Sign on: International Community Demands the Release of Jordan Teachers’ Syndicate Leaders and Restoration of the Union

The following statement was initiated by the National Lawyers Guild International Committee and the International Association of Democratic Lawyers. Add your signature here:

We stand in solidarity with the Teachers’ Syndicate of Jordan and its detained leadership. On 25 July, the Jordanian government ordered the union shut down and its 13 central council members arrested. The detained union leaders are currently on a hunger strike in Jordanian prisons.

Jordan’s police raided the union’s headquarters in Amman on July 25th and shut down 11 of its branches across the country before arresting the 13 board members of the syndicate. Jordan’s Attorney General, who ordered the raids, also ordered a two-year closure of the union and the suspension of its central council. Under Jordanian law, a union can only be shut down by a court order or a vote of the membership, neither of which occurred in this case.

On August 1, an additional 27 local syndicate leaders were arrested from their homes. According to lawyers and witnesses on the ground, the raids and arrests were conducted in an unlawful and abusive way, without proper judicial warrants. Detainees were taken to undisclosed locations where their families could not locate them for days.

The detention of these 51 leaders is being justified by accusations of criminal wrongdoing that many view as politically motivated. Yet, even with pending criminal charges, there is no basis in the law for the shutting down of the syndicate. The dissolution of the union violates Jordanian law as well as international conventions to which the Jordanian state is a signatory.

The attack on the union – in which the minister of education has now attempted to appoint a replacement committee to serve in place of the union, with no real representation for teachers – comes in response to teachers’ widespread protests, heavily supported by the public, for a minimum standard of living, after the Jordanian government froze all public sector wage increases.

The attack on the union comes at the heels of the union’s successful 4-week campaign in September 2019, winning a wage increase agreement from the government, with extensive support from Jordan’s people. Jordan’s Teacher Syndicate was created in 2011 and stands as one of very few independent labor unions in the country and the only popularly elected, democratic body in the country.

The Jordanian government has extended the detained union leaders’ imprisonment without responding to their demands as they engage in a hunger strike; however, people throughout Jordan have taken to the streets across the country to demand the release of the imprisoned union council and support the teachers’ demands. The widespread protests, especially the protests of the teachers themselves, have been met with harsh and violent police repression, targeting demonstrators with clubs and batons. At the same time, Jordanian officials have attempted to block media reporting about the situation, including sharing social media content.

We urge that the detained teachers’ union leaders be released immediately and that the Teachers’ Syndicate be restored to its proper and legal position representing the teachers of Jordan.

JOIN OUR LETTER to inform the Prime Minister and Minister of Justice of the Kingdom of Jordan that the international labor and human rights community are aware of and condemn this illegal crackdown and compelling them to act in accordance with its own laws and international human rights law, by reversing the order and releasing all that have been detained.Organizational and individual signatures are welcome.

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August 10, 2020

His Excellency Prime Minister Dr. Omar Al-Razzaz
P.O. Box 80
Fourth Circle – Fes Street – Building No. 1
Amman, Jordan 11180
(962) 6 464 1211

His Excellency Minister of Justice Dr. Bassam Al-Talhoun
Ministry of Justice
Tawfeeq Abu Al Huda St
7 Amman, Jordan 11118
+962 6 460 3630

The undersigned organizations and members of the global human rights and trade union community call on the Kingdom of Jordan to reverse the unlawful closure of the Jordan Teacher’s Syndicate, to release all detained members of the syndicate, and release all those detained during protests in solidarity with the syndicate.

We urge that the detained teachers’ union leaders be released immediately and that the Teachers’ Syndicate be restored to its proper and legal position representing the teachers of Jordan. Further, we urge the Jordanian government to end the crackdown on public expression, popular demonstrations, journalism and social media commentary.

Jordan’s Attorney General cited accusations of criminal wrongdoing, to justify the raids and closure of its office and branches Many believe those accusations to be politically motivated. Yet, even with pending criminal charges, there is no basis in the law for the shutting down of the syndicate. Furthermore, we have learned that the raids and arrests were conducted unlawfully, with authorities refusing to show the judicial order for the office closures and taking detainees to undisclosed locations.

The actions taken violate both Jordanian law and Jordan’s obligations under the international treaties and covenants to which it is a signatory. We demand that Jordan immediately:

• Release all detained members of the Jordan Teachers’ Syndicate

• Cancel and reverse any and all orders closing of the Jordan Teacher’s Syndicate and its branches immediately.

• Release all those arrested during the unlawful and violent crackdown on solidarity protests

• End the crackdown on the freedom of protest and freedom of expression.


International Commission for Labor Rights
International Association of Democratic Lawyers
European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights (ELDH)
National Lawyers Guild International Committee (USA)
Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC)
Arab American Union Members Council (USA)
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
CGT Éduc’action 31
Fédération SUD éducation
International Labor Network of Solidarity and Struggles
U.S. Palestinian Community Network
Labor for Palestine
Union Syndicale Solidaires
Réseau Syndical international de Solidarité et de Luttes
Network for Democratic Palestine
Palestinian Youth Movement

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