The Charter: Rationale and Aims

To complete and strengthen the process of Jordanian reconstruction, His Majesty the King ordered the establishment of a Royal Commission and charged it with the task of drawing up a National Charter which would lay the foundations and define the methods of national public activity. The Charter would also point out the way for the future, establishing general guidelines on the exercise of political pluralism in so far as it constitutes the second component of democracy. This would be accomplished on the basis of the constant tenets of the Constitution, as well as of political and national tradition. It would take cognisance of existing realities in Jordanian society in such a manner as would guarantee continued national progress and democratic change and protect them from taking an adverse course.

The Jordanian Constitution contains a range of constant general principles which regulate the form of governance in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, as well as the manner of interaction by the public with these principles. This has been in force since the inception and establishment of the Jordanian State. The Jordanian public views these principles as axiomatic and incontrovertible because they emanate from conviction, deeply-held beliefs and self-interest. These principles reflect the pride of all Jordanians in their national identity as part and parcel of the Arab nation and their faith in Islam as both the religion of the state and a defining civilisation for the people.

* Since a commitment to these constant principles would make the relentless Jordanian and national struggle for a better future a fundamental task entrusted to the government and people to an equal degree,


* And, since continued solidarity between the leadership and the people is a most important guarantee for securing Jordanian and national objectives, and, since the historical phase through which Jordan and the Arab world are currently passing is replete with challenges and dangers threatening the nation’s destiny, foreshadowing a possible hegemony over its will and its freedom and testing its ability to keep up with scientific and cultural progress, to utilise its resources for the benefit of its citizenry or to share with other nations in the building of a better future for mankind as a whole,


* And, since the Jordanian Arab citizens look for progress and for acquiring the necessary means to defend their homeland and to ensure the security of their society, and since they enjoy a high sense of responsibility and a deep appreciation of the importance of their participation in securing their own and their children’s future within an established and stable framework of democracy and institutional principles,


* And, since democracy can only be enhanced through emphasis on the universally recognised rights of the individual and through a guarantee of the rights of citizenship as secured by the Jordanian Constitution, and since these rights are enshrined in our great Arab and Islamic traditions and are given a place of honour therein, including the people’s right to hold varying opinions as well as the right of the citizens, be they male or female, to change their circumstances and improve their lot by legal means, express their views, and resort to whatever they deem necessary for the benefit of the whole by legitimate methods, and participate in the decision-making process.


For all these reasons, therefore, the democratic option is the most efficient and appropriate means of fulfilling the aspirations of the Jordanian people and their hopes at the national, Arab and universal levels. Agreement on these approaches by all segments and by popular and official bodies at all levels has been achieved with regard to a sum of concepts, values and basic principles, as well as with regard to Jordanian and Arab objectives enunciated by the Charter. These should regulate public life and organise the state of relations among all official and popular bodies in society. Such agreement can only be regarded as an advanced form of cultural achievement and a comprehensive platform for the future. Its salient features and fundamental concepts are defined through the following set of facts, principles and constants:

FIRST: The system of government in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is parliamentary, monarchic and hereditary. Adherence by all to legitimacy and to respect of the letter and spirit of the Constitution shall enhance the union between the people and their leadership.

SECOND: The Jordanian people are part of the Arab nation. Arab unity is the only option that would achieve national security for Jordan and the Arab nation in all Arab countries, guarantee economic and psychological stability and ensure preservation, progress and continuity.

THIRD: Faith in God, respect for spiritual values, adherence to higher principles and acceptance of the right of every individual to a life of freedom and decency are fundamental concepts in the building of the state and the achievement of progress by Jordanian society.

FOURTH: Islam is the religion of the state , and Islamic law is the principal source of legislation.

FIFTH: Arab Islamic civilisation, open to world civilisation, is the defining aspect of the national identity of the Jordanian people. It constitutes one of the bases of its unity, independence and progress in the face of division, dependence and cultural intrusion in all its forms. It is also a wellhead of innate values which Jordanian society seeks to strengthen, through science, learning, education and good example.

SIXTH: The Arabic language is the official language of the state. It is the language of the Holy Qur’an which has preserved for the Arab nation its true essence. It is imperative that the supremacy of Arabic be stressed by Jordanian society at all levels. Arabic should be used in all stages of education. Attention must be given to translation and Arabisation to keep abreast of accelerating scientific progress, and to the learning and teaching of other living languages.

