Monday, September 12, 2011
Kuwaiti Bidun men will be facing court for protesting: Mona Kareem
Re-posted directly from Mona Kareem's blog:
"This February, after the Arab spring hit our streets, the Stateless (Bidun) youth of Kuwait went in protests in their areas (Taimaa, Sulaibiya, and Ahmidy) where the government has worked for years into isolating them. The Bidun are 100,000 in number equaling by that 10% of Kuwaiti population. I do not want to explain once again who are the Bidun and what they are going through, as you can check this label "Bidun" in my blog to know more in details.
My father has always described democracy in Kuwait being "as weak as a chocolate bar" referring to how this alleged "democracy" is an exclusive right for certain people/classes in Kuwait. We saw a Shiaa tweep getting arrested and banned from family visits by state security police months ago because he bashed the Saudi and Bahraini regimes, we saw Egyptians getting deported for protesting in front of their embassy in support of Al-Baradi last year, and in support of their revolution this year. We have also witnessed police brutality against hundreds of Kuwaiti youth protesting in February and March for their rights of documentation, health, education, and citizenship.
Around 100 Bidun youth were investigated by the state security police for over a week (Investigation is not limited to questions and answers, as you can imagine of an Arab regime). Kuwaiti Human Rights association has met with those who were investigated, later released, and documented how they were tortured and harrased. When contacting one of the association's members, she told me that those agreed to speak asked to keep their cases confidental in fear of facing SS again.
On the coming 18th of December, 48 Kuwaiti Bidun men will be facing court for protesting. In Kuwait, "the country of chocolate-democracy", those who are not Kuwaitis are not allowed to protest for whatever reason. Citizens are asked to get a permission for protesting, and might not face trouble if they do not, depending on the nature of their protest. Those 48 men where bailed out paying 6$ each except for one man who payed 3000$ because he confessed to have been the mastermind of those protests, sending text messages to others to join the protests.
Last June, Human Rights Watch, for the first time, organized a conference in Kuwait on the case of Bidun, gathering authorities and Bidun activists to reach a proposed solution. Kuwait, for sure, gave promises and started to give some birth and marriage certificates, only to back again and fire some Bidun from their jobs, confiscate some passports, and stop issuing Identification cards. The situation is swinging and speculations cannot be "logically" made.
I ask all activists, international organizations, and human rights groups to stand with the Bidun who will be facing trials for their natural right of protesting. This inhuman discrimination needs to be stopped, and human's right of free speech should not be negotiated anymore."