On 9 March, PRI’s Middle East and North Africa office will launch a national independent team for monitoring care centres in Jordan in partnership with the Ministry of Social Development.
The 35-strong taskforce was formed following an agreement signed earlier between PRI and the Ministry of Social Development. The monitoring team will be granted access to all care facilities across Jordan, including those for the elderly, persons with disabilities, orphans and juveniles.
‘The idea behind the team stems from the need to have an independent body that monitors care facilities with the utmost transparency. The current monitoring methods are not enough to guarantee the protection of the rights of certain groups,’ PRI Regional Director Taghreed Jaber said at a press conference to announce the creation of the team.
The monitors will begin their mission in mid-2013 after a period of training. PRI is covering the administrative expenses of the team for one year and will also be preparing a manual on international standards for care centres and a training guide for ministry inspectors.
PRI placed advertisements in newspapers to attract qualified experts to the team. ‘I think this is the first time members of a national team were selected this way,’ Jaber said. ‘The members are all volunteers, which means that they are genuinely interested in undertaking the task.’
The selected members of the monitoring team are experts in several fields, including doctors, social workers, social activists, and experts in media and law. Muslim and Christian clergy are also members of the team. Under the agreement with the Ministry, the Change Academy for Human Rights Studies, an Amman-based NGO, will provide the team with logistical and secretarial services.
Social Development Minister, Wajih Azaizeh, has agreed that the team will be guaranteed full access to care centres without having to obtain previous approvals, providing them with special identification cards to facilitate their work. The ministry will also receive the team’s reports and take the necessary legal or administrative measures to address any issues they highlight within one month.
‘We need this team not only because we lack resources, but to reach the truth in cooperation with civil society organisations… this a new approach,’ the Minister told reporters.
The team was formed in line with the recommendations of a report on the state of care facilities in Jordan which was compiled by an investigative committee at the ministry.
This committee was formed last year by Royal decree after the BBC aired a local documentary depicting children in private special education centres being subjected to systematic violence.
King Abdullah paid surprise visits to several private centres following the documentary and asked the government to investigate all facilities providing services to persons with disabilities and said that every person involved in the violations must be held accountable.
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