THERE are several anomalies in Kuwait, the contemplation of which will require time. A Kuwaiti woman is able to hold a ministerial position, represent people in the National Assembly, take up the position of a diplomat, undersecretary, university lecturer or any other jobs and responsibilities that she undertakes but not be able to pass on nationality to her children?
It is worth mentioning that Article 7 of the Constitution clearly stipulates “Justice, Liberty, and Equality are the pillars of the society; co-operation and mutual help are the firmest bonds between citizens”.
In terms of equality, Kuwaiti women bear the same legal responsibility as Kuwaiti men. Kuwaiti women bear responsibility for their actions exactly the same way as Kuwaiti men.
Unfortunately, this constitutional problem has not been taken into consideration, given that the law gives more to men than women. Kuwaiti men have the right to grant citizenship to their wives despite the intricate proposals that were recently set in this regard.
In reality, such rights have been awarded without taking into consideration Article 9 of the Constitution which states “The family is the cornerstone of the society. It is founded on religion, morality, and patriotism. Law shall preserve the integrity of the family, strengthen its ties, and protect under its support motherhood and childhood”.
In light of Article 9 of the Constitution, how can a non-Kuwaiti woman who is married to a Kuwaiti man take care of her children? How can she care for her children and feel secure amid decisions that were taken extemporarily from time to time and were proposed by some MPs with personal agendas in the matter, or due to an unusual incident, or due to discriminatory and racist tendencies.
Who will take care of her family and children, who are susceptible to the moods of some MPs and officials, if the mother finds herself without a husband either through divorce or death, before she fulfills the incapacitating legal process that would qualify her to be naturalized?
Let us assume that a Kuwaiti woman finds luck of marriage only in a man of a non-Kuwaiti nationality. She enjoys a blossoming life with him, and is blessed with children who grow up in Kuwait and do not know any other land apart from Kuwait. If they separate, either by death or divorce which renders him to leave the country, what will this mother do? Would she abandon her children or will her children go to the country of their father?
This issue has many unjust and unfair connotations on the Kuwaiti woman who found her luck of marriage in a non-Kuwaiti. In fact, the entire issue is unfair to Kuwait as whole, given that it spent thousands of dinars on her children, but in the end, these children find themselves without an identity or the nation that they love. They find themselves in a country that they do not know much about it despite having its citizenship.
We thus ask – There are thousands who were born on this land and grew up following Kuwait’s culture and traditions. They studied in its schools and received care from this country. However, instead of investing in them for being the children of this country by birth or life, they end up moving out of Kuwait and another country benefit from them. Why are we not investing in these locally-bred brains?
This situation represents a huge loss for Kuwait. The unfair approach and unconstitutional dilemma has caused several problems, especially as it is in violation of many international agreements and laws that many countries abide by in terms of granting the citizenship of a female citizen to her children in the same way that a male citizen can grant his citizenship to his children.
Furthermore, majority of the countries grant citizenship to any child born on its soil without any problem or discrimination, but unfortunately in Kuwait, it is based on safeguarding transitory privileges that were granted to citizens at some point in history. There are scores of humanitarian solutions for such cases that would ensure equality and justice for women just like that of men, and avoid rendering citizenship to be linked only to the men of the country and not the women.
Kuwait is currently waiting for His Highness the Amir’s return from an overseas medical trip. Without any doubt, it is a major national event that inspires joy in the souls of both citizens and expatriates on this blessed land.
We wish to see this law, which treats Kuwaiti women and their children unfairly, become top priority so that the course of the law gets amended in order for it to be in line with the constitutional texts. His Highness the Amir could gift this to the Kuwaiti women and their children who were born and nurtured on this land.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times