Jordan dissolves teachers’ union and jails its board members

This statement was originally published on on 5 January 2021.

On 31 December 2020, the Amman Magistrate’s Criminal Court issued a decision to dissolve the Jordan Teachers’ Syndicate (JTS) and imprison its board members for a period of one year. The JTS’s attorney, Bassam Freihat, confirmed that the decision took the character of expediting the implementation, as Dr. Nasser Al-Nawasrah, the vice president of the JTC, and four of the 12 members of the Syndicate Council were immediately arrested. The decision is preliminary and subject to appeal.

The son of Dr. Al-Nawasrah confirmed that on the same day his father and a number of members of the JTS Council were arrested, namely Kifah Abu FarhanNidal Al-HaisahIbrahim Al-Assaf and Mu’tasim Bishtawi.

Freihat confirmed at a later time that the court had already agreed to release the JTS Council members on bail, after they had been arrested upon the issuance of the initial ruling, and he affirmed that the appeal would be completed for the whole case within ten days.

On 3 January 2021, hundreds of teachers held a sit-in in front of the Parliament in the capital, Amman, demanding the annulment of the decision to dissolve the Syndicate Council and a stop to forcing activist teachers into retirement.

The Jordanian judiciary had decided, on 25 July 2020, to suspend the operations of JTS and closed its branches in all twelve governorates for a period of two years. In addition, the General Prosecutor of Amman, Hassan Al-Abdallat, issued a decision to cease the work of the members of the JTS Council, the members of the Central Committee and the branch bodies, and ordered the formation of a temporary governmental committee to manage the JTS. This was followed by the arrest of all members of the Syndicate Council and many JTS leaders (including 13 members, and 15 detainees from among heads of branches, secretaries, and members of a Central Committee of the Syndicate), who were released later.

The JTS was established in 2011, and includes among its members about 140,000 teachers. Since its establishment, it has entered into a confrontation with the government, related to protecting the rights of teachers and in particular improving their salaries in public schools.

For more information on the case, please refer to this earlier GC4HR report.

Once again, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) denounces in the strongest terms all the arbitrary measures taken by the Jordanian authorities against the JTS, including the use of the judiciary to dissolve it and target its leaders, and declares its full solidarity with it. The Jordanian government must reinstate and fully restore the JTS, all its branches and its administrative bodies including the Syndicate Council, the Central Authority and the branch bodies. The duty of the government is to protect trade union work and not fight it with arbitrary decisions that violate the constitution and human rights principles.

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Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) is a network of human rights journalists in Uganda working towards enhancing the promotion, protection and respect of human rights through defending and building the capacities of journalists, to effectively exercise their constitutional rights and fundamental freedoms for collective campaigning through the media.

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