Kuwait promises 'solutions' for Bidoon population, but rejects citizenship

Kuwait promises 'fair solution' for stateless Bidoon population, but rejects citizenship
2 min read
23 July, 2019
Rights groups have repeatedly accused Kuwait of mistreating about 100,000 stateless Arabs, saying the Gulf country has failed to recognise the right of these long-term residents to citizenship.
Marzoug al-Ghanim announced the plan on Monday [Getty]
Kuwait will soon implement a "fair solution" to the decades-long marginalisation of the country's stateless Bidoon population.

In a long meeting with top cabinet officials, the Emir of Kuwait on Monday agreed to a solution that will solve the political quagmire once and for all.

"There will finally be a drastic and fair solution to this issue during summer," parliamentary Speaker Marzouq al-Ghanem said after the meeting, saying the plan has not yet been made public to increase the likelihood of it succeeding.

He added that the solution will not include giving the Bidoon population Kuwaiti citizenship, nor will it interfere with the "national identity" of the country – rhetoric that has for years been blasted as racist.

Last week, Kuwaiti authorities arrested more than a dozen people, including a leading rights activist, in a crackdown on protesters demanding greater rights for the Bidoon.

They face a number of charges including participation in unlicensed demonstrations, spreading "false news" and state security offences, rights group Amnesty International said.

Rights groups have repeatedly accused Kuwait of mistreating about 100,000 stateless Arabs, saying the Gulf country has failed to recognise the right of these long-term residents to citizenship.

Kuwait has insisted that most Bidoon or their forefathers came from neighbouring countries and do not qualify for citizenship.

According to Amnesty, the Bidoon group continues to face restrictions on employment, health care, and state support provided to Kuwaiti citizens despite reforms announced in 2015.

There are estimated to be more than 500,000 Bidoon across the Gulf region.

Follow us on Twitter: @The_NewArab