Published: 2020-03-17 19:47
Last Updated: 2020-03-17 21:53
A Royal Decree has been issued today, approving the cabinet’s decision to announce the implementation of the National Defence Law No. 13 of 1992 in the Kingdom, as of Wednesday, March 17, 2020.
His Majesty King Abdullah sent a letter to Prime Minister Omar Razzaz. Following is the English translation:
In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful,
Your Excellency Dr Omar Razzaz,
The Prime Minister,
Peace, God's mercy and blessings be upon you,
I convey to you and your colleagues my greetings and deep thanks and appreciation for your efforts, in coordination with the various state institutions, to address these exceptional conditions facing our dear nation.
As the challenges arising from the global conditions caused by the spread of the novel coronavirus obligate us to protect the health and wellbeing of our fellow Jordanians and ensure their safety; and as part of our commitment to this responsibility; we have decreed the approval of the Cabinet’s recommendation to proclaim the activation of the Defence Law number 13 for the year 1992, out of our keenness to ensure the continuation of exerted efforts and remove any obstacles that may arise while countering this plight.
I hereby direct the Government to ensure that the implementation of the Defence Law and the orders issued under it will be within the most limited scope possible, without infringing on Jordanians’ political and civil rights, but, rather, safeguarding them and protecting public liberties and the right to self-expression enshrined in the Constitution and in accordance with regular laws currently in effect, and guaranteeing the respect of private property, be it real estate, or movable and immovable funds.
For the goal of promulgating this exceptional law is to provide an additional tool to safeguard public health, protect the wellbeing of citizens, enhance performance, and increase coordination among all to counter this epidemic.
Since the start of this pandemic, I have been closely following the minutest of details regarding its spread and means to counter it, and I have directed the Government to take pre-emptive measures, set plans, and implement procedures to safeguard our nation and our citizens as the top priority. These measures, with God’s grace, have proven effective.
My faith in the awareness of Jordanians is unwavering. They have proven, time and again, to be up to that trust, and I fully believe, from what I have observed, that they are the main pillar in addressing the current exceptional circumstances and countering this epidemic and preventing its spread by following instructions and adhering to regulations that all serve the sole purpose of safeguarding their health and wellbeing.
It would be remiss not to commend the efforts of all those working in the Government and our civil, military, and security agencies, which have had a tangible effect on citizens’ trust. And I reaffirm my pride in the level of public awareness in dismissing rumours that serve no purpose beyond undermining the effectiveness of these efforts.
The measures taken to alleviate the impact on citizens and meet their needs for healthcare, education, and basic commodities are effective and necessary. The Government must step up and continue efforts to mitigate burdens on citizens, and take the necessary measures to safeguard and maintain their health, wellbeing, and living requirements, through effective coordination among the various relevant state institutions.
The Government must also take all the measures needed to sustain the private sector and its institutions, while maintaining the operation of public facilities, particularly those that serve citizens.
I would like to express my pride in the personnel of the Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army and security agencies, as well as every doctor, nurse, and technical and administrative staff member working in our medical institutions, for their great efforts amidst these conditions.
Once again, I reaffirm that the health of Jordanians is a sacred matter, and their wellbeing is above all else. They are at the top of my priorities, and we must all work diligently to counter this plight, which we will overcome, with God’s support, and with the awareness of our dependable people.
May God protect Jordan and Jordanians, and grant us success in serving our dear people.
Peace, God's mercy and blessings be upon you.
Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein
Amman, 22 Rajab 1441 Hijri
17 March 2020.
What is the National Defence Law?
Article 2 of the Defense Law explains its objectives. It stipulates that, "upon a decision and a Royal Decree, a National Defence Law shall be passed in case of emergency that would threaten the national security or public safety in all parts of the Kingdom or in a region due to war, disturbances, armed internal strife, public disasters or the spread of a pest or epidemic."
However, the third Article of the Law states:
A- The application of this law shall be entrusted to the Prime Minister to take the necessary measures and procedures so as to ensure public safety and defend the Kingdom without being bound by the provisions of the regular laws in force.
B - The Prime Minister exercises his powers according to written orders.
C- The Prime Minister may delegate all or some of his powers to whomever he deems fit to do so throughout the Kingdom or in a specific region thereof, subject to the conditions and restrictions that he appoints.
The fourth Article of the Law states the powers of the Prime Minister under this law. The PM may exercise the following powers:
A- Placing restrictions on the freedom of people to gather, move, reside, and arrest or detain suspects or those who pose a threat to the national security and public order.
B- Assigning any person to perform any work or service within their ability.
C- Checking persons, places and vehicles without being bound by the provisions of any other law, and ordering the use of appropriate force in the event of opposition.
D- Setting possession of movable and immovable property and postponing debt payment and the accrued liability.
E - Preventing or restricting the importation, exportation or transfer of goods from one place to another and prohibiting their concealment, destruction, purchase or bartering them, and setting their prices.
F-Seizing any land, building, road, or source of water and energy, removing any trees or installations on them, establishing facilities for defense purposes instead and ordering the concerned parties to manage, exploit and organize their use.
G- Evacuating or isolating some areas and imposing curfew on them.
H- Ordering some or all public stores to open and close at specific times.
I- Regulating and specifying transportation between different regions, blocking any road or water stream or changing its direction and preventing traffic or regulating it.
J- Monitoring messages, newspapers, publications, pamphlets, drawings, and all means of expression, publicity and advertisement before they are published and seizing, confiscating, suspending, and closing the places where they were prepared.
K - Preventing taking pictures or making designs or maps for any specific place or thing that might benefit the enemy, preventing having any photographic equipment or materials for making photos, designs and maps in such places and preventing staying for so long in those places without a legitimate excuse.
L - Cancelling licenses of firearms, ammunition, explosives, or explosive materials that are used in the manufacture of explosives, preventing their manufacture, sale, purchase, transfer, disposing them, ordering their delivery and seizure, and closing the shops where they are sold or stored.
M- Preventing the manufacture, sale, purchase or possession of telecommunications equipment and ordering their delivery and seizure.