Amnesty International said on Wednesday that the Kuwaiti authorities have arbitrarily arrested more than a dozen “stateless” people, known as Bidoun, during the past week for demanding equal rights.
The organisation said, in a statement, that the campaign of arrests took place between July 11 and 14, following demonstrations organised last week by members of the Bidoun group. This followed the suicide of a young Bidoun man, Ayed Hamad Moudath, 20, who was unable to obtain official documents and eventually lost his job.
According to the agency, the detainees include prominent human rights activist, Abdul Hakim al-Fadhli.
Amnesty International’s Middle East Director of Research, Lynn Maalouf, said that “by continuing to deny the Bidoun citizenship, the authorities are denying these long-term residents a range of basic rights, including their right to health, education and work”.
“This has been a long-standing issue since Kuwait’s independence in 1961. It is high time the authorities address it in a meaningful and sustainable manner by ensuring that all Bidouns have access to an independent, prompt and fair process when applying for citizenship” she added.
Human rights groups say Kuwait mistreat some 100,000 stateless people. However, Kuwait insists that a majority of the Bidoun came from neighbouring countries and are not eligible for citizenship.