The following information reports U.S. Government priorities and activities of the U.S. mission in Jordan to promote democracy and human rights .For background on Jordan's human rights conditions, please see the 2009 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
and the International Religious Freedom Reports
Part 1: U.S. Government Democracy Objectives
The U.S. Government's priorities relating to democracy promotion and human rights in Jordan are to develop institutional capacity, improve the operating environment for NGOs and the press to participate more fully in critical inquiry and open debate, strengthen election administration in accordance with international standards, improve religious freedom, support civil society, raise labor standards, and promote the rights of women and persons with disabilities. Ongoing U.S.-funded programs focus on election administration and political party development, press freedom, judicial sector reform, women's rights, and labor. Reducing the prevalence of honor crimes, trafficking in persons, child labor, and domestic violence are also U.S. Government priorities in the country. Program objectives are based on consultations with local organizations and take into consideration the government of Jordan's 2006 National Agenda, a 10-year blueprint for reform.
In September 2008 the United States and Jordan signed a five-year, non-binding MOU on assistance level requests for 2010-2014. The MOU reinforced a bilateral commitment to cooperate on issues including security, economic policy, and political reform, as well as performance in line with the country's National Agenda.
Part 2: Supporting Top Priorities and Other Aspects of Human Rights and Democratic Governance
U.S. support for electoral reform focuses on building governmental capacity for election administration, empowering civil society efforts to monitor elections for the expected 2010 parliamentary elections, and building voter awareness and participation, especially among women and youth. Embassy officers interact regularly with government officials, civil society members, and political officials to ensure a steady flow of information about these reform initiatives and support efforts to conduct free, fair, and transparent elections.
U.S. support for media freedom and independence aims to: increase professionalism, objectivity, and reporting skills among emerging and professional journalists and editors; develop community and news media, with special emphasis on citizen journalism such as blogging and community radio; and improve the environment for independent media. The U.S. Government also funds study tours and other exchange programs for journalists to visit the United States to increase their understanding of the role of a free press in a democratic system.
U.S. support for judicial sector reform includes automating the judiciary's case management system and revamping the judicial training process, both of which significantly have improved judicial standards. Future support will focus on strengthening judicial accountability while promoting administrative and financial independence. The U.S. Government also aims to improve the judiciary's handling of human rights cases, especially those involving honor killings, trafficking in persons, forced labor, and domestic violence, through targeted training of judges and prosecutors, relevant judicial education programs and exchanges, and diplomatic engagement.
As a number of changes to the country's laws and regulations governing NGO operations take effect, the U.S. Government continues to implement an assistance program designed to strengthen civil society. The U.S. Government is helping to streamline the registration process for civil society organizations, create forums for dialogue between the government and NGOs, and provide technical assistance in formulating transparent regulations. The U.S. Government also assists civil society organizations in building their management and strategic planning capacity, as well as in developing internal governance and accountability mechanisms that will increase their ability to advocate effectively for greater civic space.
The U.S. Government prioritizes a range of human rights issues in its engagement and assistance programs, including but not limited to legal discrimination against women, gender-based violence, increased equality in political rights, freedom of religion, and trafficking-in-persons. U.S. assistance programs also focus on the role of women and persons with disabilities in civil society to enhance their voice in the decision-making process and to help them build support for expanded rights for women and persons with disabilities. Through exchange programs and diplomatic engagement, the U.S. Government also helps to expand the organizational capacity of religious groups involved in interfaith dialogue and religious tolerance.