Groups Urge Kuwait to Address Bidoun Rights
Three international human rights organizations have urged the leaders of Kuwait to end alleged abusing of more than 100,000 stateless people, also known as bidoun, in a joint letter. Refugees International, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International wrote Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, highlighting the plight of the bidoun and urging a solution. The letter suggests, “Progress on securing the social and cultural rights of [bidoun] have also stagnated in recent months,” and calls for the Emir to “to address this issue decisively” with five steps. The steps include granting proof of nationality to a portion of the group, eliminating employment discrimination, and enabling bidoon to challenge decisions in court, among others.
Meanwhile, after Kuwait’s highest court struck down a government attempt to redraw district lines, opposition members said that they will demand elections and called for the dissolution of the parliament, threatening street protests as early as Monday if the requests are not granted. Lawmaker Waleed al-Tabatabi said, “If this announcement is not made, the political and popular forces will hold rallies at the Irada Square.” Kristian Coates Ulrichsen writes that the recent court decision that disallowed the redrawing of Kuwait’s electoral boundaries “leaves both the government and opposition floundering.” The author says that the decision should not necessarily be viewed as a victory for the opposition but does give “reaffirmation of judicial independence and the separation of powers in Kuwait.”