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Release Kuwaiti Bidoons: Rights Group

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TEHRAN, March 13 (ICANA) – The Kuwait Human Rights Association has called on the government to release the people detained during protests by stateless Arabs demanding citizenship.
Sunday, March 13, 2011 9:50:51 AM
Release Kuwaiti Bidoons: Rights Group

The independent rights body has called for the "release of all those arrested during the events on March 11 without delay and without pressing charges against them,” AFP reported.

Dozens were detained on Friday during demonstrations by stateless Arabs -- referred to as Bidoons -- who are demanding basic rights.

Approximately 500 held a demonstration after Friday prayers in Jahra, west of Kuwait City, while other demonstrations were held in Sulaibiya and Al Ahmadi, south of the capital.

Last month, hundreds of Bidoons staged three consecutive days of protests in the country. The demonstrations turned violent when riot police opened fire on the protesters in Sulaibiya, a village outside Kuwait City, with at least seven people injured and dozens more arrested.

In response, the government promised to address the grievances of the Bidoon people after three days of protests.

On Tuesday, Parliament refused to hear a bill that would grant civil rights to the group. Many MPs say they prefer the issuance of an executive order granting those rights rather than the passing of a law.

More than 100,000 Bidoons are believed to live in Kuwait, but the government claims that the ancestors of many of these Arab Bidoons came from neighboring countries and they are therefore not entitled to citizenship.

In 2000, Kuwaiti authorities launched a campaign against the Bidoons to force members of the group to "reveal their true identities," depriving them of basic rights, including healthcare, education, and jobs.

The stateless Bidoons are commonly deprived of the right to obtain driver's licenses and birth and death certificates and to get their marriage contracts attested.

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