Nat’l Assembly Upholds Law on Stateless People in Kuwait

There are a number of issues being addressed by the Kuwaiti government at the moment, but there are still those that have lingered for quite some time, and have not been directly tackled by national leaders as in the case of bedoons (or stateless people living in Kuwait).

These people, who are classified as illegal residents (some of whom have lived in the country for generations) are no longer issued civil identification cards, driver’s licenses, or travel documents, putting most Bedoons under virtual house arrest. They are not permitted to travel abroad, including for medical emergencies or religious pilgrimage, unless they accept never to return to Kuwait.

Nat’l Assembly Upholds Law on Stateless People in Kuwait
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Kuwaiti Gov’t Sets up New Laws on Stateless People

But things are starting to look up because the National Assembly on July 1, approved a host of draft laws including a law allowing the government to naturalize up to 4,000 people this year in a bid to resolve the decades-old problem of stateless people, as shared in a report by the Kuwait Times.

The Assembly also passed laws regulating advocates, insurance, companies and accounting, besides a key law to regulate the personal status affairs of Shiites, who reportedly form some one-third of the 1.4 million native population in the Gulf State.

Despite objections from a number of MPs, the law on naturalization was passed. For instance, MP Abdullah Al-Roumi said the law was not needed since the government can naturalize people under the existing nationality law, while MP Omar Al-Tabtabaei warned the law could pose risks to Kuwait’s national identity.

Of note, the Assembly also passed a law to regulate the profession of lawyers amid some controversy. This comes in the form of rejecting an amendment by the legal and legislative committee to bar graduates of the Islamic Studies College from becoming lawyers as has been the case for years.

Moreover, for the first time, the law bars MPs, members of the Municipal Council, and university law professors from practicing law or opening legal firms while in office.

Also, lawmakers passed two laws to regulate the insurance market and another on regulating accounting.

Meanwhile, regarding the on-going investigation of a case involving bribing a police officer and a retired policemen, investigations conducted by detectives showed the bribes were for releasing detainees due to be deported for KD 1,000 each. The names of recently released detainees pending deportation will be reviewed as part of further investigations in the case.

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