By Nasser Al-Anezy
ccun.org, 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
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
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.
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."
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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