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HRW Slams Kuwait on Bidun Residents

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TEHRAN, June 14 (ICANA) – In February and March 2011, hundreds of Bidun assembled in the streets in Kuwait to protest the government's failure to act on their citizenship applications.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 8:23:07 PM
HRW Slams Kuwait on Bidun Residents

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has criticized Kuwait for its failure to address citizenship claims by more than 106,000 stateless Bidun residents.

HRW issued a statement on Monday saying the Kuwaiti government has denied the Bidun “essential documentation, including birth, marriage, and death certificates, as well as access to free government schools and legal employment opportunities.”

Middle East Director at Human Rights Watch Sarah Leah Whitson said, “Like the rest of the Arab world, the Bidun have had enough and are demanding reforms the government should have made years ago.”

According to HRW, the Bidun in Kuwait live under “vulnerable” conditions and “without protection,” and the government considers them “illegal residents.”

On May 26, the Kuwaiti government agreed to provide ration cards for food allowances through government-run cooperatives, but it has not recognized enforceable legal rights and benefits for the Bidun and continues to enforce discriminatory policies against them.

In February and March, hundreds of Biduns assembled in the streets in Kuwait to protest the government's failure to act on their citizenship applications.

Moreover, rights groups say Kuwaiti women still encounter social discrimination and violation of their economic rights despite being granted a female suffrage by the parliament in 2005.

Statelessness has existed in Kuwait since independence from Britain in 1961, and Kuwaiti law bans the courts from ruling on citizenship claims of the Bidun.

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