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‘Take measures to repeal or amend discriminatory laws’

Kuwait Society for Human Rights issues recommendations report to CESCR panel

KUWAIT CITY, Feb 12: The Kuwait Society for Human Rights has issued many recommendations in its shadow report to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) urging the activation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), reports Al-Qabas daily.

The Kuwaiti Society for Human Rights, in its recommendations, a copy of which has been obtained by the daily stressed that the Government needs to harmonize national legislation in conformity with the ICESCR and to train law enforcement officers, lawyers and staff to ensure the enforcement of the articles of the covenant in the national system. On the rights of women, the society recommended that the government should take the necessary measures to repeal or amend discriminatory laws against women, pointing to existing laws that undermine the right of women to stand on equal terms with men which prevent them from exercising their rights as practiced by men without justification except as a woman. Discriminatory laws against women such as in the case of housing and nationality welfare act and the involvement of women in the judiciary are repealed.

“The recommendations also called for the adoption of a quota system or special measures to ensure women’s access to political and leadership positions in a fair and equal manner with men, and to do more to confront intellectual patterns that diminish their subordination to men.

The society called on the Government to shoulder its responsibility to abolish the sponsor’s system and to work towards an alternative system to safeguard the rights of all and to implement effective employment procedures to protect migrant workers from exploitation. It urged the intensification of visits to labor inspectors to monitor the working conditions of domestic companies in an orderly manner and to ensure that penalties for violations of workers’ rights are effectively implemented, as well as to expand the right to form and join trade unions by non-citizens.

On the issue of the abuse of domestic workers, the society called for the abolition or amendment of the system of direct sponsorship, which gives employers the authority over domestic workers and their freedom to move from one employer to another and enable them to free employment relations and seek new work after the termination of the first relationship. The society called for a review of the domestic labor law, in that it includes deterrent penalties that prevent employers from confiscating the passports of domestic workers and punishing the violator, where significant abuses. According to a recent study made by the Kuwaiti Human Rights Society, which targeted 380 domestic workers (182 males and 198 females and 173 employers), a majority of employers, accounting or 191.90%, kept travel documents of their domestic workers in violation of the provisions of the law.

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