Rights group: Jordan pulls citizenship from Palestinians
Human Rights Watch report says 2,732 Palestinians stripped of their Jordanian nationality in past few years to counter any Israeli plans to transfer West Bank Palestinians to the kingdom. 'Jordan is playing politics with the basic rights of thousands of its citizens,' group says
Jordan has revoked citizenship from nearly 3,000 Jordanians of Palestinian origin in recent years and should put a stop to the practice, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report released Monday.
HRW said 2,732 Palestinians were stripped of their Jordanian nationality between 2004 and 2008.
"Jordan is playing politics with the basic rights of thousands of its citizens," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director of the US-based group that released the 60-page report at a news conference in Amman.
"Officials are denying entire families the ability to lead normal lives with the sense of security that most citizens of a country take for granted," the report said.
The practice continued in 2009, denying many people basic citizenship rights such as access to education and health care, HRW said.
"We believe the total and actual number of those who have been stripped of their nationality is much bigger," Christoph Wilcke, a HRW researcher, told reporters.
In some cases, one person's nationality was withdrawn involuntarily, while that of a sibling in identical circumstances was not, the report said.
In 1950, Jordan annexed the West Bank following the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, and granted all residents Jordanian nationality.
But in 1988, Amman severed legal and administrative ties to the West Bank, "relinquishing claims to sovereignty there and withdrawing Jordanian nationality from all Palestinians who resided in the West Bank at the time," the report said.
"Other Jordanians of West Bank origin, but who were not living in the West Bank at the time, were not affected and kept their Jordanian nationality. Over the last decade and more, though, Jordan has arbitrarily withdrawn its nationality from thousands of these citizens of West Bank origin," the report said.
Jordan, where a significant proportion of the nearly six million inhabitants are of Palestinian origin, has said the measure was a means to counter any Israeli plans to transfer Palestinians of the West Bank to the kingdom, according to HRW.
"One day you're Jordanian, and the next you've been stripped of your rights as a citizen in your own country," Whitson said.