SEVENTH: Respect for the mind, belief in dialogue, recognition of the right of others to disagree, respect for the opinion of others, tolerance, and rejection of political and social violence are basic characteristics of Jordanian society. Pursuant to this, there is no compulsion in religion or recourse to fanaticism, sectarianism or regional bias.

EIGHTH: Jordanian men and women are equal under the law. There shall be no distinction between them in rights and obligations regardless of difference in race, language or religion. They shall exercise their constitutional rights and uphold the higher interest of the state and the national ethic in such a manner as to ensure that the material and spiritual resources of Jordanian society are freed and directed towards achieving the national objective of unity, progress and building a better future.

NINTH: Strengthening the foundations of a state governed by the supremacy of the law, and firming up the democratic process based on political pluralism are an obligation of the state’s institutions, of individual members of Jordanian society and all its other bodies.

TENTH: Political, party and intellectual pluralism is the means of strengthening democracy and ensuring participation by the Jordanian people in administering the affairs of the state. It serves to guarantee national unity and build a balanced civil society.

ELEVENTH: To be nationally committed is to respect the freedom of all citizens and to protect the country’s security, independence and progress. National commitment contributes to the preservation of unity, the strengthening of the Jordanian people’s sovereignty on their national soil, and the protection of the people’s integrity under conditions removed from all forms of discrimination, fanaticism or introversion.

TWELFTH: National independence requires a liberation of the national will from all manner of external pressure or hegemony. It is achieved and preserved through the constant and effective exercise of a national political will at all levels. This requires the development of institutions and systems and the acquisition of appropriate means and methods to effect modernisation and progress in order to meet the challenges of the future, while at the same time preserving the noble mores of Jordanian Arab society and taking pride in its innate traditions.

THIRTEENTH: The Jordanian Armed Forces are the country’s protective shield and the guarantors of its security and independence. The Arab Legion is in the forefront of the forces entrusted with the task of liberation and the defence of Arab integrity. The Legion’s strength and effectiveness are enhanced through active support by the people and the popular army for strengthening Jordanian national security. It is the responsibility of the state and society as a whole to support the Armed Forces’ capacity and preparedness and to provide the best possible conditions for their development.

FOURTEENTH: An independent national economy is a true support of national independence, security and progress. It is best achieved through self-reliance, development of latent national capacities, rational use of national wealth and resources, as well as through strengthening all components of the productive base, providing capable management, and moving towards a stabilisation and integration of basic economic legislation, within a framework of social justice.

FIFTEENTH: Social justice for all Jordanians requires a range of social insurance schemes, an updating of labour laws and a narrowing of income disparities in such a manner as to ensure balance and social harmony and to provide security and stability for society as a whole.

SIXTEENTH: Respect for human rights, strengthening of democratic practices, guaranteeing a continued balance in development and achieving administrative efficiency in the Kingdom are fundamental national goals. They require a constant effort to promote a unified administrative system for the Jordanian state and to ensure that local councils become answerable to central authority for supervision and guidance purposes. They also require a strengthening of the social, political and economic structures of the state through supporting the concept of local administration in the various districts and governorates in such a manner as to provide practical opportunities for the people to exercise self-government, enable continued close coordination between governmental and popular bodies and lead to better democratic practices through responsible participation within a framework of balanced rights and obligations.

SEVENTEENTH: Jordanian universities are an important part of the country’s fabric. They ought to function as beacons of intellectual enlightenment and scientific progress. To achieve this, the universities must be provided with the requisites and guarantees of academic freedom. They must be provided with the means to develop their curricula, keep abreast of knowledge, develop their capacity for scientific research and enhance their role in developing Jordanian society and meeting its needs. They must have the capacity to help build the country’s institutions, provide good instruction and qualify the country’s youth to solve problems and meet the challenges of the future.

EIGHTEENTH: The decade of the nineties is a decisive period for Jordan and the Arab World. It is imperative that our nation must acquire the means to preserve its current state of awakening and bring together the various components of its strength and solidarity in order to meet the needs of the present as well as the challenges of the twenty-first century, as reflected in the democratic revolution, the emphasis on human rights, the establishment of large economic blocs, and the explosive impact of technology and informatics.