(MENAFN - Jordan Times) The Tamkeen Centre for Legal Rights, a labour advocacy group, is petitioning the government to reverse a decision blocking a JD300,000 donation from a Swiss NGO, which could force the organisation to scale back its services.
Tamkeen President Linda Kallash told The Jordan Times on Wednesday that the Geneva-based Pro Victimis Foundation had contacted the centre earlier this year after reading a report in this newspaper on domestic helpers who were unable to leave the country as they could not afford plane tickets.
Kallash said the foundation had expressed interest in funding flights home for more than 140 domestic workers currently being detained on administrative orders after fleeing their employers, in addition to other capacity-building and advocacy activities.
"We submitted a project proposal to the Swiss organisation that included setting up a website in six languages, training hundreds of judges and labour inspectors, and paying travel expenses for those [domestic helpers] who cannot afford it," Kallash said.
Citing the Public Security Department, which she said had been very cooperative in allowing the centre's staff to visit the detained helpers, the advocate noted that keeping a worker in detention costs the department JD16.5 a day.
In accordance with the 2009 Societies Law, which requires NGOs to obtain Cabinet approval in order to receive foreign funding, Tamkeen applied to the government for approval of the funds from Pro Victimis but was turned down, Kallash said.
In its official response, she added, the government did not specify why it turned down the request, which had given details of how the funds would be used as required by relevant regulations.
The centre's president said the decision was unjustified as the centre had fulfilled all the requirements, adding that she brought the issue to the attention of Prime Minister Fayez Tarawneh's office this week.
"We are still waiting for an answer from the prime minister's office," she said. "Unless they approve the fund request we will be forced to cut down on our activities, which mainly concentrate on defending the rights of vulnerable groups."
Officials at the Ministry of Political Development, under whose auspices the Tamkeen Centre is registered, could not be reached for comment.