Kuwait: End Systematic Discrimination against the Stateless “Bidoon”

On 17 July 2020, ADHRB has delivered an oral intervention at the United Nation Human Rights Council session 44 during Kuwait UPR.


Madam President

We begin by welcoming the Kuwaiti delegation with the hope to see them implementing the accepted recommendations. The Kuwaiti government continues the use of its provisions in constitutions, national security law, and others by limiting freedom of expression where criticizing the current Emir is punishable by prison time in a contradiction with Kuwait international obligations. Put differently, the Kuwaiti government reflects that a certain sector from Al-Sabah ruling family including the amir is above the law and no one can question their actions in the country.

Many activists and human rights defenders became victims of such abuse, so we would like to ask the Kuwaiti delegation if they are willing to commit to protect freedom of speech including the criticism of the current Kuwaiti Amir?

One of the ongoing crises in the country is the human rights violations against a large segment of the society called Bidoon which means stateless in Arabic. We have documented that Bidoon have been subjected to torture and abuse from the Kuwaiti police and security forces.

Under article 12 of the 1979 public gathering law in Kuwait, the Kuwaiti government led a campaign targeting Bidoon activists by prohibiting any gathering in public spaces, this was used systematically against Bidoon activists and their descent.

We also documented and received reports from Kuwaiti activists that discrimination against Bidoons in healthcare, employment, social services, and education was also spread, and other issues such lack of citizenship and proper documentation. It’s an outrageous to see the Kuwaiti government considers the Bidoon population as lower class.

Is the Kuwaiti delegation willing to commit to the Council today that is going to legalize all the Bidoons and end to the systematic institutionalized discrimination against them? Will the Kuwaiti government stop treating the Bidoon as lower class population?

Thank you