Yesterday's meeting with three members of the Kuwaiti Bidoon Committee. I can only publish a photograph with one of them, as the other two have relatives in Kuwait who they think might be victimised if they were recognised. I blurred the faces using Photoshop, but they were still unhappy about being on the blog at all.
Its almost unbelievable that a rich state denies 100,000 people all the normal rights of citizenship such as access to health, education and every other public service.
UNHCR has been given a mandate to work with governments to prevent statelessness from occurring, to resolve those cases that do occur and to protect the rights of Stateless persons. But according to the UN Committee for Refugees and Immigrants World Refugee Survey 2004, 'there are 120,000 stateless persons known as Bidoon... in Kuwait, denied the rights and benefits that Kuwaiti citizens enjoy'. This report says:
'During 2003, Kuwait made limited progress in addressing the long-standing issue of the stateless Bidoon. The government relaxed the 2,000-person annual cap to permit 5,500 Bidoon from three special categories (sons of female citizens married to Bidoon, those whose male relatives are citizens, and wives of citizens) to apply for citizenship. In another positive step, the government naturalized 1,600 Bidoon. Although the law allows the change of status for up to 2,000 Bidoon each year, Kuwait lowered the cap to only 600 persons in 2002'.
'The Ministry of Defense also approved citizenship for some 400 Bidoon who fought against Iraq during the 1991 invasion of Kuwait, shelving another proposal to naturalize posthumously those whose remains had been identified. If approved, naturalization of Bidoon killed in action would allow surviving family members to become Kuwaiti citizens'.
Its time this problem was dealt with firmly, and we will see what can be done to speed up the process of getting the Bidoons recognised as citizens.
JW defeated me 3-0 again today making it 69-68 to him