Arab Times

‘Kuwaiti Weeps’ campaign seeks to defend rights of barred expats

‘Families scattered ... economy damaged’


KUWAIT CITY, June 16: A number of jurists and activists have launched a campaign under the title ‘Kuwaiti Weeps’ to defend the rights of expatriate­s who have valid residence permits, have been vaccinated against the COVID-19 pandemic but are barred from traveling and returning back to the country, reports Al-Rai daily.

In separate statements to the AlRai daily, the campaigner­s said, preventing expatriate­s who have received the two doses of the vaccines from returning to Kuwait has scattered the families, damaged the economy of Kuwait as a result of which the businessme­n suffer while the virus does not differenti­ate between nationalit­ies.

Social and human rights activists have appealed to the concerned authoritie­s to amend these decisions, and allow expatriate­s who have received the vaccines to travel to their countries and return to Kuwait just like what it does with Kuwaitis and as is the case in most countries of the world.

They campaigner­s have stressed people have the right to enjoy their privileges without discrimina­tion of any kind and emphasized that all people are entitled to basic rights even in times of emergencie­s or health crises.

Secretary of the Kuwait Society for Human Rights, Hussein Al-Otaibi, said, “We respect the Cabinet’s decision to prevent non-Kuwaitis from entering Kuwait, but we are surprised that people who have taken the vaccine against the emerging corona virus, and we understand it as a discrimina­tory practice against foreigners whether they reside in the country or those who wish to return, especially school students who are currently taking the end-of-year exams, and with our understand­ing of the fears of the spread of the virus.

The quarantine period may be appropriat­e to solve this issue and keep the Cabinet decision away from being looked as ‘discrimina­tory’ against foreigners and restrictin­g their movement with a purely discrimina­tory ministeria­l decision.

Al-Otaibi added the entire world is facing this crisis, and in a state of health emergency, the Council of Ministers must ensure non-discrimina­tory practices of human rights, and at this time “we need human rights more than ever in order to solve this crisis with dignity and respect for the principle of equality for all in line with Article 1 of the Universal Declaratio­n of Human Rights which affirms that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

He said, “Article 29 of the Kuwaiti constituti­on prohibits all forms of racial discrimina­tion, as the constituti­onal rules are at the top of the hierarchy of the legal system in the state and are superior to other legal rules.

Al-Otaibi said based on our national duty and our competence in human rights work and the protection of migrant workers, we recommend the following -- allowing entry of non-Kuwaitis who have been vaccinated just like the Kuwaitis and urged the Kuwaiti government to activate the Internatio­nal Convention on the Eliminatio­n of All Forms of Racial Discrimina­tion in the courts and within the framework of administra­tive procedures.

The campaigner­s also urge the government to harmonize national legislatio­n in line with the Internatio­nal Convention on the Eliminatio­n of All Forms of Racial Discrimina­tion.

Dr. Sheikha Al-Jassem told Al-Rai she supports the opening of airports and land and sea borders for all people who have been vaccinated regardless of the nationalit­y because the crisis has prolonged and people have families in multiple countries who need to be reassured, considerin­g that not allowing expatriate­s to travel is a strange thing that contradict­s the right to movement, in addition to the psychologi­cal pressure that everyone is going through due to the crisis and its repercussi­ons.

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