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Royal Hashemite Court (Jordan)

King briefed on plans to implement probe panel’s recommendations
Amman, 4 June 2012

© Royal Hashemite Court Archives

His Majesty King Abdullah on Monday asked authorities to take all required measures to prevent the recurrence of any abuses, violations or irregularities in various institutions providing services to citizens.

King Abdullah called for overcoming the obstacles hindering the work of the Ministry of Social Development and other social service institutions to ensure that they are providing best quality services.

During a visit to the Ministry, the King was briefed on a plan to implement the recommendations of a committee that has recently wrapped up a probe into special education centres, announcing its findings late last month. The investigation was launched after media reports unveiled gross abuses against children with special needs receiving care at these facilities.

Investigations carried out by the panel also showed that 12 centres out of the 56 facilities visited by the committee were in dire need of rehabilitation.

The King stressed the importance of following up on the Ministry’s plan, highlighting the need to enable the ministry and other social institutions to carry out their duties in line with best practices and existing laws and regulations.

His Majesty ordered the formation of the investigative committee after the British Broadcasting Corporation aired a documentary featuring children being abused in some special education centres and issued directives to the government to investigate all special and public care homes providing services to PWD, and to hold accountable every person involved in violations.

The panel found evidence of ill-treatment, negligence and a severe lack of resources in some facilities. Two care centres were shut down as a result of the probe, while warnings were issued to five centres providing care for PWDs. Sixteen employees out of a total of 800 at the probed centres were referred to the prosecutor for violations.

During the meeting, attended by acting Prime Minister and Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Abdul Salam Abbadi, the King was briefed by Minister of Social Development Wajih Azaizeh on the Ministry’s executive plan to address imbalances in social work.

The minister outlined means to reform the Kingdom’s social work sector through reviewing and amending the bylaws of the Ministry of Social Development and the Ministry of Labour and other laws related to juveniles, domestic violence victims and civil societies.

Azaizeh called for special legislation on the rights of children and PWDs. He suggested the formation of a coordination committee to organise social work among concerned institutions in addition to forming specialised teams to enhance monitoring and inspection of institutions providing social services.

The minister stressed the need to upgrade the National Strategy to Combat Poverty and accredit a national strategy for orphans, highlighting the importance of establishing a specialised unit concerned with the affairs of care centres.

Azaizeh also underlined the need for the private sector to take part in social work by providing people with loans to establish productive projects. Social care centres must also be rehabilitated, Azaizeh said, highlighting the need to support the National Aid Fund financially.

The Ministry supervises 2,500 charities and deals with 6,000 juveniles annually, 3,000 of whom are provided with housing services, according to the ministry’s figures. Since 1998, the Ministry has dealt with 27,000 family violence cases. It provides social services to 900 children annually through 33 care centres, five of which are affiliated to the Ministry, while the others are affiliated with charities. The Ministry also supervises 830 kindergartens, 11 elderly care facilities and 32 institutions that provides housing services to PWDs.