Kuwait Times, Thursday, Jun 10, 2021 | Shawwal 29, 1442
MPs demand rights after bedoon man sets himself ablaze
Kuwait: Five lawmakers yesterday submitted a
draft law stipulating basic rights for thousands of stateless people or bedoons,
several hours after a Bedoon man in his 60s tried to immolate himself. The man
poured petrol on his body and set himself ablaze for unknown reasons. He was
taken to hospital for treatment of deep burns and is in critical condition.
The suicide attempt comes a few days after a young bedoon boy died while selling
flowers under the scorching heat of the sun. The number of suicide cases among
bedoons, many of whom are denied essential humanitarian rights to force them to
reveal their original identity, has been on the rise in recent months in protest
against their treatment by authorities.
Many bedoons, who number more than 120,000, are denied the right to education,
health, jobs and even marriage certificates in order to force them to reveal
their original identities. Bedoons claim they have the right to Kuwaiti
citizenship because they or their forefathers had come to Kuwait decades ago,
but the government says only 34,000 of them qualify for consideration for
citizenship, while the rest dumped their passports to claim Kuwaiti citizenship.
Opposition MP Shuaib Al-Muwaizri yesterday blamed the authorities for causing
the bedoon crisis, saying that the government should produce evidence that some
of the bedoons have citizenship of other countries. He said authorities should
show that such bedoons are either Syrian, Iraqi, Iranian, Saudi or of other
nationalities and must produce clear evidence, or should grant them Kuwaiti
citizenship. This will end the crisis, he said.
Meanwhile, MP Ahmad Al-Hamad yesterday submitted amendments to the law calling
to grant children of Kuwaiti women from foreign husbands residence under article
24 (self-sponsorship). He said these children should be treated like Kuwaitis
with free education and healthcare and employment. If the Kuwaiti mother dies,
the residency should remain valid, he said.