Jordan: Syndicalist movement met with severe repression and arbitrary detention


Geneva – Geneva Council for Rights and Liberties (GCRL) has called on the Jordanian authorities to reverse its decision to close the Teachers’ Syndicate and to immediately release its 13 board members and other teachers who have been detained in relation to the protest demanding teachers rights.
Geneva Council stresses that the Jordanian authorities must abide by the right to freedom of trade union work internationally guaranteed, and which is included in Convention No. 87 concerning freedom of association and protection of the right to organize adopted by the General Conference of the International Labor Organization of 1948, which stipulates that workers’ and employers’ organizations shall organize freely and not be liable to be dissolved or suspended by an administrative authority.
GCRL expresses its deep concern that the Jordanian government has taken a retaliatory approach in dealings with Teachers Syndicate, which was established in 2011 as an elected legal body with financial and administrative independence established by Law No. 14 of 2011 representing the teachers in the  Kingdom of Jordan, that raises huge concerns over the government’s respect for the rule of law.
On July 25, 2020, police raided the Jordan Teachers Syndicate headquarters in Amman and 11 of its branches across the country, shuttered them, and arrested all 13 syndicate board members along with other teachers.
The detained syndicate members announced a hunger strike, and their families reported that their health conditions have deteriorated, while authorities have banned any publishing or commenting on all media and social media platforms about the incident.
Authorities said the closure order is based on criminal complaints before the public prosecutor’s office, but the 2011 Jordan Teachers Syndicate Law states that the group’s board can only be dissolved by a vote of two-thirds of the members of its central committee or by judicial order.
The Jordanian government and the Teachers Syndicate have engaged in high-profile public disputes including several strikes since the establishment of the syndicate in 2011, primarily over public school teacher pay.
Geneva Council notes that the Jordanian authorities did not provide any clear judicial order around the syndicate closure and they have arbitrarily arrested members because of their ongoing protests.
Relatives of the detainees reported that they had recently received threats with detention if they did not stop their activities, as well as being subjected to ill-treatment when arrested and inside detention centers.
GCRL has observed an Interior Ministry circular leaked on social media warning public employees not to participate in protests which violates their rights to free expression, freedom of assembly.
Geneva Council called on the Jordanian government to stop intimidation against the Labor union movement of teachers and to resume negotiation as the best alternative to oppressive actions based on closing unions and arresting its members in disregard for the rule of law.
Geneva Council for Rights and Liberties also urged the United Nations and relevant international organizations to intervene to stop arbitrary arrests and ensure that the Jordanian government abides by its obligations under international laws and relevant UN resolutions.

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