Kuwaiti 'Bidoon' tries to take his own life at hospital

Member of Kuwait's 'Bidoon' tries to take his own life at hospital
2 min read
09 August, 2021
The man was from a marginalised community that cannot access state healthcare, state education, or obtain the social benefits granted to Kuwaiti citizens.
Social media users have urged the government to take action over the discrimination the Bidoon face [Getty]

A member of Kuwait's stateless Bidoon minority community has attempted to take his own life by setting himself on fire at a hospital, the second incident of its kind in two months.

The man, in his early thirties, made the attempt at the Al-Sabah in Kuwait City on Friday, local newspaper Al-Rai reported. He survived, but was left with severe burns to his body.

Kuwaiti human rights lawyer Mohammed Al-Humidi said on Friday that the young man attempted to take his life because he had been denied the chance to renew his ID card, "depriving him of his most basic human rights".

In early June, a 60-year-old Bidoon man attempted to take his own life - one of a spate of suicides and suicide attempts among members of the Bidoon community.

Social media users urged the government to take action over discrimination against the Bidoons.

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Bidoon is short for bidoon jinsiyyah, or "without citizenship", rendering them stateless.

Without citizenship, they are unable to obtain identification documents, find employment, access state healthcare or state education, or obtain the social benefits granted to Kuwaiti citizens.

The Bidoun community say they have always lived in what is now Kuwait, mostly as part of nomadic tribes that failed to register as citizens when the country became an independent state in 1961. The Kuwait state claims most of them are citizens of neighbouring countries who moved to Kuwait.

There are approximately 100,000 Bidoon in Kuwait, according to Amnesty International - though it says this is likely a conservative estimate.

The following helplines can be contacted if you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts:

UK: The Samaritans

US: The Samaritans

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