Monday, March 24, 2014

Kuwaiti Stateless Issue being "studied" again - OMG!

"Stateless" or "Bedoun/Bidoon" refers to those in Kuwait who have NO nationality.  No passports.  No identity.  How can that be, you ask?  There are several countries in the world with this issue.  Kuwait is a prime example.

Imagine you can't get a credit card.  A car, a phone, or a home in your name.  You can't travel because you don't have a passport.  It is up to a government to determine if you may/may not get birth, marriage, and death certificates.  How do you live?  How do your children live? Children can't get public education because they have no nationality. How will they go to private schools if there is no money to pay for them?  What about health care?    With the number of Stateless Kuwaitis increasing by birth every year, isn't this a national crisis? THINK!

Arab Times
24 March 2014

‘Steps Under Way To Solve Problems Of Illegal Expats’
2,000 Out Of 90,000 Rectify Residential Status

 KUWAIT CITY, March 23: Around 2,000 expatriates facing residency-related problems have rectified their status as per the instruction of Assistant Undersecretary for Citizenship and Passports Affairs Major General Sheikh Faisal Al-Nawaf to ease procedures for these people, reports Alam Al- Yawm daily quoting sources.

Sources confirmed the directive of the assistant undersecretary was implemented after he conducted a study on the issue and submitted results to the interior minister as part of a purely humanitarian security plan to correct the status of nearly 90,000 foreigners staying illegally in the country.

Sources said other studies are currently being conducted to gradually fix the problem - a step which needs time, intensified efforts and governmental support.


I had to re-read the "article" above several times because the writing is so God-awful that I missed the point the first 20 times I read it, but I understand the overall point. Perhaps it sounds better in Arabic, before the Google translation?

I have so many comments about this that I don't even know where to begin.  First, gradual BS "studies" have been going on for decades.  They study.  They talk.  They have tea.  They study some more.  They talk some more.  NOTHING happens.  Bidoon (which means "without" - NOT "Illegal") people who have the right to Kuwaiti nationality are still waiting and being treated terribly by just about everyone.  (And before I get any bullshit from the peanut gallery:   by saying "People who have the right" - I mean the ones who can prove that they were here before the 1964 census, have documentation, and have DNA directly linking them to their KUWAITI family members.)

They said they would naturalize 4000 Bedoun per year.  I forget what year that was, but it was years ago and no movement has been made, but "studies."  

Meanwhile, my friends like AHE,  who served in the Kuwait military for 40 (FORTY) years, representing Kuwait as a competition sharp-shooter around the world, still doesn't have nationality; nor do any of his children.  Their home is in someone else's name.  Their cars are in other people's names.  The sons get less salary than anyone else in the same job category and they are perceived as "non-Kuwaitis".  WTF.  The man is a prouder Kuwaiti than most 1st nationality category (there are 17 levels I believe) Kuwaitis that I have ever met.   (17 levels of citizenship, and yet everyone in the country talks about "national unity".  Funny that.) 

The same with HS.  He's been in the Kuwaiti police force for decades, serving his country.  He has all the necessary documentation and he still can't get anyone to even listen to him.  He, like others, hates to go to the governments bedoun agencies because they are treated worse than cattle; they are degraded and humiliated.

Sidebar:   hearing, "Ana usli Kuwaiti" ("original Kuwaiti") takes you down many levels with me (insert expletive starting with "a" here).   WHO is "original"?  People have asked me if I'm, "usli Amreekia" before. Ha.  That's funny.  WTF is that?! 

I've been requested to ask for help from my friends in "higher places."  I want to, but I see the looks on their faces when I even mention the Bedoun. They don't even want to hear it.   Then, the insults and slurs start. I feel awful and humiliated just for bringing up the subject.  The conversations never get far enough for me to provide specific details.    It hurts my feelings to hear how people I consider friends feel about those who I love and are suffering.  They know me better than to say, "You don't understand the complexity of the problem.  You're a foreigner."  No - I've heard that from people (and people commenting here) who DON'T know me.  I know the issues, all the complexities; and I also know people facing serious humanitarian issues in their lives here and now.

Don't make it about the politics; make it about the people.  


Anonymous said...

i never told you DG.....back when THE MAN (Ronald Reagan ) was Prez, I saw a few arabs at my local junior college. There were Palestinians from Palestine funded in their college studies in the USA ..... by Kuwait. sigh

AG said...

Sadly I believe Kuwait's idea of 'resolving' a case is hoping the Bidoon will step forward with their 'real' documents. And perhaps that did happen with the 2,000 whose case has been 'resolved'.

But while they sit around hoping for something to appear that just doesn't exist more children are being born into a stateless family.

While there was once approximately 70,000 Bidoon, I'm certain that number has almost doubled. This isn't going to fix itself and needs far more action than yet another 'study'.

I know MANY Bidoon who have their DNA tests, Census documents, and even birth records for their great grandparents. Initially my friends were told to take all ORIGINAL documents for review and then later told their file had been lost -- along with all originals. When they showed up with copies they were told the documents are fakes... since they're copies. If as much effort was put into truly resolving this situation as there is into giving people a senseless run-around, then something might actually be done.