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Kuwaiti Bidoons Community Association

By Nasser Al-Anezy, February 13, 2009

The Kuwaiti Community Association is a non-profit humanitarian organisation that exists to represent and meet the particular needs of the Kuwaiti Bidoons Community in the United Kingdom. The Kuwaiti Community Association is the only organisation that represents the Kuwaiti Bidoons’ community in the United Kingdom. It exists since December 2001.
Kuwaiti Bidoons are native residents of Kuwait. Most of them were born in Kuwait but denied Kuwaiti Citizenship. The word “Bidoon” means "without" (citizenship) or “Stateless people”. There are now about 120,000 Bidoon people in Kuwait (out of 262,000 in 1990), who are stateless and they do not enjoy any of the human rights accorded to citizens in any country. They descend from the Arab tribes who have lived on grazing sheep and camels in the previous century. They did not have any idea about settled life in the thirties, forties, and even fifties, as they led a nomadic lifestyle. That is why they did not get the citizenship of any country in the region. They moved from one country to another without any need for passports because they were well known to everybody and they were from the same tribes on the other side of any country in the region.
The Naturalization law in Kuwait has been made in the late fifties and on the beginning of sixties of the twentieth century. These people did not pay any attention to get the citizenship of Kuwait because they felt that it was something not needed. Because of a lack of information and low education of these people, the Kuwaiti government did not do its job towards these citizens in spite of these people counted as a Kuwaiti citizen in the United Nation. There was no radio or television at that time and nobody knew what was going on in the capital of Kuwait. The government played a big role in this problem because it did not give these Bidoons any idea of how important to get these papers and how it will influence their future.
New generations of Bidoons continued to be stateless and ignorant because they did not have access to the public  educational system. They have suffered psychological pressures, diabetes, hypertension because of their daily problems and suffering.
The Kuwaiti government has employed propaganda to mislead the international community and media to buy more time to increase the sanctions against the remaining Bidoons including children, women, and seniors to be driven out of their native land. There is no Law in Kuwait which gives the Bidoons the rights to petition the courts in order to challenge governmental decisions regarding their claims to citizenship, and the government unilaterally decides the nationality of any stateless residents without a hearing.
The discretionary citizenship process has not been open to challenge for four decades. Many Bidoons were denied citizenship simply because the government failed to act on their applications or provide them with an adequate opportunity to prove their claims.
Denying the Bidoons the right to petition the courts violates the universal right to due process of the law and equality before the law. How can the international community and the United Nations accept this injustice and the governmental solutions to end the Bidoon crisis without their rights to petition the courts to challenge governmental decisions?
In general, the Kuwaiti government, since the 1960s, is not serious about solving the Bidoons issue, and all Laws related to citizenship are false measures to mislead the international community. In the past, there were many committees and Laws regarding the Bidoons but without implementation.
US Department of State's "Kuwait Country Report on Human Rights Practices" released on February 26, 1999 stated:

 "The Government has made only slight progress towards solving the longstanding issue of the Bidoon… Although the Government has not found a solution to the human rights problems of the approximately 114,000 stateless persons residing in Kuwait known as the Bidoon, it continued to naturalize small batches of the Bidoon population via piecemeal legislation that addressed the marginal aspects of the Bidoon problem, but left the core complexities untouched."
U.S. Committee for Refugees, 1997, stated "In May, the National Assembly considered a proposal to naturalize about 10,000 Bidoon, about 10 percent of the Bidoon population in Kuwait. By the end of 1997, however, the government had naturalized only about 500 Bidoon, many the children of Kuwaiti citizen mothers", this is another proof that the Kuwaiti government is not serious to solve the Bidoon crisis, and since the sixties the government had been promising to solve this crisis, but never done so.
The situation of the Bidoons in general is aggravating every day. They had been deprived of the majority of their basic human and civil rights starting from the 1980's. The treatment of the Bidoons by the government of Kuwait amounts to a policy of Apartheid, harassment, and intimidation. The Bidoons in Kuwait are not allowed to work or to receive welfare or charity, their children are not allowed to go to school, majority of them are without access to public health care, many sanctions and fiscal charges are imposed on them, they are banned from travel, and they live in poverty and under threat of deportation. Further, blocking the return of 50 percent of the pre-occupation Bidoon population constitutes cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment under widely accepted international law principles. Also this policy aimed at forcing the remaining Bidoons to be deported from their country, which is a crime against humanity.
Kuwait's double-standard policy of discrimination against the Bidoons has not been criticized by the UN, the US, or even any country in the world. On one hand, Kuwait has been benefiting from the international Law since the Iraqi  invasion. On the other hand, they have been violating a vast international convention, even those that Kuwait had signed or ratified over three-decade.

Why is the United Nations letting Kuwait benefit from billions of dollars in compensation from the Iraqis for damage inflicted during the 1990-91 occupation, while ignoring the massive inhumane sanctions imposed on the Bidoon children, women, and seniors by the Kuwaiti government since the 1980's.
On behalf of the Executive Committee of the Kuwaiti Community Association, I am writing to express our concern regarding the situation of Bidoons in Kuwait and I urge you to support us to end the dire situation of the Kuwaiti Bidoons.

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