Amman– Jordanian women and children have suffered needlessly for seven years, journalist Manar Hafez found, because of the government’s reluctance to activate a fund set up specifically to support them.
Young, single mother Baraa is one of about 9,000 people who has been affected by the delay. In 2016, she separated from her husband after four months of an unhappy marriage and moved with a baby into her family’s Amman home. Even with that support, she is struggling. Her estranged husband has refused to pay alimony even though the Amman Sharia Court has ordered him to and he could be thrown into jail.
A mechanism to help women like Baraa is supposed to be in place, but is not. Jordan’s 2010 Temporary Personal Status Law provided for an Alimony Fund to pay women the sums the Sharia Court agreed to if their husbands failed them through evasion, insolvency or absence. The Alimony Fund is supposed to then collect what it has paid out from the delinquent husband.
Not a single Jordanian citizen has benefited from the fund since it was established in 2010. What happened? Hafez examined evidence and current and former members of Jordan’s legislature and judiciary and members of independent and semi-governmental organizations to found out how successive governments delayed implementation of the law. The Fund section of the 2010 law remains tied up in the House of Representatives’ Legislative Committee and the General Secretariat has not discussed it.
The reporter was unable to trace how 1 million Jordanian dinars (1.4 million USD) earmarked for the fund was spent instead because the Justice Department refused to provide documentation about that.
This investigation was completed with the support of Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ) with coach Musab Shawabkeh. It was originally published in Arabic by ARIJ and Jordanian online magazine 7iber on July 15, 2017. For more information, please contact ARIJ.