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Bill aims to shift human rights to Parliament

Ministers can’t act as mediator and challenger, say MPs

KUWAIT CITY, July 6: MPs Adel Al-Damkhi, Adnan AbdulSamad, Jaman Al-Harbash, Abdulkareem Al-Kandari and Mohammed Hayef have presented a proposal to transfer the National Human Rights Commission from the Council of Ministers to the Parliament.

The lawmakers proposed amending the first paragraph in Article Two of Law No. 67/2015 in order to ensure independence of the commission. They explained the government cannot act as mediator and challenger at the same time, so the commission must be under the Parliament.

According to the bill, an independent commission called the ‘National Commission for Human Rights’ shall be under the Parliament, not the Council of Ministers. The amended paragraph will include the phrase, “The commission shall be independent in its functions, activities and jurisdiction.”

They also proposed amendment of Article Three to read as follows: “The work, functions and affairs of the commission shall be managed by a board of directors with eleven members — citizens who are known for their competence and commitment to address human rights issues.

Three of the board members will be chosen from public welfare organizations which are active in the human rights field. They shall be nominated by their governing bodies and a member of the Faculty of Law in Kuwait University.

Representatives of the ministries of Justice, Interior, Social Affairs, Labor and Foreign Affairs, as well as the Fatwa and Legislation Department, shall participate in deliberations in an advisory capacity so they are not entitled to vote. The president and vice-president shall be full-time members, taking into account the text of Article Four.” The bill states that the president and his deputy must go through comprehensive evaluation and a report in this regard will be submitted to the Parliament speaker prior to their appointment.

It also grants immunity to board members in order to ensure that they carry out their work efficiently as stated in international human rights conventions. In another development, the Negative Phenomena Committee has submitted its report on causes of the spread of drugs and solutions to the Parliament. This came after the committee discussed the issue with officials of several government bodies, including the ministries of Interior, Health, Social Affairs and Information; in addition to the General Customs Department and Bashair Al-Khair Association.

In its report, the committee stressed the need to take precautionary measures to prevent the spread of drugs such as organizing programs, symposiums, conferences and public awareness campaigns. It also suggested the establishment of additional rehabilitation centers with sufficient number of doctors, nurses and specialists, allow participation of the private sector, and control agencies must intensify the fight against drugs by closely monitoring the activities of expatriates.

It recommended incentives for anyone accused or convicted due to drug consumption if proven he stopped engaging in such an act; such as stopping criminal proceedings for those who undergo treatment or rehabilitation voluntarily. This is in addition to granting pardon or commutation of sentence for those proven to have changed their behavior and exhibit good conduct, making them memorize full or some parts of the Holy Quran, and restoring the rehabilitative program for memorizing the Quran to benefit from pardon as it was done in the past.

Meanwhile MP Abdul Wahab Al Babtain stressed the need to grill HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al- Mubarak Al-Sabah at the beginning of the next legislative round if he fails to clarify questionable expenditures estimated at KD 308 billion. In addition, MP Al-Humaidi Al- Subaie revealed that five interpellation requests will be submitted in the next legislative round as the lawmakers are keen on pursuing corrupt ministers. He asked the government to review the questionable expenditures and take into consideration the fact that citizens want pro-reform ministers.


By Abubakar A. Ibrahim Arab Times Staff

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