Wednesday , December 13 2017

Decision on Oct 25 in expat health fees increase: court

KUWAIT CITY, Oct 4: The Administrative Court will issue its decision on Oct 25, 2017 on the case filed by Attorney Hashim Al-Refai against the decision to increase health fees in government hospitals for expatriates.

During his submission, Al-Refai argued that the decision of the Health Ministry to increase health fees for expatriates is unconstitutional and illegal as it was issued to amend a law that is in force — law number 1/1999, hence, it cannot be overruled or amended except through a similar law, and it is not permissible to amend a law through a ministerial decision or anything below it.

His submission affirmed that articles 2, 7, 8, 15, 20, 21, 22 and 134 of the Constitution oblige the State to focus on health, means of prevention and treatment of diseases and epidemics, and to provide health services to everyone living on the land of Kuwait.

He pointed out the first section of Article 29 of the Constitution states that all people are equal in human dignity, public rights and duties before the law, without distinction by race, origin, language or religion. He said this affirms that the decision of the ministry contravenes the aforementioned constitutional articles.

He elaborated that the article considers all persons equal in human dignity, while rights and duties are not limited to citizens. Instead, the article is crystal clear in stating that anyone living on the land of Kuwait enjoys equal rights and duties, and there is no distinction between a citizen and an expatriate, let alone distinction between expatriates based on origin, language or religion. In response to the argument of the government’s defense panel that the plaintiff has no interest in the case since he is a citizen, Al-Refai asserted he is a citizen, breadwinner and owner of a legal office, so he has commercial interest and he is working with a significant number of expatriates.

The attorney stressed that government decision number 293/2017 interferes with his interest, since it is unconstitutional, illegal and in violation of international agreements, among them the International Declaration of Human Rights and considering that Kuwait is a humanitarian country and Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah is a humanitarian leader.

He said the decision in question tarnishes the reputation of Kuwait, negatively affects its humanitarian status, and contradicts the State’s approach and policies in providing humanitarian aid to nations suffering from oppression, injustice, difficult social circumstances and natural disasters …. He also highlighted the fact that the decision distinguishes between expatriates working in the Ministry of Health and those working for someone else, by exempting the former from the fee increase, yet in the end, citizens will bear the burden of this increase as it will affect their income negatively.

By Jaber Al-Hamoud Al-Seyassah Staff

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