How Did 31 NGOs Try to Challenge Jordan’s COVID-19 Defense Laws?

Published January 13th, 2022 - 07:46 GMT
NGO workers in Jordan
(Shutterstock: Mohammad Arar)

Amongst Middle Eastern countries, Jordan has one of the biggest numbers of international non-profit organizations operating on the ground. Due to a series of political and economic crises that drove millions of refugees into the country. Jordan has more than 60 NGOs working, but are they all actually sincere in serving communities for "no-profit."

A recent report by the London-based Middle East Eye revealed that at least 31 international NGOs operating in Jordan had collaborated to write a letter to Jordanian authorities "urging authorities to allow them to bypass the order to dismiss Jordanian members of staff."

The letter that was written by CEOs and country directors of 31 international NGOs, including Oxfam, Save the Children, World Vision International, and the Norwegian Refugee Council in November 2021 was signed under the name "Jordan INGO Forum."

It demanded that Jordanian authorities give them a special exemption from applying the country's COVID-19 emergency law known as Defence Order No. 6, which prohibits organizations from letting go of all employees, who are on their third contract renewal.

INGOs had justified their request by saying that the law had forced them to keep employees whose projects have ended, which has cost them around 1 million Jordanian dinars ($1.41m), they say "were supposed to be spent on humanitarian aid" to Jordan.

According to Middle East Eye, the international NGOs signing the letter were:

"Action Aid Arab Region, Action Contre la Faim, AVSI, Blumont, Care USA, Danish Refugee Council, Dignity, Finn Church Aid, Good Neighbors International, Humanity and Inclusion, iMMAP Inc, International Catholic Migration Commission, International Medical Corps, Intersos, Islamic Relief International, Johanniter International Assistance, La Chaine de l’Espoir, Lutheran World Federation, Medair, Mennonite Central Committee, Mercy Corps, Middle East Children's Institute, Norwegian Refugee Council, Oxfam (and Oxfam GB), Save the Children Jordan, Syrian American Medical Society, Terre des hommes Italy, Terre des hommes Lausanne, Vento Di Terra, War Child and World Vision International."

Moreover, the report noted that at least 15 foreign ambassadors to Jordan had supported the letter sent to the Jordanian government. Yet, Jordanian authorities have not yet responded to their request, nor commented on the issue.

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