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Royal Hashemite Court (Jordan)

King meets committee, investigative journalists
Amman, 6 June 2012

© Royal Hashemite Court Archives
His Majesty King Abdullah on Wednesday called for speedy implementation of the recommendations issued by the committee investigating abuses in special education centres.
At a meeting with the head and members of the investigation commiitee, King Abdullah urged them to continue their work to include all centres, especially those designated for orphans and the elderly, thanking them for their “distinguished” efforts.
The King ordered the formation of the investigative committee after the British Broadcasting Corporation aired a documentary featuring abuses against children at some special education centres.
He issued directives to the government to investigate all special and public homes providing services to people with disabilities, and to hold accountable every person involved in the violations.
The panel found evidence of ill-treatment, negligence and severe lack of resources in some centres, and His Majesty expressed full support for the panel, which is headed by Muhyiddine Touq.
Investigations have shown that 12 centres out of the 56 facilities visited by the panel were in violation. Sixteen employees out of a total of 800 were referred to the prosecutor general.
Touq, who is also former commissioner general of the National Centre for Human Rights, presented a briefing to the King on Wednesday on the most important recommendations and outcomes of the investigation.
He highlighted the main weaknesses in the probed facilities, both public and private, including lack of monitoring, quality control and accreditation standards.
The committee head said probe results also showed weaknesses in legislation, codes of conduct and organisational structures governing the work of disability care centres, in addition to professional incompetence by some staff.
Touq hailed the King’s interest in the matter and the government’s support for the panel.
Meanwhile, Social Development Minister Wajih Azaizeh said his Ministry is working to improve services provided at care centres and benefit from international experience in this field.
Also on Wednesday, King Abdullah met with journalists Hanan Khandagji and Suha Karajeh and thanked them for their efforts to cover social issues. Khandagji prepared the BBC documentary that sparked the probe, while Karajeh has been investigating social issues, including mistreatment and abuses of PWDs, for the past several years.
His Majesty voiced appreciation for their efforts to unveil facts, stressing the importance of investigative journalism in drawing attention to the imbalances in society.
The King underscored that responsible journalism also works on fighting corruption and “wasta” (using connections to obtain undeserved gains).