Activists voice displeasure over hate speech targeting expats
‘Emulate the example of HH the Amir in dealing with expatriates’
KUWAIT CITY, March 11: Several Kuwaiti activists have expressed displeasure on the rate of discrimination and hatred against expatriates who entered the country legitimately in search of greener pastures, given that Kuwait is in dire need of expatriate workers.
In this context, former minister of education and higher education Ahmad Al-Mulaifi declared that provocative statements issued against expatriate workers are unacceptable to the people of Kuwait and even more ridiculous at a time when the highest international body — the United Nations, has named His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al- Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah as the Global Humanitarian Leader.
He stressed the Amir has justified this appellation with the recent decision to pay debts for all Kuwaiti and expatriate prisoners.
In his reaction, Assistant Undersecretary for Transfer of Ownership at the Ministry of Finance Fahad Al- Sha’alah agreed that Kuwait needs to restructure the demographic imbalance by training Kuwaitis for all types of jobs, but expatriate workers deserve respect.
He said expatriates should not be treated with prejudice, and the issue of demographic restructure should be handled professionally without provoking expatriate workers.
Academic staff at Kuwait University Dr Ahmad Al-Munayes observed that discriminative speeches against expatriates are exaggerated to win political favor. He expressed concern that the repercussions of those speeches may be telling on the incoming generations. “My fear is for the implication of careless hate speeches coming from a few of our people without considering the fact that expatriates are partners in developing our country,” he stressed.
“Those making noises and issuing hate speeches while expressing prejudice against expatriate workers are using it to exploit the political terrain as a way of distracting attention of the public from the reality on the ground. Discrimination against expatriate workers is totally unacceptable, especially as the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor knows the visa traders very well.
So, why not criticize those who recruited marginal workers instead,” Secretary General of the Umbrella for Kuwaiti Work Anwar Al-Rushaid submitted. Meanwhile, Head of Kuwait Society for Human Rights Khalid Al- Ajmi said expatriates did not enter Kuwait against the will of citizens, urging the MPs and the government to follow the steps of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah who decided to pay debts owed by citizens and expatriates jailed on financial offenses. Former dean of the Faculty of Commerce and Political Sciences Dr Sadeq Al-Bassam denounced the escalated racist speech targeting expatriates, indicating Kuwait used to depend on expatriates in the medical and educational fields and it’s not part of the Kuwaiti people to deny favors extended to them by others through such damned language.
However, it does not mean the issue of demographic imbalance should be neglected. It should be handled reasonably without hurting anybody. Head of Liberalist Movement Eman Hayat slammed racist expressions against expatriates and praised the noble thoughts of the Amir who made no distinction between a Kuwaiti citizen and an expatriate on his decision to pay the debts of those convicted for financial offenses. She noted the act is a precious lesson to those who discriminate between citizens and expatriates.
For his part, Lawyer Mejbel Al- Shuraikah said those who keep creating disputes among citizens and expatriates are seeking electoral gains by stimulating the feelings of voters. He noted those voices do not hunt anybody who agrees with them looking at the outcome of the grilling of the Minister of Social Affairs and Labor.
Former official of International Labor Organization and union leader Thabet Al-Haroun stressed that many countries stood by Kuwait in hard times and it’s unexpected of Kuwait to treat the citizens of those countries living in Kuwait with such racist rants, indicating such angry outbursts adversely affect the reputation of Kuwait and distort the humanitarian activities of Kuwait.
Former minister of commerce and industry Amani Bouresli is of the view that priority is given to citizens of each country, and that Kuwait is considered among the most welcoming countries for expatriates. She went on to condemn the racist statements against expatriates.
Former minister of education Dr Badr Al-Essa said the Amir’s humanitarian gesture to citizens and expatriates is a real world example of the kindness that places Kuwait in a top position globally in terms of humanitarianism. He stressed that Kuwaiti citizens are not against expatriates.
Head of Kuwait Lawyers Society Sherhan Al-Sherhan also said the country condemns any racist approach against expatriates, noting expatriates from about 116 countries around the world have been welcomed into the country. Former minister of housing affairs Yahya Al-Sumait stated Kuwait is a country that respects everyone regardless of their nationalities, indicating the few discriminating against expatriates do not have the support of the generality of citizens. He described such citizens as extremists, adding the Amiri pardon conveys the best message to those racists.
Also, former minister of oil and Head of Kuwait Society for Human Rights Ali Al-Baghli said the racist tirades of some politicians against expatriates are in no way acceptable. He called on the relevant authorities to punish visa traders, especially those having marginal labors registered on their files.
Pastor of the Anglican Church in Kuwait Emanuel Ghareeb disclosed that Kuwait at present or in the past never discriminated between citizens and expatriates, and nobody has the right to ill-treat expatriates in any way. He stressed that expatriates came to Kuwait in search of decent livelihood, especially as the country allows freedom of religion. He also said HH the Amir is an example of respect and kindness, as he makes no difference between citizens and foreigners.
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I think these activists should come together and sue the individuals guilty of issuing hate speeches under the Kuwait Unity Law.