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‘Amend freedom of speech laws’ Rights body raps Speaker comments

KUWAIT CITY, Feb 7: Human Rights Watch Organization urged the Kuwaiti government to modify its national laws that are used by some officials to oppress the freedom of expression. It also bid the government to handle the Bedoun file comprehensively, reports Al-Seyassah daily. This was stated during a press conference convened by the organization on recently at Kuwait Society for Human Rights.

The organization criticized the Parliament Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem for emphasizing during an overseas conference that there are no prisoners of opinion in Kuwait even though the Kuwaiti prisons hold many victims of this case. The organization’s Deputy Executive Manager of the Middle East Nadeem Hori said the arresting of Twitter users and banning of public gatherings reflect the level of freedom of expression in the GCC countries. He stressed that the Kuwaiti authorities oppress freedom of expression and sentence most victims of opinion to up to five years in prison for challenging the Amiri entity and his powers.

Meanwhile, Balqes Walali, a researcher of Yemen and Kuwait, bid the Kuwaiti government to solve important cases related to human rights including the cases of the prisoners of opinion. She stressed that the National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanim declared during a conference outside Kuwait that the country does not have any prisoners of opinion even though the cases of violations to the freedom of expression are increasing.

She also indicated that the conditions of expatriate personnel in GCC countries are deteriorating because the contracts that are signed with the expatriate personnel particularly the domestic workers are not in line with the international law. She urged the Kuwaiti government to approve the 2011 Convention of Domestic Workers, insisting that the sponsorship system must be cancelled, as it is the key reason behind the violations that are being committed against the expatriate personnel in the country.

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