KUWAIT CITY, March 21: On the occasion of the international day for the elimination of racial discrimination which annually falls on March 21, the Kuwait Society for Human Rights (KSHR) renews its demand to abolish the recent decisions and directives issued by officials at the Ministry of Health with regard to the provision of health services for migrant workers.
In a press release, The Society said that the discrimination in the provision of some health services and medicines, as well as the decision to segregate Kuwaiti citizens at the outpatient clinics of hospitals from migrant labor, with the latter only able to visit during the evening while the former in the morning, in addition to the study of assigning Jaber Hospital for Kuwaiti citizens only and other decisions that reinforce racial discrimination, present a blatant violation of human rights and to the human values of which the Kuwaiti society is famous for, not to mention the damages it inflicts to the reputation of our country on both the legal and human rights aspects in international arenas.
The Society asserted that these decisions violates Article 15 of the Kuwaiti Constitution, which stipulates that the State takes responsibility for public health and means of prevention and treatment of diseases and epidemics.
It also violates the international conventions and treaties, as the human right to health for all who reside on the land of Kuwait is recognized in many international instruments. For example, Paragraph 1 of Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for his health and his family’s, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services.”
Also, from Nov 17 to 27, 1996, a UN special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia visited Kuwait, and presented a report in which he thanked the government. He stated in his report of 1996 that the government is resisting tendencies of xenophobia and they refused to build separate hospitals for foreigners. Thus such decisions would damage the credibility of Kuwait in front of international forums in respect for human rights and the absence of racial discrimination on its territory.
Furthermore, KSHR pointed out that such decisions and directives promote the culture of hatred against migrant labor in Kuwait, which has been evidently spreading due to the evasion of some officials of their responsibilities, and their inability to provide services while putting the blame of migrant labors or using the influx of their numbers as an excuse.
KSHR stated that this also harms the reputation of Kuwait towards the international community, and considering the fact that the country has been granted the title of center for humanitarian work, it would be a shame and illogical that the state provides aid to all the countries in the world and deprive it from those residing on its lands.
The Society stressed that the decisions, which were clearly made without thoughtful consideration and sufficient studies, has made officials at KSHR confident that some officials at the Ministry of Health, do not realize the value of the achievement obtained by Kuwait as a center for humanitarian work under the wise leadership of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah the humanitarian leader.
Therefore, the Society demands officials at the Ministry of Health to respect the human right to health, and to abolish the currently implemented decisions and to provide health for all without discrimination. KSHR also appealed to the members of Parliament as well as the Cabinet to hold up their responsibility, and reject any form of study and decisions that violate human rights and damage the reputation of the state of Kuwait in international arenas.
By Ahmed Al-Naqeeb Arab Times Staff