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Fri 10 Apr 2015 12:49 AM

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Kuwait drafts law for independent human rights agency

Move comes just weeks after Kuwait was accused of escalating punishments against people critical of the gov't

Kuwait drafts law for independent human rights agency
(Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)

The Kuwaiti National Assembly's Human Rights Committee has completed a draft law for establishing a national human rights agency.

The 14-article bill has been submitted to the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Interior, Justice and Social Affairs and Labor as well as the State Ministry for Planning to seek their views on the draft, Kuwait News Agency reported.

The move comes just weeks after US-based Human Rights Watch said in its annual report for 2014 that Kuwait’s government has escalated punishments against people critical of the government.

The rights group said the Kuwait government should take urgent steps to amend national laws that officials are using to crack down on free speech, and stop revoking citizenship to punish its critics and peaceful opponents.

The draft law aims to establish an independent human rights body under the supervision of the cabinet, the head of the committee Abdulhameed Dashti was quoted as saying by KUNA.

It also aims at enhancing and safeguarding human rights and disseminating and consolidating public freedoms in line with the constitution and relevant international accords, he added.

The new entity will enjoy independence and a juridical entity, with an 11-member board.

The rights body will also include representatives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Interior, Justice and Social Affairs and Labour as well as the Fatwa and Legislation Department who will act as advisors.

Board members will be appointed for a four-year term, with a limit of two terms.

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