‘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.