Exchange of experiences on the topic of “International legal foundations of asylum law and international best practice models”

Graphics: IRZ
Graphics: IRZ

Jordan hosts more than 750,000 refugees, 80 per cent of whom live outside refugee camps in urban areas. The capital city, Amman, alone is currently home to more than 270,000 refugees. After Lebanon, Jordan has a higher percentage of refugees than any other country in the world, with one in three people living in Jordan a refugee. It is not just the strain on the economy that poses a challenge for the state in dealing with refugees; access to justice for vulnerable groups is also difficult in Jordan. In order to counteract this, numerous civil society organisations are getting involved, offering legal counselling for refugees in order to support them.

In this context, IRZ together with the three Jordanian non-governmental organisations Justice Center for legal aid, Mizan and ARDD organised a first online exchange of experiences on the topic of “International legal foundations of asylum law and international best practice models”, which took place on 1 July 2021. The aim of the event was to identify any shortcomings in dealing with refugees and to share expertise from German practice with the organisations. Another subject of discussion was how representatives from civil society can improve the situation of refugees and offer them support.

Birgit Naujoks, Managing Director of the Refugee Council NRW, and lawyer Jochen Beekes participated in the event on behalf of IRZ. Once Jochen Beekes had presented the developments and resulting shortcomings in German asylum law, Birgit Naujoks explicitly addressed the role of representatives from civil society in migration issues. On the Jordanian side, Hadeel Abdel Aziz (Legal Center) and Suzan Mohareb (ARDD) reported on the work of their organisations and the situation of refugees in Jordan. Following on from the introductions by the experts, the discussions focused on the following topics:

  • Implementation of international conventions in national law: Geneva Refugee Convention and European Convention on Human Rights
  • Asylum law and its practice in Germany: Priorities and reforms since 2015
  • The role of civil society in asylum and migration issues in Germany: Refugee councils in Germany as examples of best practice

The lively discussions and exchanges between the experts and participants reflected the particular relevance of the topic. It also became clear that dealing with refugees poses similar challenges for Jordan and Germany. Creating meaningful and humane foundations for the future is a goal that both countries hope to achieve.

In order to further promote exchange and to help to resolve migration issues in the legal field, IRZ aims to deepen cooperation in this area with representatives from civil society in Jordan.

The event was financed by the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV).

Training in dealing with prisoners with mental disorders, violence and/or addiction problems

Graphics: IRZ
Graphics: IRZ

In cooperation with the Jordan Public Security Directorate (PSD), IRZ organised a four-day online training course within the period from 31 May to 9 2021 on "Dealing with prisoners with mental disorders or with violence and/or addiction problems".

The Director of the PSD's International Cooperation Department, Ali Alutoum, chaired the event for prison officers who are in direct contact with the prisoners concerned and act as their contact persons. The training course was aimed at teaching the specific social and communication skills to be able to fulfil this role. The topics discussed during the event were:

  • Classification of inmates with regard to mental disorders, addiction and/or violence problems
  • Preparation of enforcement and integration plans
  • Step-by-step concept for reintegration
  • Special challenges in dealing with addiction problems
  • Conflict management and communication
  • Typical psychiatric disorders in prisons
  • Possible effects of inmates' mental disorders on prison staff and how they deal with them
  • Balance between safety and treatment
  • De-escalation measures for prison staff
  • Managing prison release
  • Roles and cooperation of members of psychiatric and psychological services, social workers and law enforcement

The following experts participated in the online training on behalf of IRZ:

  • Steffi Lindemann, a psychologist at the Berlin young offenders’ institution,
  • Alexander Grundlach from the central addiction department of the Berlin young offenders’ institution,
  • Janet Juvet, a specialist in psychiatric care at the Hameln prison, and
  • Esther Chan, a graduate psychologist and head of the psychological department at the Wuppertal-Ronsdorf prison.

They provided the participants with detailed insights into dealing with the aforementioned group of people and provided comprehensive information on prison conditions and enforcement plans, as well as on non-violent communication. The experts emphasised the great importance of cooperation between psychological services, social workers and the prison service. They also went into detail about the training of prison staff in Germany.

The lively discussions and exchange between all participants during the event show that the topic is of great interest to the Jordanian prison system. IRZ therefore aims to continue the cooperation in this area.

This event took place within the framework of the institutional funding provided by the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV).

Online seminar on the “Digitalisation of jurisdiction and virtual court cases”

Graphics: IRZ
Graphics: IRZ

On 7 and 8 April 2021, IRZ organised an online seminar in partnership with the Judicial Court of Jordan, the Judicial Institute of Jordan and the Supreme Administrative Court of Jordan. This was a popular event, with fifty or so representatives from administrative jurisdiction in Jordan and judges from various local courts and courts of appeal participating. The high level of interest in the event was due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the justice system.

The following issues were explained and lively discussed in detail:

  • Digitalisation processes in jurisdiction and virtual court cases in Jordan and Germany
  • The hurdles, challenges and benefits for jurisdiction of virtual court cases
  • Practical experiences and knowledge of video technology in court cases in Jordan and Germany
  • Technical, financial and organisational issues with digitalisation processes in jurisdiction

The discussions revealed that both countries could learn a great deal from one another and were facing similar challenges. Digitalisation in the justice system is an ongoing process, which is still a long way from completion. This process benefits from the exchange of experiences between different jurisdictions and legal systems.

The IRZ experts taking part in the conference were Dr. Volker Herbolsheimer, a judge at the Administrative Court of Gelsenkirchen, and Dr. Oliver Kahlert, a judge at the Higher Social Court (Landessozialgericht) and in charge of the IT department at the Ministry of Justice for North Rhine-Westphalia.

In view of the high level of interest in the seminar topics, IRZ plans to continue and intensify its cooperation in this area

The German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV) financed the seminar as part of its institutional funding.