds Turn Out to Demand Basic Rights for Women in Jordan

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By Nadine Toukan at Global Voices

Over 200 people created a human chain in the streets of Amman on the afternoon of Monday June 25, 2012, holding signs to demonstrate against crimes in the name of honor, harassment, nationality discrimination against children of Jordanian women, and rapists allowed to marry their victims to avoid prosecution.

The human demonstration was themed ‘There Is No Difference Between You and Me’ and included dozens of statements held up confidently demanding change in laws, behavioral change, defining the need for women’s rights that impact the cohesion of society as a whole, and asserting a need for urgent and vital transformation in Jordan.

Lead by the grassroots movement Ayna Naqef (Where Do We Stand? a No Honor In Crime campaign), the collaboration included My Mother is Jordanian and Her Nationality is My Right, and Mush Shatara (Not Being Smart), and Against article 308 of the Jordanian Penal Code, as well as concerned independent individuals.

In an organizing note, curator Toleen Touq, who ignited the chain reaction wrote:

We are a group of women and men, some independent, and some from community campaigns, jointly planning for a human chain that aims at a communal refusal of all discriminatory practices against women in Jordan.

On AndFarAway, Roba Al-Assi blogged:

Let me remind you that in our country, the system legally allows a man to go rape any little girl on the street and then get away with his crime by marrying her. Let me remind you that in our country, over 112 Jordanian women were brutally murdered by their own families for “honor” in the past 10 years. Of course, our penal law happily condones this. Let me remind you that in our country, the laws are sexist, unjust, and greedy, so mychildren cannot take on my nationality just because I happen to be a womanLet me remind you that in our country, as women, articles 97, 98, 100, 340, and 345 affect our safety and our well-being in our own country. Let me remind you that in our country, people have turned the word “honor” into blasphemy.

Rozan Khalifeh of No Honor In Crime talks about the human chain in this AmmonNews video (in Arabic):

Most of those present here today are young women, men, and older mothers and fathers from all walks of our Jordanian society. We are here to reject actions that harm women, and all laws that discriminate against women. We are all here to support each other and take a stand for the movements that support women’s rights. Some passersby have also stopped their cars and joined us in this stand. Our calls to action are related to social behaviors as well as laws. Although some of us belong to initiatives and movements that are independent of each other, we have made a point to join forces on specific efforts, like today’s human chain, so as to better serve our goals and strengthen our legal voice towards getting heard in the house of representatives.

You can see more photos and slogans compiled by Roba on her blog, or check out the No Honor In Crime album and Frekeeh’s blog album here.