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Royal Hashemite Court (Jordan)

King makes surprise tour of special education centres
Amman, 14 May 2012

His Majesty King Abdullah on Monday paid surprise visits to centres providing care to children with disabilities, following media reports that abuses were routine in these facilities.

After the visits, the King directed the government to investigate the work of private and public centres providing care for people with disabilities (PWD), by forming a probe panel and then refer violators to court.

“This committee should wrap up its mission within two weeks,” the King said in a letter to Prime Minister Fayez Tarawneh.

“It is expected to compile a detailed report on the situation of these centres and the levels of compliance with licensing requirements and local and international monitoring standards,” he said.

His Majesty stressed the need to “take immediate and decisive measures” to refer to court anyone involved in the violations. “We have been shocked at media reports indicating that a segment of our people who are dear to our hearts and the centre of our attention — namely, people with disabilities — are being subjected to abuse and violations,” he said, describing such abuses an “insult to Jordanian pride and human decency.”

“It has given us pain to hear of a situation where there is abuse and blatant violation of human dignity, which is a red line and a priority over all other priorities.”

“These violations and incidents of abuse, if confirmed, indicate an enormous failure on part of supervisory and monitoring authorities of these centres, whose reported practices are in absolute contradiction with their original mission,” the King stressed.

King Abdullah said the government should monitor and inspect all private and public facilities that provide social development services. “These efforts should be aimed at assessing their [the facilities’] commitment to their duties and making sure they aptly shoulder their responsibilities and play their roles, especially with regards to preserving human dignity.”

His Majesty emphasised the need to revisit all laws governing the work of special education centres. “Our priority has always been to provide citizens with a safe, healthy and sound environment where all segments of society can live in dignity,” the King said.