by Dr. Hisham Bustani
The Jordanian Government attacks the Union of Professional Associations (UPA) over its anti-Zionist anti-Occupation Positions
A report by: Dr. Hisham Bustani - Member of the Liberties Committee and the anti-Normalization Committee of the UPA
Amman, Friday January 28, 2005
The Union of Professional Associations (UPA) is a coordination body between 14 Jordanian professional associations, namely the associations of: Lawyers, Dentists, Physicians, Pharmacists, Engineers, Agricultural Engineers, Journalists, Geologists, Veterinarians, Nurses, Contractors, Artists, Writers and Accountants. Its membership exceeds 120,000 members. It is by far the largest civil society organization in Jordan, its leadership being elected by the General Assemblies every two or three years (each associations have a different in-office period).
The UPA is well-known for its principled positions regarding promoting Liberties and Human Rights locally, and against the US aggression in Iraq, against the Zionist Occupation in Palestine, and against the Imperialist Globalization. These positions seem to be in contradiction with the government in Jordan which has been trying to undermine the UPA for about 5 years by banning some of its activities, arresting many of its activists, outlawing its central committees, outlawing its Council of Presidents, threatening continuously to dissolve its elected executive committees and replacing them with governmentally-appointed ones, and last but not least threatening to change the laws of the UPA Associations.
Earlier last week, the Jordanian Minister of Interior met with the Council of Presidents of the UPA and informed them the following: The Banners attached to the UPA complex walls should be immediately removed (banners contain anti-occupation and anti-Zionist slogans), the UPA will not be allowed from now on to talk on national and political issues, and the UPA will not be allowed to hold any meeting that has a national or political dimension without prior written consent from the Governor of Amman.
On Sunday, January 16, 11:30pm, Security Forces stormed the UPA complex and removed by force all the banners. On Tuesday January 18, an activity against the occupation-sponsored elections was scheduled in the UPA complex at 6:00pm; security forces closed the area around the complex from 3:00pm to 8:00pm, preventing anyone including the Presidents of the UPA from entering the area. The next mourning (Wednesday January 19) the UPA was shut-down by security forces from 9:00am till 1:00pm despite the fact that no activity was taking place and the day was a national holiday!!
On Wednesday January 26, 2005, the UPA organized an activity in support of the associations and against the governmental attack. The mourning papers carried the statement of the Interior Minister: "The UPA activity is illegal and will be banned". At 3:00pm, the area was closed again, riot police clashed with people who started to pour at the UPA complex as from 5:00pm. Many UPA members were beaten fiercley, the most of which was the case of Engineer Badi Al-Rafay`ah, President of the UPA anti-Normalization Committee whose neck was broken and had to be hospetalised for the past three days.
The UPA is under a concentrated governmental attack to ban its national and political activities, an attack which does not only compromise basic human rights, but also threatens the accomplishments of the UPA towards its members and their families, namely: Social Security, Health Insurance, Housing programs and Loan Programs.
We urge you to support us, and to support the basic right of freedom of _expression, speech and organization. Enough mock democracies and fake slogans on political development.
Please send your support to:
And protest at the below addresses:
PO Box 80 352
Fax: +962 6 4 642520
Minister of Interior
Fax: +962 6 464 0404
Minister of Justice
PO Box 6040
Fax + 962 6 568 0238
Chief of the Royal Court
PO Box 80
Fax: + 962 6 463 1452
Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan Washington, D.C.
3504 International Drive, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Tel: (202) 966 2664
Fax: (202) 966 3110
Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
London, United Kingdom
6 Upper Phillimore Gardens,
London, W8 7HB
Tel: 0207 937 3685
Fax: 0207 937 8795
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jordan Information Service, London)
Jordan Representative to the United Nations
866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 552
New York, N.Y. 10017
Tel: (212) 752-0135, 0136
Fax: (212) 826-0830
Numbers of various Jordanian diplomatic missions around the world:
The Jordanian Embassy in Paris
The Jordanian Embassy in Roma
The Jordanian Embassy in Madrid
The Jordanian Embassy in Bonn
The Jordanian Embassy in Bern
The Jordanian Embassy in Vienna
The Jordanian Diplomatic Mission in The Hague