Jordan: Education unionists arrested and union work suspended in government crackdown

published 31 July 2020 updated 12 August 2020

Jordanian security forces arrested leading members of the Jordanian Teachers’ Association, raided the union’s offices and shut it down for a period of two years. The global education community is outraged by this unlawful attack on our colleagues.

The attack on union members took place on Saturday, 25 July. The Prosecutors’ office charged Mr. Nasser Nawasreh, the President of the Jordanian Teachers' Association (JTA), with incitement over a speech the union leader delivered on 22 July and which was critical of the government. Other criminal charges related to allegations of financial and administrative wrongdoing have been filed against the union.

Riot police were deployed to stop peaceful demonstrations initiated by JTA members denouncing the crackdown on trade union rights. The Jordanian government has been using emergency laws enacted last March, at the start of the coronavirus lockdown, to limit civil and political rights. Many activists have been arrested in recent weeks for expressing opinions on social media which the authorities have ruled inappropriate. Education International calls on the Jordanian government to unconditionally release the members of JTA and guarantee the rights of teachers and education workers. Education International also condemns the violation of the fundamental rights and democratic freedoms of teachers and workers as defined by international labour standards and the Jordanian constitution. David Edwards, Education International General Secretary, stated: “This is wholly unacceptable. The Jordanian government is using a global pandemic as a pretence to silence critical voices and undermine fundamental rights and we will not stand for it. Our brothers and sisters in Jordan have our full support.”

In response to the attack on education unionists, Education International launched a global call, encouraging its 384 member organisations in 178 countries to contact their governments and Jordanian embassies around the world and call for:

  • The immediate and unconditional release of members of the Jordanian Teachers’ Syndicate;
  • The immediate reinstatement of union work in compliance with the Jordanian constitution and international labour standards;
  • A firm guarantee of the fundamental rights and democratic freedoms of educators and all workers, including their freedoms of opinion, expression, assembly and association;
  • Further reform of Jordan’s national laws to bring them in line with international standards and commitment from the Jordanian government to protect the rights of all citizens.