A step closer to full citizenship? Jordan grants fee healthcare, education to children of Jordanian women
The government plans to grant several services and privileges to the children of Jordanian women married to non-Jordanians to ease some of the restraints they face in their daily lives, Minister of Political and Parliamentary Affairs Khaled Kalaldeh said on Tuesday.
Kalaldeh, who is a member of a ministerial committee formed by the government in November to examine civil rights options, said the committee agreed to grant children of non-Jordanian women “free health and education services, as well as ease restrictions on driving licences, property ownership and investment opportunities”.
“The priority for employment will also be for the Jordanian women’s offspring in such cases,” Kalaldeh told The Jordan Times in a phone interview.
Women’s groups and activists have been demanding for years that Jordanian women be allowed to pass on their citizenship to their children and spouses, a right that only men enjoy.
These women face various difficulties such as obtaining visas and residency permits for their husbands and children, shuttling between police stations and health centres every year to get security clearances and medical reports.
This procedure will not be changed, according to Kalaldeh.
“This is something that we cannot change overnight and needs the revisions of many laws; it is not feasible at this point of time,” the minister said.
But he was quick to add that the rest of the points such as health and education rights and others were “approved by the committee members”.
“These points will be issued in the form of regulations and will not be sent to the Lower House of Parliament for debate. Nevertheless, we discussed these points with many deputies,” Kalaldeh explained.
He did not give an exact date for the issuance of the new regulations.
“It is still not clear and it might take one or two additional meetings by the committee before the regulations are finalised,” the minister said.
Nimat Habashneh, founder of the campaign titled “My mother is Jordanian, and her nationality is a right for me”, had said that the movement would not be satisfied until full citizenship rights are given to children of Jordanian women.
“What they are giving us is not enough. We want full citizenship rights for our children,” Habashneh told The Jordan Times in a recent interview.
Speaking at a recent unofficial Lower House meeting, Interior Minister Hussein Majali said the government is working on granting these children access to certain services for humanitarian reasons.
The government wants to preserve the Jordanian identity as much the Palestinian one, he noted, adding that granting these children civil rights is aimed at facilitating their daily lives rather than paving the way for granting them full citizenship in the future.
Majali said there are between 300,000 and 350,000 children of transnational marriages living in Jordan, who do not have health insurance, cannot enrol in public schools and cannot obtain driving licences.
The government will grant them these privileges, the minister said.
At a Lower House session in May, Majali said “granting service-related privileges to husbands and children of Jordanian women married to non-Jordanians is a matter of time”.
Around 84,000 Jordanian women married to foreigners live in the Kingdom, according to official figures.
Government officials have said in the past that the decision not to allow Jordanian women married to foreigners to pass on their nationality is “solely political”.
Individuals and entities that oppose granting citizenship to family members of these women, particularly those with Palestinian husbands, say such a measure will only work to ensure “Israel’s ultimate plan of creating a substitute homeland for Palestinians in Jordan”.