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Rights priority ahead of UN filing Bills drafted

KUWAIT CITY, June 5: The parliamentary Human Rights Committee discussed Thursday a draft bill on the establishment of the National Commission for Human Rights in the presence of Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs and acting Minister of Justice, Sheikh Mohammed Al- Abdullah Al-Sabah. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Committee Chairman MP Faisal Al- Duwaisan revealed Sheikh Mohammad Al-Abdullah confirmed the government will present a similar bill to the National Assembly within 10 days. He said the bill will be discussed as part of Kuwait’s file at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva in January 2015, indicating that Kuwait must present its report from October 2014.

He added the government and the Parliament have formed a joint-committee to specify priorities, revealing the executive authority made a promise in April 2014 to submit a draft bill in this regard but until now nothing has been done. He stressed the need to ratify the bill to improve the image of Kuwait in the international community.

Meanwhile, MP Khalil Abdullah presented parliamentary questions to Deputy Premier, Minister of Commerce and Industry and acting Minister of Education and Higher Education Abdul Mohsen Al-Madej on the performance of the National Academic Accreditation and Quality Education Agency (NAAQEA).

He explained the agency is under the supervision of the Higher Education Ministry and it is in charge of the accreditation of universities in the Gulf, Arab and other countries. He disclosed that the agency evaluates universities, their curricula and skills of teaching staff.

The lawmaker wants to know if the agency has conducted field visits to the universities; number of visits; countries and names of universities visited; academic qualifications of the members of the committee or team tasked to visit the universities (if any); visits to universities specialized in medicine, dentistry and pharmacy; names and qualifications of the members of the visiting delegation; academic bases for the assessment of universities offering these courses; names of accredited universities specialized in medicine in the Arab Gulf countries; and evaluation of universities in stable and secure Arab nations like the Republic of Tunisia, Algeria and Kingdom of Morocco.

In the meantime, Second Constituency candidate Fatima Saqr Al-Rushaid called for the establishment of a higher council or an independent body to execute the State’s economic policy to meet challenges. She said the economic policy must be in line with the fiscal and monetary policies to boost the economy. Al-Rushaid made the statement in her recently-concluded campaign seminar for the parliamentary by-election.

She warned Kuwait will remain a nation of consumers if it does not use its human and financial resources properly. She cited monopoly as another problem that keeps Kuwait in the box of consuming-countries. “We will never join the ranks of exporting countries if the economic policy is constrained by the shackles of monopoly,” she added. She urged the National Assembly to enact laws for the economy to be more open, establish an authority tasked to oversee the implementation of projects, and guarantee that the educational output matches the actual manpower needs of the local labor market. She wonders why the government continues to raise the unemployment issue while two or more employees carry out the same functions in certain public institutions.

On the other hand, Fourth Constituency candidate Saud Saad Al- Mutairi said the government must increase the salaries of State employees to help them cope with the rising cost of living. He quoted a report from the Central Bank of Kuwait which estimated the annual inflation at six to eight percent. Under such circumstances, the standard of living of citizens with fixed income will decline if they don’t receive any salary increment to match the soaring prices of basic commodities and rent. He believes the government has several options to address the problem; such as regulating the prices of goods and services affected by global inflation through strict supervision and administrative intervention programs.

By: Abubakar A. Ibrahim Arab Times Staff

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