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19 Aug 2020

United Nation Human Rights, Office of the High Commissioner

Jordan: UN experts call for release of labour union officials from detention, lifting of gag orders

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UN human rights experts today called on Jordan to reverse its decision to close a teachers’ union, free its board members from detention and lift gag orders that have prohibited any public discussion of the case.

“The actions of the Jordanian government against the Teachers Syndicate are a serious violation of the rights to freedom of association and expression,” the experts said. “Civil society groups and labour unions should be able to organise and express criticism of government actions.”

The government closed the labour union in July in an act of retaliation because the Teachers Syndicate criticised it for not honouring a 2019 pledge for better pay and conditions that its 140,000 members won after a four-week strike in September 2019.

“The closure of an association is one of the most severe types of restrictions to freedom of association, and can only be justified in the most exceptional cases,” the experts said. “It must be prescribed by law, have a legitimate aim and be proportional and necessary in a democratic society. This decision does not pursue a legitimate State interest.”