Kuwait issues 80,000 ID cards to stateless Arabs

  • Share via facebook
  • Tweet this
  • Bookmark and Share
(AFP/Getty Images)

(AFP/Getty Images)

Kuwait has issued identification cards to 80,000 stateless people in the wake of the Arab Spring, according to officials in the country. 

The Gulf state will continue to issue cards for stateless, or 'bidoon' as they are known locally, Abduallah Al Farhan, head of information and ID cards said in a statement carried by the state news agency.

Kuwait, home to an estimated 180,000 bidoon, set up a committee in November 2010 promising some rights to bidoon, such as identification papers and access to public education. However, local reports said only 16,000 citizenship applications had been approved in the last 20 years.

Sheikh Ahmad Al Humoud Al Sabah, the interior minister, said last year it would start to naturalise some of its bidoon following repeated protests, which were broken up by water cannon and tear gas during the Arab Spring.

Saleh Al Fadhalah, who heads the government’s central agency for illegal residents, said as many as 34,000 stateless people could qualify for citizenship.

Kuwait has long claimed the bidoon have destroyed their original passports to claim Kuwaiti citizenship, which would allow them to claim the Gulf state’s generous welfare benefits.

In a bid to force the bidoon, often descendants of desert nomads, to produce original nationality papers, Kuwait has refused to issue essential documents to most of them, including birth, marriage and death certificates.

Human Rights Watch urged authorities in the Gulf state to follow through on promises to address citizenship claims of its stateless people.

“Following decades of broken promises, Kuwait needs to act now to address the plight of the Bidoon,” Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch said last year.

“Punishing Bidoon for protesting while refusing to act on their citizenship claims shows how little respect the government has for their rights.” 

Related:
Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

  • No comments yet, be the first!

Enter the words above: Enter the numbers you hear:

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
Smoke-free Dubai - the big debate

Smoke-free Dubai - the big debate

Will the emirate ever be smoke free? We spark up the conversation...

4
Mentoring matters: Mowgli Q&A

Mentoring matters: Mowgli Q&A

Kathleen Bury, CEO of mentoring foundation Mowgli, on why mentoring...

Guide to getting married in Dubai on a budget

Guide to getting married in Dubai on a budget

Alarmed by how expensive weddings are? Our experts reveal how...

2
Most Discussed
  • 9
    UAE teens among the highest for obesity rates

    @MT3 I forgot to add that of course this is assuming that the UAE moves toward a single payer model, something that I think has never been considered ... more

    Thursday, 28 August 2014 8:36 PM - Telcoguy
  • 9
    Smoke-free Dubai - the big debate

    Surprisingly the only studies that show a negative financial impact of the smoking ban on the hospitality industry are sponsored by tobacco companies ... more

    Wednesday, 27 August 2014 4:19 PM - Telcoguy
  • 3
    Saudi Arabia said to shelve plan for shorter working week

    It is working fine in the other gulf countries. In Oman, it is working very well and people, including business owners, adapted. Prices did not significantly... more

    Thursday, 28 August 2014 6:23 PM - Tariq AD