[The following report was published by the Gulf Center for Human Rights on 23 April 2014]
Introduction and Summary
- Kuwait’s reputation is as one of the most democratic states in the Gulf, the state with an elected parliament and the state in which there is a tolerance of freedom of expression and of assembly. All things are relative, however, and the experiments with democracy in the country have long been combined with distinct and targeted repression. Although Kuwait has sought to avoid dissent by distributing its oil revenue to its relatively small population, there have nevertheless been large-scale street protests and vocal opposition to the ruling family in recent years. These protests have been met with a significant and a sometimes violent crackdown, which has seen activists, journalists and intellectuals being repeatedly arrested and imprisoned for expressing their views. The Government of Kuwait has found that it cannot buy the acquiescence of the people. The people are still demanding their dignity.
- The Bidoon community in Kuwait, an underclass of over 100,000 people, continue to be denied even their basic rights. There have been sizable Bidoon street protests over the last three years in which the main demands are for citizenship and all the fundamental rights that go with it. Prominent Bidoon activists have been arrested and detained in February and March 2014 in relation to these protests and the Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR) has received credible allegations of torture of these peaceful political activists.
- This report seeks to assess the allegations made about the Government’s restrictions on freedom of expression within its borders, the misuse of the judicial system to attack human rights defenders and the ongoing failure over five decades to resolve the Bidoon issue.
[To read the full report click here]