THE National Assembly passed the Law No. 47/2015, which was signed by His Highness the Amir (may Almighty Allah grant him quick recovery and healthy life), promulgating the National Diwan for Human Rights, or rather the National Office for Human Rights. However, the government delayed in appointing its board members until September 2018 via Decree No. 269/2018.
In my opinion, the establishment of this Diwan was not by the choice of our rational government; it was instead compelled to do so.
This is evident from the preamble of the decree to promulgate the Diwan, which was based on 11 international agreements to which Kuwait acceded. They entail the establishment of this entity to be in charge of monitoring Kuwait’s implementation of the commitment and duties stipulated in these binding international agreements, which Kuwait had accepted without reservations.
One of the most important items in those agreements is the UN General Assembly’s Resolution No. 48/134 of 1993, which is known as “The Paris Principles”. It is related to the status and functioning of national institutions for the protection and promotion of human rights.
Article 2 of the law on establishment of the National Diwan for Human Rights stipulates that the Diwan must be independent and “supervised” by the Cabinet. It did not say it is “affiliated” with the Cabinet, as the same Article stipulates that “The Diwan shall be headed by a person of status who enjoys independence in exercising duties, activities and authority”.
The law is clear in terms of its independence from the government. It was stated in the explanatory document that, “While the Diwan is considered as an official national body for human rights, it is not an administrative or governmental body in accordance with the prevailing legal concept. The best legal description of the Diwan is to consider it as a permanent national body concerned with human rights and freedoms, as well as supporting, complementing and coordinating systems and efforts to enhance the protection of human rights at the national and international levels.”
Even though the Diwan was established in 2015 and its board members were appointed in 2018, it has no headquarters yet! No employees, or even identity cards for its members.
The reason is that our rational government has entrusted the affairs of the Diwan to someone who is described in Kuwait as, “There is no one in this country except this child.”
Brother Anas Al-Saleh, who used to hold the position of the State Minister for Cabinet Affairs, has a large number of independent bodies and institutions under his portfolio that do not have anything common between them such that they can be described as “Milk, fish and tamarind”. And our rational government recently gave him the portfolio of the Ministry of Health and its dilapidated chaos.
The honorable minister is witnessing a ministry that is on the verge of drowning. If not the drowning of the entire government, it is the drowning of the people in the ocean of corruption, financial scandals and by-election crimes, while the minister stood by as a spectator. Nevertheless, we do not intend to discuss the matters and topics in this regard today.
Our topic for today is about minister Al-Saleh’s appointment of members of the Diwan, a move that is two years overdue. He relied on dealing with this independent body, both internationally and locally, based on the consultation provided to him by one of the advisors of the bodies and institutions affiliated to him.
In this Diwan, everything has to pass through this advisor. When the latter felt the minister wanted to put this independent Diwan under his arm, the advisor gave him the go-ahead.
The honorable minister does not want the officials in charge of the Diwan to complain about anything except after taking his generous approval.
This is the reality on the ground in terms of this vital office. This is the situation of our rational government that is entrusted with the lives and liberties of the people, including the very air they breathe.
By Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli
Former Minister of Oil