Queen Rania calls for an emergency meeting to discuss child abuse cases

“We have failed where we were once pioneers”

May 04, 2009

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department-Amman) “There are no excuses to justify the death of a child,” said Her Majesty Queen Rania on Sunday during an emergency meeting following the tragic incidents which marked the death of Yazan and Qusai, two recent victims of child abuse.

Her Majesty voiced disappointment in the recent development, highlighting that years ago Jordan was the leader in shedding light on child abuse in the region. “Today we have failed where we were once pioneers,” she pointed out.

Calling for stricter measures to protect children from violence, exploitation and abuse, Queen Rania urged for greater cooperation among stakeholders which included Ministries and Non- Governmental Organizations involved in the Family and Child Protection Unit.

Although the Family and Child Protection Unit, launched in 1996 as an effort to tackle child abuse and violence, gradually surmounted a deeply embedded tradition of shame and silence often associated with such cases, it is now lacking an effective mechanism for monitoring, reporting and evaluating independent cases.

“There is something wrong in the way we are handling child abuse cases.  We haven’t failed because we lack a system. Rather, we failed to build an essential accountability framework which severely undermined effectiveness on the ground,” noted Her Majesty.

Underscoring the importance of oversight and monitoring in creating a protective environment for children, Her Majesty continued: “We are not here to blame or defend ourselves but to prevent and respond to child abuse by reinforcing our commitment to find a permanent solution,” she added.

“Any further delay in confronting the matter with due diligence is the difference between the life and death of a child,” said Queen Rania.

Highlighting the gravity of the situation, Valentina Qussasiya, Director General of the Jordan River Foundation (JRF) said: “Nobody is abiding to the existing framework.”

Further stressing the weaknesses inherent in the system, H.E Tayseer Al Noaimi Minister of Education emphasized the importance of training staff to detect early signs of abuse as well as ensuring follow-up of independent cases reported.

During the meeting, representatives also underscored the need to open a national investigation into the deaths of Yazan and Qusai, review the legal and judicial system to include stricter laws and train specialized district attorneys and judges to deal with cases on a one-to –one basis.

In addition, the National Council for Family Affairs (NCFA) was appointed as the umbrella organization designated to monitor all organizations involved in the Family and Child Protection system.

Attendees included: H.E Mr. Ismail Al Omari, Head the Judicial Council, H.E Mrs. Hala Lattouf, Minister of Social Development, H.E Dr. Tayseer Al Noaimi, Minister of Education, H.E Mr. Ayman Odeh, Minister of Justice, H.E Dr. Nayef Al Fayez, Minister of Health, H.E Ms. Fatmeh Al Homoud, Advisor to Her Majesty, H.E Dr. Haifa Abu Ghazaleh, Director General, National Council for Family Affairs, H.E Maj.General Mazen Al Qadi, Director of Public Security, Ms. Valentina Qussasiya, Director General, Jordan River Foundation, H.E Dr. Moamen Al Hadidi, Head of Forensic Medicine, Ministry of Health, Col. Mohammed Al Zoubi, Director of the Child Protection Unit and Ms. Samia Bishara, Head of the Child Protection Program.