Sunday, January 29, 2012

Rights, political activists stage demo in solidarity with Bedouns

The Romanian and I drove by Erada square (in front of the Parliament) last night and noticed all the baracades - - - AND cute police guys.  "What's going on?  They brought all the good ones down here."  Tall, dark, handsome... sigh.  Oh yeah, so now, onto the story...

Photo Credit:  Arab Times

Rights, political activists stage demo in solidarity with Bedouns
Call for release of arrested stateless people
Arab Times
By: Abubakar A. Ibrahim

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 28:  Several Kuwaiti human rights and political activists gathered Saturday at the Erada Square in solidarity with Bedouns, calling on the government to immediately take the necessary steps to address the problems of Bedouns and release those arrested during the protest actions in Taima last week.

Holding placards containing excerpts from the Kuwaiti Constitution that guarantees their right to hold demonstrations, the protesters asked the government to stop arresting Bedouns, release those arrested during peaceful demonstrations, grant citizenship to deserving applicants, approve proposals on the civil and human rights of these people, allow the court to settle disputes related to citizenship, refer all security restrictions to the court, address the fake passport issue and adopt the international agreement on stateless persons.

The Erada Square was cordoned off during the rally with two security checkpoints in the area and heavy security presence.  Only Kuwaitis and journalists were given permission to enter the square.
According to Dr Rana Abdulrazak, she and her colleagues invited people to the rally through Twitter, because they were moved by the turn of events in Taima.  They consider the arrest of peaceful demonstrators a violation of the Constitution and the law.  “As Kuwaitis, we have to do something.  We support calls for granting Bedouns their civil rights.  This file should be closed once and for all,” she asserted.

Stressing the need to grant citizenship to deserving applicants, while protecting the rights of those not qualified for naturalization, Abdulrazak argued the stipulations of the Constitution and the laws of the country must be enforced on everyone.  

She appealed to the authorities to refrain from using double standards in dealing with Kuwaitis and other nationalities.  “We believe this gathering will encourage other political parties to support Bedouns.  We should have a unified stand on the issue,” she added.
Meanwhile, Kuwait University Professor and human rights activist Dr Ibtihal Abdulaziz Al-Khatib explained, “We are here to demand for the rights of Bedouns, particularly the right to be naturalized for those who deserve it.  We want them to be treated like any citizen in Kuwait and enjoy basic human rights like education, health and acquisition of official documents.”  She urged the concerned authorities to look into the citizenship issue and naturalize those who met the conditions.

Al-Khatib lamented no concrete step has been taken to address the problems of Bedouns over the last decades.  She believes it is now time to find appropriate solutions, indicating it is illogical to delay the procedures, considering these people have been suffering for decades.

Commenting on what happened during the Bedouns demonstration in Taima, Al-Khatib de-nounced the inhumane steps taken by the security forces who tracked down the peaceful demonstrators.  She said everyone has the right to gather peacefully and asked the government lay down temporary solutions, while waiting for the completion of a comprehensive mechanism to finally close the Bedoun file.  


On the other hand, Deputy Chairperson of Kuwait Human Rights Society Maha Barjas Al-Barjas said the demonstration was organized by Kuwaitis to express their support for Bedouns and convey a clear message to the government that the issue requires immediate solution.

Al-Barjas revealed the protesters include granting Bedouns their basic rights, naturalize the deserving applicants, lift the security restrictions and revoke the case filed against 59 Bedouns who were arrested recently, and issue them civil IDs instead of security cards.  

She warned the Bedouns issue poses a grave threat to the security of the country because most of these people are unemployed; hence, the need to allow them to work in state institutions. 

- - -

This is the "unified nation" that I remember.  I feel proud when I see Kuwaitis who would stand up for those less fortunate (within the walls of their own country - not just in Palestine or other areas of the globe).  This is the true spirit of Kuwaitis; kindness, generosity, and dignity.    I hope that some of my friends were there last night.  It has saddened me lately to hear from so many commenters with negative feelings towards Bedouns; when in fact I know that some Bedouns went to school with them, or grew up next to them, or touched their lives in some way.  Why the hatred?  This country is so small; too small to be so divided.


Linda said...

This is so sad. I had not heard about the plight of the bedouns until I moved here. From the little I know it appears that they just want their basic human rights and to be part of their own country. It humbles me how I take my rights for granted.

American Girl said...

I'm so glad you posted this as well. It also really touched my heart to see so many locals getting involved! We were in the same area yesterday evening (around 5:30pm) and saw all the police presence, but didn't know what was going on. You're absolutely right, this is the TRUE spirit of Kuwait.

Anonymous said...

International Human Rights Organizations can only encourage Kuwait to recognize the citizenship of those that qualify under Kuwait law which is 34,000 that you stated in an earier post. Every country in the world deals with illegal residents from Thailand to South Africa and in accordance to each countries legal system people attain citizenship. Countries can not give citizenship away to anyone who desires it, so that is why countries set up legal constraints for attaining citizenship in their nations. Yes, Kuwait is small and they can't just award citizenship to anyone that desires it? They have laws that govern citizenship. How many subcontinent nationals have said to me in Dubai that they should be given UAE citizenship because they were born and raised in Dubai, NO, that is not the law in UAE, they will never have UAE citizenship, they hold passports from other nations and that is their citizenship. So, don't get over emotional here, it is about legal systems. Do you expect England to give citizenship to every person smuggled into the nation?

LWDLIK said...

Ok we're going to the next demo ok girlfriend!