Judicial recourse for Bedoun colors

KUWAIT CITY, Dec 23: The Kuwait Lawyers Society (KLS) in association with the Kuwait Bedoun Committee held a symposium on Saturday in which legal experts discussed how Bedoun (stateless residents) can properly resort to the judiciary system and contest recently commissioned color-tagged identification cards.
The experts criticized the color-coded ID cards set by the Central Agency for Remedying the Status of Illegal Residents aimed at categorizing Bedoun into four sets according to their recorded statuses. They said that the criteria used for categorization could be inaccurate, due to inaccurate documentation, and therefore Bedoun have the right to litigation to contest the cards.
The legal experts advised concerned individuals to resort to credible lawyers, who are concerned with the plight of stateless residents, before proceeding with any legal action against their given cards.
KLS representative Khaled Al-Kandari questioned the reasons behind issuing color-coded cards when they assert that “they should not be considered as ID cards”. He noted that Kuwaitis and non-Kuwaitis alike have the right to resort to litigation according to the Constitution.
Kuwait Society for Human Rights activist Abdullah Fairouz expressed his concerns on the central agency’s lack of neutrality in solving the issues prevailing, saying that the agency “cannot present its information in court as they are packed with many mistakes that could ruin the lives of many families.” He demanded the cancellation of the color-coded ID card system and the immediate naturalization of the deserving Bedoun.
“The aim of this seminar is to create legal awareness on the matter and accepting or boycotting the cards is the personal choice of the concerned individual,” he said.
Attorney Dokhi Al-Khasban said the lawyers association is mandated to provide legal advice to both Kuwaitis and non-Kuwaitis, but said that he does not advice all Bedoun to resort to legal action as the outcome “might become worse than it already is”. He urged the formation of a legal team of volunteers to study all the cases of Bedoun in order to accurately advise each individual case to go to court or wait.
On his part, Attorney Mohammed Al-Enezi said that accepting color-tagged ID cards other than ‘green’ means the individual acknowledges that he/she does not deserving of citizenship. “Even the owners of green cards do not have confirmation that they will receive citizenship,” he noted.
 Bedoun ID cards are divided into four sets — red, green, yellow and blue. A red-tagged ID card deems the holders are of another Arab descent and must legalize their status within a year, while a green-tagged card is valid for five years and is given to those who meet all conditions of citizenship and may be naturalized.
Yellow-tagged cards, valid for three years, are for Bedouns with statuses that need to be further verified, while blue tagged cards, are issued to Bedouns who reportedly issued fake passports.
According to the central agency, 34,000 of the approximately 100,000 stateless residents are deserving of citizenship.

By: Nihal Sharaf Arab Times Staff

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